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thomas austin finch, jr.

Thomas Austin Finch, Jr. (b.1922 d.1984) played a dominant role in the success of Thomasville Furniture Industries, now a giant in the industry. Under his leadership, the 87-year old company became a powerful force in the national marketplace. After learning every phase of the manufacturing process, Tom A., as he was affectionately called throughout the Industry, assumed the presidency in 1961. He plowed profits back into plant improvement, new equipment, and the employment of top flight designers.

Part of his secret was that Tom A. believed in instituting communications with consumers in advance of designing and market planning - a practice new to the industry, that he advocated in a Merchandise Mart address In Chicago In 1967. He helped to set Industry patterns with his ability to bring out new designs to anticipate market trends in the presentation of products; his insistence on extensive showrooms; and his use of professional interior designers. He created excitement and drama in presentation that carried through to retail sales floors. These pioneering efforts resulted in dramatic sales increases and sophisticated, luxurious gallery displays - such as retail dealers now employ.

He was elected chairman, Board of Governors, American Furniture Mart; president Furniture Factories' Marketing Association; and president of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers' Association (now AFMA). The American Furniture Mart named him "Furniture Man of the Year." SFMA presented him the "J.T. Ryan Award." He served in every area In his community and state... gubernatorial appointments, and a trustee of Woodberry Forest School, High Point College and Duke University... although he was a Princeton graduate.