BOONE, N.C. — A piece of North Carolina is getting prime time exposure during NBC Sports’ broadcast of the Winter Olympics.
An Oculus cocktail table, made by metal-furniture manufacturer Charleston Forge of Boone, is featured prominently on the set where NBC personalities, such as Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, have interviewed athletes at the games in Sochi, Russia.
Art Barber, co-owner and president of Charleston Forge, said he was unaware the cocktail table had been chosen as a display item by the network until he saw an interview segment during the early days of the Olympics.
“I jumped up from the sofa, grabbed my iPad and started taking pictures of the TV screen,” Barber said.
The company said the table features a 34-inch inset round glass top supported by a matching circular open base. It sells for $1,000 at retail.
Barber said he was able to track the sale of the table to a New York firm that does sets for TV networks.
Barber said the table has been used primarily when there are three or more announcers on stage.
“Small company in North Carolina mountains lands American-made table in the Olympics,” Barber said. “It just goes to show the huge amount of support there is out there for American-made products.”
Philip Holman, marketing director the company, said the global exposure for the company has been “very positive.”
“We sent an eBlast to 1,200 dealer accounts around the country last week, and have been posting about it frequently on our Facebook page,” Holman said. “We have seen an increase of more than 600 likes on our Facebook page since Thursday,” representing about a 50 percent increase in likes on the page.”
Charleston Forge is no stranger to having its customized furniture displayed in prominent locations.
Other sites include Augusta National Golf Club, site of The Masters in Augusta, Ga., Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International Inc.’s headquarters in Maryland.
A hands-on approach is a symbol of pride and a means of survival at Charleston Forge, which has a workforce of 25 production and 15 office employees.
The company was founded in 1984 by Art and Susan Barber. They remain co-owners, along with partner Rick Grant, who serves as company president.
Its products include dining and occasional tables, barstools, benches and chairs, baker’s racks, kitchen storage, beds and mirrors.
Remaining a domestic manufacturer in a sea of furniture imports has not been without challenges for Charleston Forge.
In 2004, the company had as many as 200 employees in 2004 and two additional operations in Sparta.
It eliminated 35 jobs in 2005. It closed the Sparta facilities in March 2008, eliminating 53 jobs.