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Higdon Furniture celebrates 60th anniversary

Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, August 13, 2013

QUINCY, Fla. - This year marks a special milestone for bedroom manufacturer Higdon Furniture - its 60th anniversary in business.
     President Joe Higdon Jr. said the company started as an outgrowth of his father J. Warren Higdon Sr.'s grocery business.
     Warren Higdon bought a millwork shop in 1953 that had a primary focus of interior molding for houses.
     During the next few years the millwork would shift to mostly unfinished furniture before focusing on promotional bedroom furniture. Those pieces became a focus in the early 1960s as Warren Higdon left the wholesale grocery.
     The company had about seven employees in 1961 and employs in excess of 100 today.
     Quincy, Fla., at the time didn't have a trained furniture workforce. But Higdon purchased production printing equipment in an era prior to the one of paper laminates and foils, and began making furniture.
     Joe Higdon began working for his father in 1961.
     "We didn't know anything about the furniture business at that time. I was just getting out of the service," Higdon said.
     The company moved to current location in 1955 and has expanded there since. While it began with about 15,000 square feet, its total square footage now totals 350,000 square feet.
     The first addition to Higdon's facilities was just 5,000 square feet.
     "My daddy and I thought if you could utilize all that you wouldn't want to be any bigger than that," Higdon said, adding that his father left the business in 1999.
     The company has long had a family focus. Joe's brother Jack was in the business until his death in 1980.
     Ralph and Warren Higdon III, now vice president and president, respectively, joined the business in the early 1980s. Joe Higdon is secretary and treasurer, with no plans to retire.
     The company says it was one of the first to adopt innovations like synthetic particleboard papers. While the company has tried a few side categories like upholstery in the 1980s, Higdon said it has been best at making promotional bedroom for small retailers.
     "We've never been a big company, but we've drawn a good living out of it," Joe Higdon said. "Not a lot of families have owned their business 60 years and are still being run by the family."

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