If science fiction had its way we would all be working for robots by now. That day will likely never come, but there is no doubt that automation has profoundly changed the manufacturing landscape; almost entirely for the good and without making human beings obsolete.
Here at Gat Creek, we owe a good deal of our success to our investment in four CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines. Deploying robots strategically we can build more complex and beautiful furniture, without taxing Gat Creek’s most important asset — our people.
At Gat Greek, we get a warm feeling inside knowing that part of our sustainable story is making the most of the lumber we purchase. Through no small effort, 90% of the heat for our facility is provided by wood scrap that would otherwise end up in the landfill. During those crisp late fall days or in the middle of a West Virginia winter, we are reminded of the benefits every time we enter the shop to find it toasty warm. Sometimes, we even take the time to reflect on how this simple idea contributes to conserving natural resources and reducing our carbon footprint.
In just 14 years, the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) has grown from a seed of an idea into one of the industry’s most influential voices for environmental responsibility. Credit the rapid growth and impact to two things: consumers’ awareness of and desire for safer, more sustainable products, and a leadership group wholly dedicated and committed to sustainability.
Hundreds of domestic and international manufacturers, designers and retailers comprise SFC’s membership. Gat Creek is proud to be a founding member with Silver Exemplary status. For a complete list of Sustainable Furnishings Council member companies visit sustainablefurnishings.org.
Almost 25 years ago, Gat Caperton bought the Tom Seely furniture factory in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. It had operated since the 1950s and was struggling to compete with brands that had moved their production to low-wage factories in China.
The Gat Creek story appeared in this 2018 Washington Post story. It’s an excellent portrait of Gat and the company. If you saw the story when it was first published, it is worth revisiting for the reader comments!
At its annual meeting last November, the American Home Furnishings Alliance elected Gat Caperton chair of the board of directors. Gat has sat on the board since 2013 and replaces 2018 chair, Bill Wittenburg, CEO of Klaussner Furniture.