| In 1889, John Bernhardt, a man with imagination and drive, founded Bernhardt Furniture Company in rural North Carolina. The company started to manufacture furniture out of North Carolina’s native white oak. Bernhardt's vision ultimately led him to connect with distributors and merchants in large cities such as Chicago and New York City in order to supply sturdy oak bedroom furniture to people who lived as far away as the Rocky Mountains. This eager North Carolina entrepreneur began making an impression on the urban businessmen who would ultimately come to know his reliability and integrity.
Bernhardt’s grasp of possibilities outside his locality and his willingness to work hard enabled his young company to survive and grow. As Bernhardt’s fledgling enterprise built facilities and honed the skills of its craftsmen, the company earned a reputation for making high-quality furniture that was both durable and beautiful. Known for intricate oak-grain finishes, Bernhardt sold thousands of sturdy chests and tables at very reasonable prices, which were loaded into freight cars for transport to cities across America.
The trials and experiences that any young company goes through shaped John Bernhardt's character. His pioneering spirit and personal fortitude are reflected in his legacy—today’s Bernhardt Furniture Company. The company still places high value on old-fashioned intangibles such as perseverance, loyalty, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. Four generations of Bernhardt family members, who have been responsible for the success of this American enterprise, no doubt learned from John Bernhardt’s experience and example.
Bernhardt entered the 21st century grounded in the values that sustained it in the 19th and 20th—yet fully committed to being as fresh, alert, and aggressive as companies of any age. Bernhardt family members continue to be involved in the direction and management of the family business. The company’s “extended family” also includes more than 1,400 employees who work in Bernhardt factories and offices, as well as the dedicated salespeople who represent Bernhardt in the USA and more than 51 countries. Additionally included as members of Bernhardt’s furniture family are a host of retailers, designers, and decorators who are loyal partners in this enterprise.
Bernhardt’s story is a tale of vision, perseverance, and uncompromising commitment to high standards of doing business. This story continues today with a focus: to anticipate and satisfy the needs of customers who expect the very best furniture for their home or office.