The Hall of Fame has found a home in the heart of High Point’s furniture market district.
The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation announced Wednesday it has purchased a former showroom building at 311 S. Hamilton St. in downtown High Point. The 17,500-square-foot structure was occupied by Flair Enterprises. Soon, it will house exhibits that commemorate furniture industry history and honor many of its leading figures.
Among the Hall of Fame’s 2018 inductees was Keith Koenig, president of Home Furnishings Association member City Furniture.
The building, constructed in 1997, came available and “we couldn’t pass it up,” Lauren Estep, executive vice president of the foundation, said in a phone interview Wednesday. There is no date yet for its opening. There is plenty of excitement, however.
“We have been discussing the move towards a permanent home for some time, but this is a tangible step which brings us closer to reality,” David Gebhart, president of the foundation’s board of directors and founder and CEO of Global Views, said in a news release. “It is an incredibly poignant moment for the Hall of Fame and one to be celebrated by the entire industry. We are thrilled to take this landmark move to secure a showplace that is worthy of this industry and our Hall of Fame.”
“Our new home will enable us to honor our inductees and celebrate their achievements as well as to feature world-class displays, to expand our library, and to tell our story to the industry and to consumers,” said Larry Rogers, building committee chairman and retired president and CEO of Sealy Inc. “We have been diligent in our search for a worthy home within walking distance of the center of the Showroom District in order to make it easily accessible during Market. At the same time, we will establish a place for visitors to experience the inspiring world of home furnishings in the Home Furnishings Capital of the World.”
The building is just a block from the International Home Furnishings Center, allowing the Hall of Fame to attract visitors during markets and giving it an inviting location for market events, Estep said. In addition, other industry organizations have expressed interest in renting office space there. Estep declined to name them as some have current leases, she said. The foundation also may rent out space for outside events, both for the home furnishings industry and for the High Point community.
The two-story building comes with 14-foot ceilings, a two-story atrium, a grand double staircase and four gas fireplaces, as well as slate and stone features. “We thought we’d have to add character, but this building already has a lot of character,” Estep said. “It’s very special.”
Exhibits likely will occupy the first floor and offices the second. As a former showroom, it doesn’t have many walls dividing its space, which will make it easier to adapt for exhibits, Estep said.
She did not disclose the purchase price, but the property was listed for sale earlier in March for $2.5 million. The foundation has established a building fund and will continue to raise money to pay for purchasing and repurposing its new facility.
Currently, the foundation has an office on Neal Place in High Point. Its Wall of Fame is in Furniture Plaza at 210 S. Main Street in High Point and its Walk of Fame is just outside Furniture Plaza.