Mike Dugan publishes book on ‘Furniture Wars'
Former Henredon CEO writes history, memoir
Heath Combs -- Furniture Today, April 6, 2009
HIGH POINT — Former Henredon CEO Mike Dugan has written a 50-year history and memoir of the furniture industry called, "The Furniture Wars: How America Lost a $50 Billion Industry."
The newly published book is available on www.amazon.com and www.abebooks.com and will be released to stores. Dugan said that in part, the book explores the theme of furniture industry insiders and those who joined the industry from other business categories, and the efforts of each group to mold the business.
"The story includes a close look at the bitter Civil Wars between the outsiders, who fearlessly entered the business, and the insiders, who bravely resisted the invasions," Dugan said in a letter discussing the book. "These battles gave way to the even more devastating World Trade Wars between Asia and the United States."
Dugan - originally an outsider himself, who joined the industry from the stereo cabinet-maker Clairtone - said the book starts with the 1965 acquisition of Pennsylvania House by General Interiors, the first conglomerate of furniture industry-specific companies.
He also writes about his work at Sperry and Hutchinson, which was best known for its green trading stamps but also owned Lea, American Drew and Daystrom. He also tells about his co-founding of bedroom and dining producer Jamestown Sterling and his long tenure as president and CEO of high-end manufacturer Henredon starting in 1987.
Dugan now chairs the Charles M. Snipes School of Business at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C. He joined the college as the Alex Lee Professor of Business in 2004 after his retirement from Henredon.
He said he has been working on the 450-page book for seven years.
He said one of its themes is that outsiders misread the individualistic nature of the furniture industry, comparing it to other industries and trying to adapt their expertise to its processes. But, he said, insiders tended to resist change and didn't accept that outside advice may be good for the industry.
"Had insiders paid attention to outsiders we might have been stronger when the Asian invasion came along," said Dugan.
- Aug 12, 2011