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

Careful management of different elements of one company

Hayworth describes his forebears' efforts to ensure that their companies did not compete with one another. Hayworth Roll and Panel had acquired some specialized furniture-making companies, and their managers had to be careful to avoid competition. He remembers also his father's desire to maintain personal control over his business.

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

DOROTHY GAY DARR:
Do you remember those years?
DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
Oh, no, no. See, he died before I was born.
DOROTHY GAY DARR:
Right.
DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
No, no. This would go back in the late 'teens and early '20s. I think he bought Alma in 1914 and Myrtle in about 1920, something like that. He decided that he would make more of the commercial grade furniture at Alma and Myrtle would make more of the executive furniture, and so that was the way that was carried on for a number of years until, as I mentioned in another context, a little while ago. The point arrived in marketing where you had to give the customer a complete line, not just commercial, if you wanted to get the job. The customer wanted a single source; executive, middle management, commercial. So Alma had to start expanding to make a complete line for their customers; a single source. Myrtle had to do the same thing; they had to go down. So the two firms—I think I touched on this but digressed—became very competitive. My brother Charles' idea was that you can go down—this is just an analogy—but you can go down one side of the street with Alma and the other side of the street with Myrtle, and therefore you don't miss anything. And that concept worked for a long time and was very successful. But perhaps at some point if the two companies had merged they would have been as a single unit more able to compete in the market place, as other johnny-come-lately's—like Kimball, for example—were taking a bigger share of the market. But that was never done and so that's the end of the story. But the two companies were very successful for a long, long time. And very competitive, which I think is interesting.
DOROTHY GAY DARR:
Because you had to have two managements even though [unclear] .
DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
Absolutely. And that's what I think I was in some context going to say to you, it was always important—we said something about who made the decision to make library furniture—but because of the competitiveness it was very important to keep the companies at sort of arms-length. There were other people until maybe—let's see, there were other people who had ownership in Myrtle Desk Company until it came to the point where it was the decision to buy out those other shareholders; but for awhile there were other shareholders. Charles felt it was extremely important that some shareholder couldn't say, 'Well, you own the company, most of the company, and you can read their mail. Therefore, you have an advantage.' So Charles felt very strongly about that for a long time.
DOROTHY GAY DARR:
That was probably a delicate road he had to hoe or to walk.
DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
And he never, ever, to my knowledge—he was a very honorable businessman and very successful businessman, and I don't think he ever, ever took advantage of that situation.