Emerson et Cie had its humble beginnings in 1985, when Marvin Smith first traveled to Italy in search of exciting and unique product for his wholesale designer showroom in San Francisco’s Design Center. His natural ability to develop and merchandise unique items greatly appealed to the design trade, and soon after, Retail Furniture Stores. With just a few occasional tables and chairs, the company was soon on its way to becoming an important resource for west coast distributors. From the beginning, his son, Mark was involved in running the warehouse, assembling tables, conducting deliveries, and later acting as independent sales representative for northern California.
In 1996, the company relocated to High Point, NC and the “Furniture Capital of the World” to better serve the needs of all of its buyers. Emerson et Cie utilized the area’s skilled work force, and secured a plant location that was over 12 times the size of the one in California. This expansion allowed for substantial growth over the next decade, and it continues to serve as the company’s headquarters. The proximity to their Wholesale Showroom, at the High Point Furniture Market, has also helped the company by insuring the best displays possible.
The company’s name has its origin in the French tradition of adding “et Cie” after a proprietor’s name to indicate a family business. From the start, Emerson et Cie has been one such business, and since the middle name of Emerson has been handed down for six generations, the name, Emerson et Cie became the obvious choice. Mark Emerson Smith was named President in 2006, and Marvin Emerson Smith retired from his day-to-day duties in 2010.
Emerson et Cie has specialized in imported furniture since its inception. Though many in the furniture industry have gone “offshore” recently, closing their domestic factories, Emerson et Cie is proud of its heritage and is still searching and developing new, exciting, and exclusive products. Now employing over 5 designers, and utilizing numerous resources abroad, Emerson et Cie is in a position to enjoy another 20 years of steady growth.