Furniture company sticking with Deen
The home furnishings company that markets the Paula Deen line of furniture is sticking with her, the company announced this afternoon.
Universal Furniture International, which has a showroom and corporate office in High Point, said it will continue to market the Paula Deen Home Collection. Deen came to the spring High Point Market in April before the recent revelations about her using derogatory racial remarks in the past — revelations that have caused many companies to drop her, including the Food Network that launched her cooking program.
"Obviously, we feel terrible for Paula. The Paula we know – and the one I believe you have gotten to know – is not the same person as the one being portrayed in the media," said Jeff Scheffer, the top executive at Universal, in a letter to its retailers released this afternoon. "We have observed her as being kind and one who treats those around her with respect. Yes, she has acknowledged saying some hurtful things but she has also apologized, and we accept that. We also feel equally dismayed for those hurt by Paula’s remarks, which for certain do not represent our own diverse culture and beliefs at Universal.
After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with the Paula Deen brand and will continue to market her collections as the Paula Deen Home Collection from Universal Furniture."
Scheffer said in the letter that part of the reason for the company's decision was feedback from the retail customers that market its furnishings.
"During the last couple of weeks, we have heard from many of you expressing your passionate support for Paula, urging us to 'hang in there.' Other retailers have removed Paula Deen banners, tent cards, hang tags and the like from their floor displays – effectively de-branding the line. To be sure, Paula, her brand and yes, her furniture have become a rallying cry for some and a lightning rod for others. What everyone seems to agree on is that the product design is strong and her collections continue to sell well." Scheffer writes.