Family, solidity drive Kincaid

Nov. 10, 2013 @ 07:50 AM

Kincaid Furniture is not a name that’s easily missed in Caldwell County. The company has been a staple here since it was founded by members of the Kincaid family in 1946 and has seen four generations in its employ.

Steve Kincaid has worked at the company since his high school days working in the factories, starting full-time in 1970 and working his way up to president of the company. He is the third generation to run Kincaid, known as La-Z-Boy Case Goods since that company acquired Kincaid Furniture in 1988.

His father, Wade, grandfather George, uncle Ben and aunt Ruth Robins started the company in Sawmills. It moved to Hudson after a fire claimed the original plant -- and nearly claimed Wade Kincaid after he rushed in to save people and the building collapsed on him, giving him third-degree burns.

The company grew from Wade Kincaid making small chests and cedar wardrobes part-time to help support his 10 children while he worked as a supervisor for Broyhill Furniture.

In the early '50s, Wade Kincaid was asked to make a bedroom suit by a friend and retailer for Grand Piano and Furniture Co. and said he would – if the order were big enough. The order came back for 2,000, so Kincaid headed to Wilkesboro to get lumber and used equipment, and Kincaid Furniture hit its stride.

In the more than 60 years since, Kincaid has continued to grow its product line, and today offers a wide range, shipping all across the country and internationally.

At the High Point Market in October, Kincaid released three solid-wood lines, with one produced entirely at the Hudson plant.

Now, as the La-Z-Boy Case Goods segment, Kincaid employs about 500 people, with a corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility both in Hudson. Kincaid said the company is not currently expanding but already has capacity if the need arises and could add personnel without brick-and-mortar expansions.

The whole wood industry changed around 2000 or 2001, Kincaid said, when cheaper imports started to make their way into the market, and “like most wood companies, we were severely impacted,” he said.

But through prioritizing, offering customers choices and branching out to new markets, Kincaid weathered the storm.

“(The) hospitality (industry) is growing faster than anything for us,” Kincaid said, and the company is a preferred vendor for Choice Hotels, which owns Best Western, La Quinta and Ramada, among others.

Today, about 70 percent of Kincaid's products are made in America. The company exports to Europe and the Middle East and is beginning to make inroads into the emerging South American market, Kincaid said.

But with all the expansion and diversification, the company is still based in its roots, solid wood furniture, as the largest maker and marketer of solid wood furniture in the industry.