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I grew up in North Carolina, and the middle swath of the state was the capital of the U.S. furniture industry. No more. All those revered manufacturers — Broyhill, Drexel — began shifting work to China in recent years, so much so that most of the factory towns like Morganton and Lenoir are struggling. Same with other cities across the country that were dominated by furniture manufacturing.
Now comes news that one furniture town in Ohio is getting a surge of orders from an unlikely source: Ikea, the European maker of stylish, but cheap furniture that’s popular with twentysomethings and urbanites. Ikea decided that it was cheaper to build in the U.S. than to manufacture in Poland and pay the freight (at least for its U.S. business, I’m presuming).
ScrippsNews has the full story. And if you want to read more about Ikea’s formula for success, my BusinessWeek colleague Kerry Capell wrote an in-depth cover story in late 2005 on the company.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.