Davis Celebrates 75 Years in Design
The history of Davis Furniture begins in 1944. John T. Davis, Sr. left his job as a foreman at a furniture company in High Point, NC and decided to start his own family business, named Davis Upholstery Company.
He was joined by his wife, Hattie Lee Davis, and his eldest daughter, Dorothy Davis Haines. His son, John T. Davis, Jr. was serving in World War II with the U.S. Coast Guard at the time.
Soon after John Davis, Jr. came back from the war in late 1945, he joined the family business as a manager. During the early years, the focus was on upholstery repair work.
With success came the need for more space, so a parcel of land was purchased at 602 Linden St (the company’s current location) and a new building was constructed in 1953.
By the mid-1950s, the days of reupholstery work were a thing of the past, so the business refocused its efforts on the manufacturing of new occasional chairs and living room furniture.
Davis was finding a new market with colleges and universities up and down the East Coast. Florida State University placed an order for 800 chairs after "testing" the furniture by tossing a chair out of a second story window. The chair survived the fall and Davis had found its niche.
In 1961, Davis introduced their first ever contract seating program. The company employed around 30 people at the time. In 1964, John T. Davis, Sr. retired and John T. Davis, Jr., became president. The company was renamed Davis Furniture Industries, Incorporated.
By the end of the decade, Davis was celebrating 25 years in business. The same year, 1969, was also the year Davis released its first casegoods collection. The Davis philosophy remained strong: to be a manufacturer of high quality furniture.
In the early 1970s, Davis made a considerable shift towards the Office/Executive market. At the start of the New Year in 1976, Danny Davis (the current president) joined his father in the family business.
A new direction in product design and development took place in the late 70’s through licensing European designs. Davis approached Driepunkt of Germany and forged a licensing agreement by which the company was to manufacture German products in North America. This new approach was instituted as a means to find better contemporary designs which would combine both quality and function.
Throughout the 1980’s, Davis released several new designs from European designers. The 1980’s were a time of massive expansion for the company with great success from European designs. Several manufacturing plant expansions took place in High Point and Davis opened a showroom in Chicago, IL on the 11th floor of the Merchandise Mart.
Several iconic Davis pieces were introduced in the late 80’s and early 90’s including the Motion chair designed by Burkhard Vogtherr. After several very successful introductions, Davis secured licensing agreements with companies in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Italy.
In 1992, Davis opened a showroom in New York City in the New York Design Center.
1994 was a landmark year for Davis. In celebration of Davis’ 50th anniversary, John T. Davis, Jr. was awarded a plaque from the mayor of Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley, declaring June 12th as “John T. Davis, Jr. Day” in Chicago. The plaque was presented to Mr. Davis by Chris Kennedy, son of Former U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. The company employed about 160 employees and around 100 Sales Representatives.
In 1996, John T. Davis Jr. retired and Danny Davis became the president of Davis Furniture Industries.
In 2001, Ashley Davis Williams joined Davis Furniture Industries and then in 2003, Brian Davis joined his father and sister in the family business.
The 2000’s brought more success for Davis, with awardwinning releases like the Aero bench which took Best of Competition at NeoCon in 2003. By the end of the decade, when the US economy was at a record low point, Davis continued to prioritize introducing new, innovative designs to the industry each year.
In 2019, Davis is known as an industry leader in design and overall quality. The corporate slogan which signifies Davis' marketing and product strategy is very clear, "design is a choice."
Danny Davis best explains this philosophy,
"We have a saying here at Davis, 'It's all about the product, and the product is about design.' At Davis, with every product we bring to the drawing table...the focus is always about design...the aesthetics of the design...the function of the design... and the value of the design. This is what our customers look to Davis to offer them."
We strive to bring good design, innovation, and quality manufacturing to the industry and continue to push ourselves to be the best that Davis can be.