Barnett Home Decor: Our Story (Video Transcript)
If it hadn't been for Miss Edna Wheeler, Barnett Home Decor might never have been founded.
Said to be "one of the most charming young ladies in town", by W.L. Glessner, editor of The Americus Ledger, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Miss Wheeler held so much influence over our founder.
Miss Wheeler married her beau, William, on a Friday in October, 1889. And that's where Our Story begins.
William had firm plans to carry his new bride back to Atlanta, where he would return to work for his employer.
But instead, he was persuaded to settle in Edna's home town of Americus, Georgia.
To support his new bride, William opened his own business. He was a harness maker by trade.
W.O. Barnett's new business thrived in Americus and soon expanded. In addition to leather equipage for horses, mules and donkeys, Barnett began to make quilted cotton collar pads.
Even in the beginning, Barnett was intently focused on quality.
Insisting on superior quality materials and construction methods to produce a more comfortable, longer-lasting collar pad. One that stayed in place, with fasteners that would not pop off.
Barnett's reputation for durability and quality earned us the contract to provide mule collar pads to the US Army.
After the Great War (WWI), Barnett moved to the bustling city of Macon, Georgia, where we continued to make quality horse and mule equipage in our new Macon factory at the corner of 5th Street and Hazel Street...for the next 30 years.
...Until the day we were called by Uncle Sam to provide canvas tents to the US Armed Forces in World War II. After proudly serving the war effort with canvas tents we expanded the business to include other canvas products such as tarps and awnings.
The Post War years brought on a boom in new home ownership, and with it, a heightened demand for quality soft furnishings at affordable prices.
Our original home decor product line included many of the products we carry today: corduroy rocking chair cushions, latex foam chair pads, bar stool cushions, travel neck supports, throw pillows...and a "real nice assortment" of "beautiful" decorative pillows.
One of the first and only cushion manufacturers to use latex foam instead of polyester fiber fill, our foam originally came from a local manufacturer of ladies foundation garments.
Latex Foam is a superior fill material because it offers premium comfort, lasts longer than other foams, it's machine washable, and, unlike poly fiber fill, it will never go flat.
By the 1960's, Barnett had turned its energies exclusively to the manufacture of home decor. Our foam-fill corduroy chair pads could be found in stores all over the South East.
In 1981, our current president, Barbara, left her career marketing rock and roll albums to help her father, Pitt, expand the company.
Barbara was tasked to learn every aspect of manufacturing, and used her knowledge of sewing and construction methods to design new patterns.
While working as Vice President under her father, Barbara developed thriving relationships with major department stores and catalog companies.
After 30 years of making cushions in your choice of corduroy or corduroy... Barbara introduced designer fabrics with a woman's insight into home decor fashions.
Barbara inherited the company when her father passed away in 1990, and took charge of the company as its president.
Despite her youth, and her recent loss, Barbara successfully realized the vision of moving Barnett into the historic Bellevue Mill facility in Macon, Georgia.
Barnett Home Decor remains woman-owned and family operated to this day. Thank you for supporting Made in USA manufacturing!