Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with David R. Hayworth, February 6, 1997. Interview I-0099. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Need for speedy shipping in the office furniture business

Hayworth emphasizes the need for speedy shipping. Furniture manufacturing plants were once located next to train tracks for this reason, until they began using trucks. He remembers how hard it could be to convince employees of this need for speed.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with David R. Hayworth, February 6, 1997. Interview I-0099. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

What were the plants of Myrtle Desk here in High Point? Where were they located?
Well, they were located very near Alma Desk Company's main number one plant. Oh, you know, Southern Railroad—most plants in the old days were built along the railroad, because that's the way you shipped your furniture. Nowadays, almost—well, I don't think anything is shipped by rail—office furniture, and probably not household, either. I can't directly speak to that, but many years ago we converted to trucks because it was so much quicker, faster. As I say, that's something that's so critical in the office furniture industry; you've got to have the furniture there when the customer needs it. If you don't, all hell breaks out. It's just that simple. That's a lesson to some people that they have a hard time learning, but it's so elementary. And if you just stop and think a minute, you can see how critical it is. You may not get your sofa when you want it, but that's not life or death. But boy, if your furniture isn't there and you've got fifty employees ready to get moved into their desks, church is out.
That could be a costly mistake.
That's right. A costly mistake. So we tried to always avoid that, needless to say. And sometimes your own employees didn't realize how critical that was. Mother had—many years ago I remember when she first had to go down to Hayworth Roll and Panel Company to save that company from bankruptcy—which would have happened; it was just a matter of time. She realized when she got into things the mismanagement and the fact that there was no business anyway in the Depression years. But she had such a hard time convincing the people there how important it was to get the plywood when the customer needed it, even though it was household. You see, they had a cutting line that was a certain—say a bedroom suit of furniture, for example. Well, they had to have the plywood, and they have to have it on this day; not tomorrow or next week or Friday, right now, today. And she just used to get so exasperated that the people in the plant couldn't seem to quite conceive of how important that is or was. Fortunately, she had sense enough to know it was. Thank God.