A Boger City furniture manufacturing company celebrated the grand opening of its new retail store in Denver this week.
David Faulkner is the owner and mastermind behind Faulkner’s Upholstery in Boger City and, now, Faulkner’s Custom Furniture in Denver. With more than 20 years of experience in the furniture business, Faulkner designs and constructs tables, dressers, nightstands, entertainment centers and chairs. His specialty is custom-made contemporary furniture, and he has created his own line of acrylic furniture.
“We cater more to designers and people who want one-of-a-kind or high designer-type pieces,” Faulkner said. “You can’t really compare it to Big Lots or Rooms To Go. But we’re less expensive than name brand furniture.”
Although he was born in Lincoln County, Faulkner spent the majority of his childhood in Gastonia.
“My dad was a carpenter, so I grew up around (the trade),” Faulkner said. “He built and framed houses. During high school, any time I was on vacation — winter break, summer break, I helped him out.”
It was not until Faulkner turned 18 that he decided to return to Lincoln County, working in the cutting department at a La-Z-Boy Furniture warehouse. After honing his craftsmanship skills with the company for almost eight years, he moved on to Bernhardt Furniture in Cherryville, and a few years later to Ethan Allen in Maiden.
It was during his time at Ethan Allen that Faulkner began working out of his garage in the evenings.
“About six years ago, I started building stuff from scratch at home,” he said. “Like, out in the yard, I’d start building a frame from scratch and then I’d bring it in and started building my own frames and my own furniture. It just went from there.”
Working all day for the furniture factory and half the night at home, Faulkner soon realized he needed to choose between the two jobs. He thanks his wife, a nurse, for giving him the support to start his own business.
“I had so much going on at home and at Ethan Allen, I just figured I’d give one of them up, so I gave up Ethan Allen,” he said. “I went on my own, and opened a shop on the western end, out next to Saine’s Hardware (in Lincolnton). So, we opened that shop…and within a year, we outgrew that shop.”
With business continuing to grow, Faulkner opted to move three miles down the road to the 12,000 square-foot building located at 2473 East Main Street in Boger City, quadrupling his facility’s square footage.
“When we moved to the West Lincoln shop, it was just re-upholstery,” he said. “But once we started here, we really started focusing on designing our own frames. And once we had that going on, we started doing some furniture shows around the area. People started liking our product, and we realized we had a lot of furniture just sitting in containers, sitting in the shop, not making any money, just sitting there. That’s when I decided to open a shop in Denver.”
While Faulkner wanted to open a retail store for years, he had been hesitant about moving forward.
“One day, a customer came in…his name’s Joe Mannino, and we do a chair for him,” Faulkner said. “And he asked me, ‘Why do you have all this furniture sitting around?’”
After explaining the situation to him, Mannino informed Faulkner that he had a storefront open at a strip mall in Denver.
“There was a big furniture manufacturing store that shut down out there recently, and then the fabric and drapery store is going out of business…I don’t know that there’s many upholsters out (in that area) anymore,” Faulkner said. “They need (our store) because they don’t have anything locally.”
Faulkner believes opening the Denver retail store during the summer months will allow the business enough time to settle in and brace themselves for what he calls “re-upholstery season.”
“Right now, re-upholstery is not really busy because of the time of year, but by October, November, we get slammed with re-upholstery orders,” he said. “Everybody wants stuff re-upholstered before the family comes over for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
In addition to catering to clients in Lincoln County and the greater Charlotte area, Faulkner’s Upholstery has also developed a large client base in Atlanta.
“This designer I knew, who often shopped in Atlanta, told me about this great furniture show down there,” Faulkner explained. “That’s how I found out about it.”
Since learning about Scott’s Antique Show three years ago, Faulkner has made the four-hour trip to Atlanta every second weekend of the month. The business also makes an additional trip or two down there each month to deliver furniture orders to clients. Through working in the large metropolitan area, Faulkner’s Upholstery has constructed custom furniture for the Zac Brown Band at their Nashville studio as well as for the estranged wife of Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons.
Since opening his business, Faulkner has welcomed two of his brothers, a niece and nephew to the business.
“My brother, Doug Faulkner, is our master carpenter and does a lot of our frame design,” he explained. “He had built houses for years, and then the housing market crashed.”
It was during a conversation between the two brothers at Faulkner’s Upholstery that David Faulkner realized his brother’s craftsmanship could be transferred to the furniture business.
“I asked him to build this funky-looking ottoman I hadn’t gotten around to yet, and we went from there,” Faulkner said. “Now, I can just show him a picture or a sketch of something, and he’ll build it. He’s been the backbone of our framing department.”
Today, the business has become somewhat of a family affair. Faulkner’s eldest brother, Roger Meadows, works in the frame shop, while his nephew, Chris Faulkner, and niece, Brittany Faulkner, work in the upholstery department.
“Running a business is pretty stressful,” Faulkner admits. “If help is needed anywhere (in the store), I’m there. I run the whole show. It’s been a lot of learning along the way, but I have a good work ethic, and I try to make things happen.”
Faulkner’s retail store is located at 1891 Highway 16 in Denver. For more information about Faulkner’s Upholstery and Faulkner’s Custom Furniture, visit www.faulknerscustomfurniture.net.