02 Nov Authentic Relationships
“Always deliver more than expected.”
-Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google
Authentic relationships are the backbone of Classic Leather’s 50+ years in business. Classic Leather and our commercial division St. Timothy, have constructed furniture for various applications from residences to country clubs and court houses. Eighty-five miles west of our factory, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, for example, you can find our colleagues of Asheville School. The private high school hosting and educating our next generations is also home to many pieces crafted by Classic Leather.
Classic Leather’s relationship with Asheville School is no coincidence. In 1949 the founding president of Classic Leather Inc., Tom Shores Sr., attended the school as a student. Later, his son (current president of Classic Leather), Tommy Shores would follow. In 1986, Tommy suggested the school consider updating some of its pieces His advice was taken to heart by the school’s class of ’85 and a project came to life. The class resolved to fund a donation to assist in refurnishing Mitchell Hall’s lobby. Modernizing the school’s furniture continued as Classic Leather was commissioned for new furniture in Anderson Hall, Crawford’s Music House and other campus buildings.
In August 2020, Classic Leather crafted eight chairs and St. Timothy manufactured four tables for the Alumni room. “From having been a student there, from having visited over the years, I knew the spaces that were involved and to some extend the needs for students or the administration and faculty,” remarks Shores. The result of the furnishing collaboration brightened up the room with a sophisticated navy hue paying tribute to the school’s colors.
Benefits of local business often favor clients. One such perk is the ability to communicate quickly and provide necessary information to customers. In Asheville School’s case, Tommy Shores commented, “…If they have questions, if there is a need for samples, it’s an easy, quick trip up there to sit down, give a presentation and talk about it.” Shores also explains the benefit of local manufacturing (to Asheville School/clients) – “Because it’s made [in North Carolina] and we still have the same craftsmen, it’s a fairly easy thing for us to make that repair, make the modifications, changes, & get new materials. Whereas if that furniture had been made outside the United States, it would have been much more difficult for them to achieve a repair. More likely they would have had to fully replace it.”
Classic Leather was founded on investing its efforts to employ local residents and build quality product from locally sourced materials. Tommy Shores remarks, “We rely on the suppliers that live here, we rely on employees, we rely on institutions like Asheville School or Lenoir-Rhyne University here to educate and train the next generation of people that are going to work at Classic Leather. We need to support all those institutions so that they are successful, and they can in turn support us and provide highly skilled employees.”
Writer: Sophie Fowler (Classic Leather Marketing Intern) | Editor: Aryn Leach (Marketing & UX Design)