Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams

The Furniture Guys

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams started their eponymous furniture company in 1989 in Taylorsville, North Carolina, and have since grown the company to more than 700 employees and 32 retail locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The duo added Fort Worth to the lineup on Sept. 1 at The Shops at Clearfork. We sat down with them in their 10,000-square-foot showroom in October to learn what they love, what they hate, and what’s their favorite project to date. Turns out that last one has nothing to do with furniture.

Tell me, what’s your favorite piece in the room right now? Bob Williams– The major arm chair. It’s an iconic piece for us.

What would you say really put y’all on the map? Mitchell Gold– We first started out doing upholstered dining chairs. We did them with beautiful flowers, rich velvets, stripes and color, and very quickly got noticed. We had a factory that was small with 30 or 40 people and sold to retailers who sold our products. It took off so quickly that, that first Christmas, when factories are usually shut down, we stayed open. Bob and I came in and put chairs in boxes and put labels on them.
What trends are you seeing right now? MG– People want more color in their homes. Whether it’s on a piece of furniture or pillows or draperies. The things that we have that are more colorful, we’re selling better than we’ve seen them sell in the past.

Are there any design trends that y’all hate? BW– Things that are uncomfortable. Not just the way a seat or sofa or chair sits but lots of times the way the room is organized is not very comfortable. Mitchell has a great quote that’s sort of been a bit of a mantra for us from the very beginning ... MG– "When a home has been furnished successfully, just walking in the door is like getting a hug."

What’s your favorite item in your own home? MG– We have an adjustable bed. The back tilts up, the legs tilt up. It vibrates. It is without a doubt my favorite thing. Because we eat breakfast in bed, a lot of times we eat dinner in bed. And, it’s far better than I thought it was going to be. BW– The sectional in our TV room. It’s the one place where we can all sit when we have friends and family over.

What’s the first thing you notice when you walk into someone else’s home? BW– To be honest, we don’t get invited to many homes. 
People are probably scared you’ll be too critical. BW– I think they are. MG– I was caught once lifting cushions up in somebody’s home.
What were you doing? MG– I was looking to see who made the sofa. And when I was in the bathroom, I looked to see who made the towels. I’m forever curious. But when we sat down to dinner and I lifted up the dish to see who made it, that was too much.

What project are you most proud of? MG– The daycare center at our factory. It’s great to see the kids graduate and go off to college.
Editor's Note: The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams factory in North Carolina has an on-site, not-for-profit child enrichment center. Employees pay less than $100/week to send their children to Lulu's Child Enrichment Center — that includes breakfast, lunch and diapers. The company has family-friendly aspects all throughout the campus, including high chairs in the cafe, an on-site health center staffed with two registered nurses for employees and family, and a garden that’s harvested for meals.

So, why Fort Worth? BW– We’ve been waiting for this shopping center to open. We were the first store to open [in The Shops at Clearfork]. We were chomping at the bit. MG– One of the things we do is evaluate a sense of style. Because you could go to a place that has a gazillion people, but if there’s not a more sophisticated sense of style, then it doesn’t work. And we literally drove around neighborhoods [in Fort Worth] to look at houses, to see what the architecture was like, and this really seemed like a great spot for us. And the proof for us is this has been one of our most successful store openings.