In Memory: Michael K. Dugan

In Memory: Michael K. Dugan

Michael K. Dugan died on November 11, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. As president of Henredon Furniture Industries and co-founder of Jamestown Sterling, Michael K. Dugan held a place at the table for many of the industry’s biggest changes during his 35 years in the furniture industry.

Chief among them was the industry’s shift from domestic manufacturing to import sourcing, a disruptive period that he wrote about in “The Furniture Wars: How America Lost a $50 Billion Dollar Industry.” The book quickly became a must-read among industry leaders seeking to understand the unique challenges of the furniture industry — and what the future might hold.

Mr. Dugan served as president of Henredon for 17 years. He believed in marketing directly to the consumer through impressive marketing campaigns in prestigious consumer shelter magazines, thereby building consumer loyalty and a strong brand. A series of creative collaborations with highly visible designers and fashion brands solidified Henredon’s position as a style leader.

Under his watch, Henredon built thriving licensing relationships with Barbara Barry and Ralph Lauren. The steady stream of other winning collections included Aston Court, Enchantment, Amalfi Coast, Vicente Wolf, Pierre Deux, Charles X, and Acquisitions. By pursuing the interior design business as a lucrative market, Henredon helped open up the High Point Market to interior designers looking for access to high-end brands. 

In the early 1980s, Mr. Dugan played an instrumental role in the merger of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers with the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, which helped to unify furniture manufacturers from across the country. He also was involved with the Furniture Foundation and the University of South Carolina School of Retailing. As the Alex Lee Professor of Business at Lenoir Rhyne University, where he received an honorary Doctorate, he continued as a voice for the industry through courses for business students and symposiums for the industry and community.

An active contributor to his community, he served on multiple boards, including Frye Regional Medical Center, Hickory Museum of Art, and WFAE Radio, and was a longtime supporter of the Visiting Writers Series at Lenoir-Rhyne. In 2022, Mike was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame.

Among his multitudinous interests, Mike held special places for James Joyce, The Rolling Stones, The Godfather, Saturday Night Live, the Brownies and the Tribe, his 1966 Corvette Stingray, and any and all dogs. He valued indomitable Irishry and personal integrity. Above all, he cherished his family – past and present.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, his children Eric (Atcha), Kendra (Kevin Meese), Cassidy (Alexandra), and Kevin, and his grandchildren Ryan, Emma, Dylan, Hannah, Connor, and Avery. He is reunited with his parents Leah and Frank and his sisters Louise MacDonnell (Edward) and Sheila Shuman (Donald). A family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to your favorite charitable organization.