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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

New store sells only American made goods
Wood Grains will open Saturday on South Main Street
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Courtesy Photo: Dulcie Webster Hankins inspects a delivery of cedar chests and baskets for her new store, Wood Grains, on South Main Street.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Franklin County native Dulcie Webster Hankins has a passion for real wood furniture.

"My uncles made solid, real wood furniture from woods like walnut and cedar, using their hands to create these great furniture pieces," Hankins said. "I still use that furniture, some of it 50 and 60 years old, in my house. Everybody deserves to have great furniture that lasts for more than a lifetime."

Hankins will display new heirloom-quality furniture when she opens Wood Grains, Rocky Mount's newest furniture store, this weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at 355 S. Main Street, directly across from the hospital emergency room.

During the open house, door prizes will be awarded with registration.

As a fan of great furniture, Hankins is always searching for quality, functional pieces that are different from typical furniture warehouses.

"When I would go looking for real hardwood American furniture, I found pretty limited options," she said. "So much of what I found was all or mostly fiberboard or other fillers and made overseas, so the quality isn't there."

"I would go on vacation, see furniture I liked and wonder why I couldn't find these great pieces at home," Hankins added, emphasizing the importance of American businesses supporting American producers.

"I really want to support American workers and give my customers great furniture they can take pride in and not regret buying," she said.

When Hankins began to consider opening her own business to sell American made goods in 2013, she took trips to Ohio to meet with small Amish furniture makers, basket makers and quilters.

"When I met with Amish furniture makers at their farms and in their shops, I saw the quality of construction, the real hardwood, the dovetails and traditional joinery, and I saw first-hand the care they take to make beautiful, heirloom-quality furniture," she said. "And the variety is just amazing, in both the styles available as well as the wood types and stains. I can go to any of them and get the styles and custom work that so many people want."

"If my customers don't see exactly what they like in the store, I can have what they want quickly built in the wood and stain colors they want, all at reasonable prices," she added.

Hankins will sell hardwood furniture for bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms, with additional lines in entertainment centers, benches, step stools, rocking chairs and other occasional furniture. One big attraction for local shoppers will be a big selection of cedar chests, storage boxes and decorator boxes.

"I remember Lane and the great cedar chests they built, and I when I found a supplier who could give my customers great quality cedar at reasonable prices, I knew I had to offer them for sale," said Hankins.

One main feature on the sales floor now is a 6-foot-tall, solid hickory 12-gun display cabinet with storage drawers.

"I wanted to go with the six-gun case, and my husband convinced me I needed to put the 12-gun case on the floor," Hankins said. "I don't think the movers who delivered it like him very much."

The store offers art and textile lines as well, including photography by Bedford County photographer and Guideposts author Shelly Craig Hill, locally crafted embroidery and quilting by Franklin County embroiderers Lenora and Katherine Lentz, Amish baskets of all shapes and sizes, turned wood art, local and Amish quilts and other decorator items.

Hankins will accept consignment sales from local artists and crafters.

"My main concern is that it has to be American-made, so I look forward to helping local crafters, furniture makers and artists expand their market," said Hankins.

The new store is online at www.woodgrainsusa.com and on Facebook at Wood Grains American Furniture.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 9, the store will be open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are also available by calling 540-483-0627.

The store will offer delivery, pick-up and custom shipping options. Wood Grains will be the exclusive Virginia retailer for many manufacturers.

"I guarantee that you will always find something unique, different and new in my showroom," Hankins said.

Hankins is the daughter of Tinsley and Gladys Webster of Callaway. She is married to Matt Hankins, Rocky Mount's assistant town manager. And she has three stepchildren.

She serves as the librarian and on the homecoming committee of Fairmont Baptist Church in Boones Mill.

"My family and my church have really supported me through starting up, and I look forward to bringing exciting furniture to Rocky Mount," said Hankins.

 
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