Still Making Furniture in Virginia

Since we have been discussing manufacturing in Virginia,  I want to take the opportunity to recommend this wonderful book.  It is the story of how one man fought to maintain his manufacturing operation in Virginia.  While the main focus of the story is the problem of Chinese subsidization of companies that were competing with Virginia furniture manufacturers, the story does illuminate many of the other problems facing manufacturers in rural Virginia.  In addition, for long-time observers and students of Virginia politics and history, the story of the interlocking family operations- Bassetts, Stanleys, Vaughans, and Lanes–that comprised furniture making in Southside Virginia in the 20th century, is fascinating.  (I just discovered to my chagrin that Jim Bacon had a long post several years ago about this book.  Regardless of my neglecting to check BR history, it does rate a second recommendation.)

The subject of Macy’s book, John Bassett, III, has published his own book on how manufacturers can continue to succeed in America.  I have not read this one, but, based on his success, he needs to be taken seriously.

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5 responses to “Still Making Furniture in Virginia”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    The thing about virtually all manufacturing whether in this country or overseas is that automation is totally changing how much manual labor is needed – even if it is relatively cheap labor. The bottom line is that they need less people so you may well still have a manufacturing operation but it will employ only a handful of people compared to the past – and the people it does employee are more highly educated and skilled.. there is less demand for unskilled labor.

    There’s no real solution to that other than a smaller labor force unless efforts are made to bring in more automated factories and that goes to what Mr.. Moret has been advocating – a more highly skilled workforce and incentives.

    It’s good to see folks like Mr. Basset who has clearly kept up with the times and the folks who work for him and have jobs are fortunate for his efforts.

  2. djrippert Avatar

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City report estimates Colorado’s marijuana industry currently employs approximately 18,000 full-time equivalent staff, a 17.7 percent increase over the previous year.

    Virginia is more populous than Colorado by quite a lot. Those 18,000 marijuana jobs in Colorado could translate to 25,000 or so jobs in Virginia.

    Virginia should legalize recreational marijuana use but only license the growth and post-production in places like Danville which have long needed some help. Legal marijuana is pretty high tech with the way the crop is grown and the development of disposable THC vape pens, edibles and drinkables.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    As Virginia continues it’s trend toward Blue – Casinos and Marianna are sure to follow as will revenues from them.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Agree, although I see more of a libertarian streak that red vs blue on these matters. Few people consider Alaska a liberal place. The problem with casinos is that you can’t outsource the business away from population centers. You can try to import gamblers (like Las Vegas does) or you can locate casinos near the places where people with high disposable incomes live (like MGM Grand at Washington Harbor). You just can’t build casinos in places like Alta Vista and expect people to just show up. Attempts to use gambling to “clean up” economically troubled areas seem to have generally failed (see: Atlantic City, NJ).

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