The Aero Bench offers a clean alternative to public seating with its refined extruded aluminum construction. Options and additional features expand the use from outdoors to high traffic public areas.
At the time of his realization, John was working as an upholstery foreman at Tomlinson Furniture, itself an old family business started in the mid 1800s. His sister Dorothy L. Davis was working as a bookkeeper with the new Heritage Furniture Company. This pair had an excellent knowledge of the furniture industry, and so in 1944 the Davis Upholstery Company was founded. Located in a small shop at 1315 South Main Street, John and Dorothy’s first focus was on upholstery repair work.
Soon the Davis shop moved around the corner to 115 East Davis Avenue, at the south end of Hamilton Street. This early operation employed three upholsterers, a sewer, and a maintenance man, and it had a finishing area on the second floor. Since the shop was next door to the city’s southern-most fire station, there was also a labor pool of off-duty firemen available when business was booming. Soon John T. Davis, Jr. returned from the war, married Frances Honbarrier, and joined the operation as a manager.
By the mid-1950s the days of reupholstery work were a thing of the past, so the business refocused its efforts on the manufacturing of new occasional chairs and living room furniture. The company listed as officers John T. Davis, Sr., president; John T. Davis, Jr., vice president of manufacturing; Hattie Davis, secretary; and Dorothy Davis Haines, treasurer.
With success came the need for more space, so a parcel of land was acquired at 602 Linden (the company’s current location), and a new building was erected by 1953. During this period, Davis was finding a new market with colleges and universities up and down the east coast. Florida State University placed an order for over 800 chairs in 1954 after testing the quality of the Davis product by tossing a sample chair from a second story window. As other sizable orders came in, the firm realized it had found its niche. For the next twenty-five years the emphasis would be on durable, attractive pieces for university environments.
Upon the death of his father in 1967, John T. Davis, Jr., became president and the company was renamed Davis Furniture Industries, Incorporated. During the 1970s, a new approach toward manufacturing office and executive furniture began to take shape, and the corporation progressed to the third generation. Danny Davis, the current president, joined the company in 1977. Ashley Davis Williams and Brian Davis, Danny’s daughter and son, are the fourth generation of Davises to carry on the tradition.
A new direction in product design and development took place in the late 70s through licensing European designs. Davis approached Driepunkt of Germany and forged a licensing agreement by which the company was to manufacture German products in North America. This new approach was instituted as a means to find better contemporary designs which would combine both quality and function. To date, Davis has had licensee agreements with many different European manufacturers. In turn, Davis has licensed their designs to other manufacturers in Europe, Italy, Australia, Japan, and Switzerland.
Davis’s new image that has emerged from carefully selected furniture offerings has been one of an industry leader in design. As part of the modernization of Davis, a new corporate slogan has emerged that signifies the marketing and product strategy…”design is a choice.”
Danny Davis, the current President of Davis Furniture Industries, best explains this new philosophy; “We have a saying here at Davis, ‘It’s all about the product, and the product is about design.’ At Davis, with every product we bring to the drawing table…the focus is always about design…the aesthetics of the design…the function of the design…and the value of the design. This is what our customers look to Davis to offer them.”