BOONE, N.C. – At Charleston Forge in Boone, the first thing you notice is the noise. The booming, zapping, whooshing and buffing—all of it meant to turn pieces of metal into pieces for your home.
Art Barber and his wife Susan started Charleston Forge back in the early 1980’s, and they’ve been running it ever since. Last month, they got quite the shock when they turned on the Winter Olympics one night and saw something familiar sitting on the NBC set in Sochi.
“The flash went through my mind,” says Art. “’Is that our table?’”
It was. A simple, circular metal table sat on a set that Bob Costas, Matt Lauer and others used for interviews. Art and Susan started trying to figure out how it got there.
“Sure enough, one of our customer service ladies remembered getting an order from a design firm in New York City,” Art says. “She remembered we had to ship it really fast. In fact, we made the table in less than a week’s time, shipped it to New York -- it got on a container and went to the Olympics.”
That all happened last July. “You don’t really think about the Winter Olympics in July,” says Art.
Since the Olympics, people have been calling and asking about the table. It’s a great moment for a company that’s gone through some tough times. “Some accountants say we should be out of business right now,” Art says.
The reason? It can be cheaper to make furniture overseas. Art says he explained that to his workers, and they responded. “Our employees took on a challenge,” he says. “We can make it as good as they can for less money.”