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Charleston Forge employee Ernie Houser works on trimming a frame for a piece of furniture. He has worked in the Boone factory for about 25 years.

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Originally published: 2014-02-15 14:36:28
Last modified: 2014-02-18 16:48:16

FORGED FOR SOCHI

Charleston Forge, a family-owned manufacturer of furniture located in Boone, found itself featured on the international stage of NBC Sports. Art Barber, chairman and CEO of Charleston Forge, was surprised to see his company's table on nationwide television as he watched the 2014 NBC Winter Olympics coverage in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 8.

While watching an interview between Bob Costas, Apolo Ohno and Chris Collingsworth, he recognized the table they all sat around as his own design.

"It was a truly an amazing moment," said Barber. "I was sitting on our sofa Saturday evening watching the segment and there was a table in front of them on the set that I recognized as ours. I jumped up and started taking pictures of the TV screen ... the more I stared at it, the more I knew it was truly ours."

The round cocktail table from the company's Oculus Collection was ordered from Charleston Forge last summer by a New York design firm specializing in set design. It was a rush order and was made and shipped in less than a week. They needed the table fast because they were shipping a container to Russia, yet Barber said he had no idea this table was for the Olympics.

The table then traveled to Sochi, Russia, and to the NBC set for the Olympic broadcast coverage. Since the original sighting on the show, the table continues to appear during interviews.

The Oculus table is handcrafted from steel, features a 34-inch inset round glass top supported by a matching circular open base and retails for approximately $1,000.

The Charleston Forge organization is enjoying a significant response from customers and the furniture industry because of the table's appearance.
 Barber said that in the excitement, he immediately posted the announcement on Facebook, and the post's hits rose to over 8,500 in just one day.

"It just goes to show the huge amount of support there is out there for American-made products," said Barber. "And there's no better setting for showing the beauty and durability of American-made furnishings than the Olympics."

All Charleston Forge products are handmade by a factory staff of about 25 and supported by an office staff of 15, according to Barber.

"This really excites me because of the benefit this exposure will bring for our employees. We have a small staff -- a boost in sales will help us do even better for our great employees," Barber said.

The company has manufactured handcrafted furnishings for consumers, interior designers and commercial clients for more than 30 years. The company's furniture line of more than 200 products is all built to order at their Boone factory.

Its furnishings can be seen in homes across the country and in facilities such as the Marriott World Headquarters, the Hard Rock Cafe, the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Fla., a Wake Forest University dining hall, the Beaver Creek Hyatt Hotel in Colorado and Augusta National Golf Club. Charleston Forge furniture can also be seen at local businesses at Pepper's, the Holiday Inn, the Spa at Chetola and Blowing Rock Ale House.

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