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From Home Furnishing Business

Bernhardt Celebrates 125 Years in 2014

Bernhardt Furniture will mark its 125th anniversary in 2014 with a year of activities to honor its culture, heritage and a legacy of giving.

“We are all very proud of our long heritage,” says Alex Bernhardt Jr., CEO and president of Bernhardt, Lenoir, N.C. “At this milestone, we reaffirm the company’s founding values of making quality furniture and building a strong community for our employees.” 

Central to the company’s 125th anniversary celebration is a new Web site,, paying tribute to the company’s cultural legacy and to Bernhardt associates who are making outstanding contributions to improve the lives of people in their local communities. 

“Part of our core value is a heritage of quiet local giving,” Bernhardt said, “and in this anniversary year, we want to focus on our employees’ individual personal stories of commitment to our community. We’ve designed the site as a means of thanking and honoring these individuals." 

The Web site will feature 12 individuals--nominated by their peers and chosen by a steering committee--in monthly segments, with the goal to engage and inspire people in the causes of community responsibility and cultural preservation. The company will make a donation to a charitable cause championed by the featured employees. 

Bernhardt commenced its anniversary year with celebrations at each of the company’s nine North Carolina facilities Friday, March 28, at 2 p.m.--the day and time of the company’s initial stockholders’ meeting in Lenoir, at which John Mathias Bernhardt was elected the company’s first president. 

A social media campaign and events to thank employees and customers also will highlight the company’s 125th anniversary. Friends of the company will have the opportunity to attend gala anniversary celebrations throughout the year. 

In 1889, John Mathias Bernhardt founded the first industrial venture in rural Lenoir, N.C., which would later become the Bernhardt Furniture Company. Leveraging the region’s natural resources and local woodworking skills to strengthen the local economy, he opened his factory with vast ambitions and 25 employees. 

In the twelve decades since, the company has mastered and refined its craft to become a leading diversified global furniture manufacturer. From its roots making oak bedroom furniture, Bernhardt capitalized on the evolution of the home by adding other styles and categories of residential furniture throughout the twentieth century. Expanding to new markets, it introduced a contemporary contract furniture brand, Bernhardt Design, in 1980. Bernhardt Hospitality was created in 2009 to serve the growing travel and leisure industry. 

Bernhardt is one of the largest family-owned furniture companies in the country. It operates eight manufacturing facilities, corporate headquarters, and a 75,000-square-foot permanent trade showroom in North Carolina. The company employs some 1,250 people worldwide, including those in five overseas offices. 

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