Bernhardt Furniture Company is one of America’s oldest and most beloved furniture companies, time and again crafting furniture of quality and lasting beauty for the country’s households and commercial buildings. City Furniture is proud to offer a choice selection of Bernhardt products for your home.
John Mathias Bernhardt founded Bernhardt Furniture Company in 1889 in his hometown of Lenoir, North Carolina. Orphaned at age 13, John and his older brother, Lynn, learned early on the values of hard work and perseverance. John started his own sawmill to process timber, and it wasn’t long before he organized a side business making furniture out of the white oak coming into his sawmill.
The furniture business proved successful, thanks in no small part to John’s insistence on making beautiful products built to last. John began marketing his oak furniture to merchants in cities like New York and Chicago, who then distributed it across the growing nation. John’s furniture gained a reputation for its impressive durability and intricate oak-grain finishes, while John himself gained a reputation as an honest, reliable businessman.
Bernhardt Furniture Company faced a number of challenges after World War I. John’s son, George, returned from military service to run the company, only to watch a fire destroy most of the factory in 1926. George preserved and rebuilt the factory, a success followed shortly by the Great Depression. With banks closed, George used “scripts” or promises of repayment to keep his employees working—and every one of the scripts was repaid, which forged a bond between the company and its employees that continues to this day.
George’s brother, John Christian Bernhardt, led the company into the post-World War II years. The company broadened its line of furniture, expanded its existing factories and built new ones, and added a sales team, propelling the company into a nationwide home furnishing leader. The 1980s and 1990s saw further development: the company founded a division to provide commercial furniture and began distributing its products overseas while maintaining 12 furniture-building factories in the United States.
Today, Bernhardt Furniture Company remains a leader in the furniture industry—a true household name. Recent accomplishments include partnerships with Martha Stewart and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as numerous awards and recognitions within the industry. The founding values exemplified by John Mathias Bernhardt remain alive and well today, and the company is still proudly owned by the Bernhardt family.