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If you’re in the market for high-quality hand-crafted furniture at fair prices, then High Point in North Carolina is the ultimate shopping destination. With over 100 furniture stores and outlets in High Point and the surrounding areas, this small southern town has earned its title as America’s Home Furnishings Capital. But how exactly did it get to this point?

A Brief History of High Point

Prior to earning its reputation as the country’s go-to furniture destination, North Carolina began planting its roots in the furniture industry in the 1890’s with the opening of six furniture plants in High Point. Large amounts of timber in the surrounding forests and easier transportation made possible by the new Southern Railway meant that the industry was able to take hold. By the early 1900’s, a few ambitious manufacturers began dreaming of a furniture exposition that would be grand enough to compete with the more popular ones in New York, Chicago, and Grand Rapids — the latter of which held the title as the ‘Furniture City of the United States’ at the time.

But plans for the exposition ground to a halt with the start of the First World War, which made High Point’s manufacturers switch from producing furniture to filling orders for the war effort. Thankfully, the industry saw a silver lining at the end of the war, with factories operating at full force once again and consumers ready to spend. Americans’ willingness to spend spurred talks of an exposition once again, and in 1919, the High Point Enterprise announced its plans for the center along with a bold claim that it would be the continent’s foremost furniture market.

An undated picture of the Furniture Manufacturers Exposition, which is known today at the High Point Market.

When World War Two broke out in the 1940’s, the industry was at an all-time sales low. But as with the First World War, the industry rose from the ashes in the aftermath, with more Americans buying homes and spending on furniture and accessories to put inside them. With its hard-earned reputation for quality furniture, pieces made in High Point and North Carolina were going national, with over 50,000 buyers and more than $5 billion earned. According to Architectural Digest, it’s estimated that a full 60 percent of all furniture made in America originated from or near High Point by 1955.

Since then, High Point expanded its original exposition and added numerous market spaces. And while the town has seen its share of ups and downs — notably the crash of 2008 — High Point has been able to maintain its hard-earned title as the country’s largest furniture market, as well as its reputation for high-quality, American-made furniture.

High Point Today

High Point is a decor and design lover’s heaven, with countless brands and styles to choose from, as well as some of the most unique attractions (including the world’s largest chest of drawers). See where to shop and what you can expect to find when visiting the country’s furniture capital.

Furnitureland South

With more than 1.3 million sq.ft. of showroom space and over 1,000 brands represented, Furnitureland South is billed as the world’s largest furniture store. Visit to find a myriad of styles for both indoor and outdoor furnishings, or to see the world’s largest chest of drawers.

Hickory Furniture Mart

With an extensive mix of showrooms and private galleries that feature more than a thousand of the world’s most reputable manufacturers, designers and craftsmen, it’s no surprise that more than 50,000 flock to Hickory Furniture Mart annually.

High Point Market

With over 10 million sq.ft. and more than 2,000 exhibitors spread across 180 buildings, the High Point Market may only be open to those in the industry, but that doesn’t stop North Carolinians from talking about the unique samples and cool finds advertised.

Replacements LTD

If you’ve ever broken a piece of old silver or china and fretted that your set would forever be incomplete, don’t give up hope until after you’ve visited Replacements Ltd. in nearby Greensboro, which features more than 11 million pieces and nearly 450,000 patterns across its 500,000 sq.ft. showroom.

Want more inspiration? Visit the High Point town website to see how you can bring your home to life, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try exploring the 20 miles of furniture stores that stretch between the neighboring towns of Lenoir and Hickory along US 321?

 

Images courtesy of Architectural Digest (undated historical photo); Jack + Bax (Furnitureland South); High Country Host (Hickory Mart); Essential Home (High Point Market); Visit Greensboro (Replacements Ltd.); High Point history via Architectural Digest.

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