09 Jan High Point, North Carolina
Where to live in North Carolina? Twice a year High Point, North Carolina is transformed into an international city. This year the Stanley Furniture showroom transported visitors to Cuba with its Havana Crossing design line. The furniture’s architectural elements, photography and artifacts brought the cultural influences of the island country to U.S. consumers, long fascinated with the mysterious and exotic location.
Architecture in buildings, hotels and other structures served as a muse for the showroom pieces. Cocktail tables in the lobby of the Havana Riviera Hotel are now seen in a new light in the High Point collection. The High Dive end table was inspired by a three-tiered diving board at the same Riviera hotel.
Not only is the new line unique but so is the showroom it is sitting in. The Stanley Furniture showroom (approximate 60,000 square feet including office space) is one of only a few permanent spaces located in High Point all year —not just when the High Point Home Furnishing Market rolls into town twice a year. The international trade show is largest of its kind in the U.S. It is the hallmark of the more than $5 billion (annually) industry.
“High Point is ground zero in this industry,” said Randy Wells, vice president of creative, Stanley Furniture Company. “This city has deeper roots in furniture than Detroit and the auto industry. “We needed a street presence and moved here from IHFC (International Home Furnishings Center) in 2013. Now, our creative team is just feet away from our showroom and it gives us a great advantage and ability to do a better job for our customers.”
Considered one of the best places to live in North Carolina, the smallest of the three Triad cities, High Point has built its reputation on furniture and manufacturing. The number of new business projects is attributed to the efforts of High Point Economic Development Corporation, and Sandy Dunbeck, the 2015 North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year.
HAECO Americas will locate its aircraft interiors manufacturing operations and engineering functions to High Point. The $11.3 million project will include the creation of 147 jobs over five years. Expert Global Solutions will add more than 800 jobs at its customer engagement service office in Piedmont Centre industrial park. It is the largest provider of customer service solutions to the U.S. market – and the third largest globally. The leading school bus manufacturer in North America, Daimler’s Thomas Built Buses continues to grow in High Point – adding 416 jobs over two years.
Education is a vital partner in the growth of High Point led by High Point University which many credit for the town’s economic turnaround. The school has experienced high levels of growth under President Nido Qubein in the past decade. The school’s $160 million expansion and renovation plans announced in spring 2016 include a $60 million undergraduate sciences facility. New buildings and construction projects include establishing the Congdon School of Health Sciences and the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, the only pharmacy school in the Triad.
To learn about High Point’s history a visit to the High Point Museum is time well spent. A trip to Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library is on the bucket list for those who are intrigued with the industry. It is the largest furniture specialty library in the world. Take a photo by the John Coltrane statue and marker. The bronze statute pays tribute to one of High Point’s most acclaimed citizens, legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Each Labor Day, jazz lovers gather for the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.
The city has plenty of green spaces, parks and lakes that get locals outdoors and connected with nature. The Piedmont Environmental Center provides environmental education, engaging nature hikes, eco-tours and 11 miles of trails for independent adventure.
In the evening, dining out is a favorite pastime in High Point. At Lulu and Blu, Italian food is served with a twist. Mussels, pasta and other cuisine of Italy tantalizes guests who enjoy the specialty martinis and exceptional wine list. On Friday nights end the week at Emerywood Café, a restaurant and full service catering company offering live music to celebrate TGIF. 
So, if you are considering moving to North Carolina, you should definitely check out High Point.