Swings By Mefford

Cedar Chest
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Cedar Chest
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     Selfish reasons made him do it. After a year of homeownership and remodeling, Vernon Mefford decided his patio would be the perfect place for a swing. He shopped around and became disappointed. He was outright insulted by the poor craftsmanship. Rather than buy a swing that would fall apart - that he would be too embarrassed to invite anyone to sit on - Vern decided he could do it better.

     Growing up in rural Kentucky during the 1950's, Vernon learned how to make do by engineering and building things himself. Drawing on his childhood memories of the old porch swing, and 14 years experience in auto body repair and painting, Vernon began to redesign an American tradition.

     He liked the look and feel of solid oak, but he didn't like the way some swings felt we he sat in them. The backs were too straight for the human spine, the fronts cut off the circulation in the legs, and the chain hooked to the arm just where the elbow should rest. So Vern added curves to the back, rounded the armrests and front of the swing, and moved the chain from the armrest to the back, safely out of the way.

     Vernon looked forward to pleasurable, relaxing hours in his patio swing until his neighbor, another woodworker, admired Vernon's swing and suggested he show it off. Soon Vern's swing moved from the patio to the front yard which faces the busiest two lane highway in Indiana. By the end of the first year, he couldn't keep up with the orders.

     At this critical point, Warren Richardson became fascinated with the poplularity of his close friend's swing. His moral support became hands-on involvement in the business. Warren had ideas for stepping up production while maintaining the quality of hand-crafted swings. When shipping costs seemed prohibitive, Warren used his welding background to design special brackets that allowed Vern to ship his swings more economically without losing their unique design.

     After 12 years of business, Vernon discovered that the simple bracket would allow the now famous Mefford Swing to be shipped by UPS, at a very low price, to each customers' door. This concept made it possible for other people around the U.S. and overseas to enjoy the same handmade swing others have enjoyed for years, with a single phone call!!!

     Since 1980, a one-man operation in a one-car garage along with two sons, Mark and Aaron, Swings by Mefford has grown into a 3500-square-foot factory with full and part-time craftsman producing swings, rockers and other fine hand-crafted hardwood furniture. Vernon keeps close supervision and inspection and every product created at the factory. A lively story teller, he always finds time to meet his customers and swap tales. Vernon finds it rewarding to hear of the pleasures brought by his swings.

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