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Lincolnton furniture company's revival has global message

LINCOLNTON, N.C. When Bruce Cochrane's family furniture company became an empty factory, he wouldn't drive by the building, even though it was just a short ride from home. There were just too many memories of what was and what he was sure would never be again.

Five generations of Cochranes had been furniture makers, starting with his great-great grandfather, William, who built church pews in the 1850s. By the mid-1990s, though, the long, proud family tradition appeared to be at an end. Like so many other American industries, the furniture trade was moving to China, land of cheap labor.

Cochrane headed there, too, becoming a consultant to furniture makers there, making occasional trips to offer advice. Back in North Carolina, he saw globalization taking its toll. First, fewer and fewer workers in the plants. Then, shuttered factories. But it took a while to grasp the scope of the loss.

"I didn't give that a lot of thought at the time," Cochrane says. "I was making so much money that I did not really dwell on the implications of what I was doing, of what other people were doing. ... Later on, I saw how sad it was to see a $50 billion industry move offshore and all the thousands and thousands of jobs that were lost. And I was part of it."

full piece and worth the read on inshoring factory jobs.. http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/10945194/

North Carolina used to make tons of high quality long-lasting furniture that people passed down through the generations. I wish Mr. Cochrane and his employees all the luck and talent in the world to make it so again. He's an example of a business owner who finally connected the dots.
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