HIGH POINT — On Oct. 23, Universal Furniture brought all of its new employees from the Southern Furniture plant in Conover to High Point during the last day of the High Point Furniture Market trade show.

Although most of the employees have worked in the furniture industry for years, none of them had ever visited the semi-annual trade show in High Point, largely considered to be the biggest furniture trade show in the world.

The day began when two motor coaches arrived at the Conover plant (which was closed for the day so all employees could participate) to transport employees to High Point.

Upon arrival at the Universal Furniture showroom in High Point, employees were greeted by President and CEO Jeff Scheffer, who gave them an overview of the company — its purpose, mission and strategy — and why the recent acquisition of Southern Furniture is a good fit.

Afterward, employees were taken on a 90-minute guided tour of the 115,000-square-foot showroom, which displays the majority of the company’s 2,000-plus products over three floors. Afterward, they enjoyed lunch in Universal’s full-service cafe before boarding the motor coaches for the ride back home.

“Over the course of my career, this was the first time I’ve have ever had the opportunity to visit a High Point showroom,” said Vakisha Haynes, leather cutter at the Southern facility. “It was exciting to see the products, meet the team from Universal and hear from company leaders on how they need our help. I think we all left feeling like we are truly a part of something good happening, and we are excited to work here.”

“It was an ideal introduction to Universal for all our new employees,” said Dale Smith, general manager of the Southern Furniture facility. “It’s important for them to understand how the products they build fit into the ‘whole home’ strategy of the company.”

“One of the biggest changes for employees will be their upgraded and less- expensive benefits package offering medical, dental, vision and matching 401(k) retirement program,” said Smith. “We hope the expanded benefits package will help attract the additional experienced sewers and upholsterers we need to hire in the coming months to meet the demand Universal will generate.”

“It was an exciting day for everyone here at Universal,” said Scheffer. “The engagement and excitement folks had for what we can accomplish together gave me goose bumps. There is a lot to do, but this was a great start on the next chapter for the former Southern and Universal.”

Universal Furniture creates furnishings for the whole home with a focus on function and lifestyle. The company’s casegood, upholstery, accent and accessory designs are developed under the brand names Universal Furniture (lifestyle collections), To the Trade (interior design) and Spaces (millennial and youth), and sold through retailers and interior designers throughout North America and around the world. Founded in 1968, Universal Furniture is a brand of Samson Holdings, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated furniture manufacturers.

For more information, visit www.universalfurniture.com.

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