Wright's not ready to use his casket
Heath E Combs -- Furniture Today, April 6, 2011
AT THE MARKET - If you're looking for Don Wright this market, don't expect to find him lying down on the job in his latest creation.
Oh, and keep an eye out for the casket if you're looking for high-end custom furniture maker Wright Table this market, of which he is president and founder.
It's a morbid little piece of quality furniture that Wright has been thinking about building for years, but hadn't quite closed the lid on, so to speak.
He finally got around to making the piece, an ongoing joke in his infamous, sardonically funny market invitation letters, which many people who don't even visit his showroom sign up to receive.
"I've had people out of business who want the letter. If you can't sell them, you humor them," Wright said, adding that this year he wrote his 81st letter, which also marks the company's 40th anniversary.
In the new letter he jokes, "Last November my brother John got the flu shot and came down with the flu the next day. Clearly this year's batch of vaccine is useless, so I blew the dust off my casket plans. My brother's recovery is someone else's opportunity. Come on in for a fitting."
Wright doesn't currently have plans to be buried in the casket - not any time soon, at least, he jokes. It is on display here in the company's showroom at 330 N. Hamilton St. on the second floor.
It is a high-end piece in sapele wood and curly maple, with dovetail joinery and a chocolaty finish. He believes this one has been sold to a store in West Virginia.
"The furniture business used to be very closely tied to funeral homes. Lots of small towns had casket makers and they were often furniture makers too," Wright said.
Wright, who is full of good advice - if an idea sounds stupid, it probably is, he says - believes the economy is off the bottom and working its way back up.
Wright's family is trying to collect all of his market letters.
"Don's a one-of-a-kind who is a very talented craftsman in the old tradition," said Joe Carroll, a longtime friend of Wright's who is president of McNeill Communications Group in High Point and former publisher of Furniture/Today.
"He doesn't follow convention," said Carroll. "He's his own man who is known to tell his customers that he makes furniture his way - which is exceptional by the way - and they can take it as is or buy something else."
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