I always love to hear the stories about Eddy West when people come through our showrooms or in our stores. I think it is so ingenious the imagination of some and it is just a bigger picture of the telephone game that we used to play as a child. You know the one where you whispered in someone’s ear and then they did and then it passes on to maybe 10 or fifteen people and the last person says it out loud but it is not even a close version of how it started out? Well that is kind of the story of Eddy West. I have met people that went to school with Eddy West, some that are really good friends with him and some that know his family. I always find it amazing that so many people know this person that is not real. Mostly I play along, it is never my goal to embarrass someone or to set them straight or tell them that I know it all. I may actually learn something. If they are completely in left field I will re direct them, especially if they tell me they know his wife.
Eddy is our last name. We grew up in the furniture business. If you don’t recognize the last name, it is the last name that is also part of the Habersham history. When Craig and I started our business we were all consumed with the southwest. We loved then and still do now, the primitives of the southwest culture. At the time it seemed like a fun thing to do, to use our last name and link it to a part of the country that we enjoyed and got much of our inspiration from. So was born Eddy West. It was unique and in our minds, he (Eddy West) did become a persona.
Our story is an adventure. It starts when I (Juliann) flew to Atlanta with my dad to pick up a load of furniture from a new company (called Habersham) for my dad’s store. I was on a school break, I’m sure driving my parents crazy so my dad thought it would be a good thing to fly to Atlanta with him from Indiana to pick up a U-Haul load of furniture to be sold in his Ethan Allen store. Well, we flew in immediately after a tornado hit the governor’s mansion in Atlanta. I think we were in the center of the tornado. The ride in was like a roller coaster. As soon as we got off the plane, a certain Craig Eddy was there to pick us up. My dad saw him and started talking to him and failed to introduce me to him. But he saw me and I saw him and he introduced himself and there were instant fireworks. Well, to make a long story short…we were married five months later. When I was back home, I told my mom I met the man I was going to marry but was concerned about how I would ever see him again. As fate would have it, they left a complete order off the truck and Craig had to bring it up the following week-end and our romance was off and running.
Some years later, we are married with two small children and Craig was traveling and working with the sales part of Habersham. We were given the opportunity to buy several Habersham stores, which we jumped at. It would give him the chance to be home and a chance for us to work together. We have always been partners in every venture. So this would be fun.
The stores kept us busy and they gave us a true understanding of what retailers go through and what the customers want. We still cherish the times that we worked the stores as they were a true learning experience for us. During the time that we had the stores, we started experimenting with our line and playing with some pieces, making primitives and beating them up and watching what happened. They always sold. It was rewarding to watch something that you had created from the beginning to be consumed by the customer. They loved the look. It was a fun experiment.
Years later the economy crunch hit, and we needed to expand outside our box. It was time to take our line to market. This was a scary time. We put everything on the line and took it to High Point, NC. We were in a temporary showroom space that was 10X20. I don’t know how well you know our line but the pieces were large, even then and 10X20 was not a lot of space. But it was all we could afford.
So we went to market and we took orders. We were so excited, we were there for eight days and did a whopping $5100.00 in orders! We were off and running…..not really. We got home and had $1300.00 in cancellations. It was a bust! Looking back, I now wonder how we went on. I believe that it was God teaching us all along the way. We actually told Market Square that we wouldn’t be back and they said well you signed a two market lease, so …. We went back. We asked for a larger space which they obliged, and at that market…it worked!
I am eternally grateful to my precious and wonderful mother in law (Joyce Eddy) who gave us a book that for most would be a coffee table decoration but for us turned into our “Southwest Bible”. We were so enmeshed in the book that we actually went out west to go through the museum to see the actual pieces that we were copying. Again, God showed up for us all along the way. We were always where we needed to be, finding items that we needed. It has been an amazing journey and I have to say that I feel so blessed to have lived it. We have so many great stories, some really challenging ones as well as some that are side splitting hysterical.
We have three daughters and now, two granddaughters and a grandson (finally) . At some point each one of our girls have been involved in some aspect of the business. The business has given them so much which they ( and I will speak for them but they all have said as much) are grateful for. They have learned how to become good employees by watching what their parents do in running a business, they have learned how to manage and most of all how to be creative in every area of their life. They could step in at any time in our shoes and keep things going and for that we are thankful.
We are thankful for all of the opportunities that our business has allowed us. We are a part of many lives and many lives are a part of us.
Some would say that we are religious. I say that we just know that there is a God and that He loves us and He has a plan for everyone, including us. We give Him all the glory for what we have accomplished. We know that He has been a major part in all of our lives from the very beginning of “our story” until now.
There is so much more to our story, there was a fire several years ago, there have been major ups and downs. But for now, this is the short version.
And no…. Eddy West is not a person, you didn’t go to school with him, he wasn’t your neighbor and you don’t know his wife…. he is so much more than that.