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Home / Blog / American Woodcrafters is Shaped by Three Generations

American Woodcrafters is Shaped by Three Generations

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Coming from a family steeped in manufacturing and design, both father and son began their engagement with furniture early in life.

For Chuck Foster, CEO of American Woodcrafters, it all began as a child when he rode the production lines inside the dresser drawers in his grandparents’ Portland, Oregon pine furniture factory. Later, as a 10-year-old, he remembers going with his dad to the Thomasville Furniture showroom and pushing around furniture carts for fun.  

As for his son Smith Foster, he began working parttime as a 16-year-old in the American Woodcrafters (AWC) warehouse, unloading containers and labeling shipments.

Today, the father, age 60, and son, age 23, are working together at the company Chuck’s late father, John Foster, founded nearly 30 years ago in High Point, NC. That gives AWC a rare distinction as a third-generation family furniture company. In fact, Smith’s mother, Kim, also works with the company managing the showroom and as a dedicated representative to the trade specializing in interior designers. 

American Woodcrafters CEO Chuck Foster, left, and son Smith stand in the company’s 100,000-square-foot warehouse in High Point, NC.
American Woodcrafters was founded nearly 30 years ago by the late John Foster


What’s it like working alongside Dad and Mom? “It is definitely interesting,” said Smith. “Home and work life collide. But I enjoy it. Conversations begun at work often continue at home, and we get along really well.”  


When Smith joined the company four years ago, he was tasked with reorganizing the Parts Department, and later the warehouse. 

Today, his son, grandson and daughter-in-law, Kim, all work at the company.

“Before Smith came, no one had really ‘taken ownership’ of the Parts Department, and it was in disarray,” Chuck said. Smith came in and pulled all the old parts out, replaced them with new parts, then restructured and reorganized the department with a new layout. “Our initial goal was to improve customer service by shipping out parts in 3 to 4 days, but we are now achieving 48 hours or less – meaning Smith helped cut our service time in half,” Chuck said. “It was a real challenge, but he has made the department more efficient. This improved performance is critical to our customer service and relationships in the marketplace.” 

In addition, “Smith has a vision for organizing the products in the warehouse in a more efficient and effective manner, which has been an asset to the business,” Chuck said. 


Smith has also taken on a management role with quality control. “The most important thing to manage is finish quality, and being sure the production finish panels are consistent so the collection finishes will be consistent,” Smith said. 

Smith Foster in the 100,000-square-foot American Woodcrafters Warehouse in High Point.
Chuck and Smith Foster examine wood finish panels for consistency


Smith says he has learned from his father and admires the way he works with people. “I have learned patience from him,” Smith said. “Also, I admire the way he is so personable and conversational with people he interacts with.”

Chuck demurred, saying, “I think Smith has a lot more patience than me. He’s very organized and has been good at organizing the product in the warehouse to facilitate our ‘first in – first out’ shipment process.”

What’s next for Smith? “He has come to understand well the inner workings of domestic operations of the company,” Chuck said. “We want to expand his horizons so he can travel more and get more insights and personal experience and build relationships on the trade and production side (in Mexico and Indonesia),” Chuck continued. 


One thing that father and son have in common: they both excel in personal pursuits that they’ve been able to learn from and translate into the workplace.

Chuck Foster and his Dove Sculpture on the grounds of Hospice House of High Point

Chuck is an acclaimed sculptor, with many of his sculptures displayed throughout High Point and other cities. “There are similarities between furniture and art,” says Foster. “Both are driven by creativity and design collaboration, both look to historical and current design trends, and both have the capacity to enrich lives and make you feel uplifted,” he said.

Chuck and Smith Foster in the AWC High Point Warehouse.

At an early age, Smith began amateur Motor Cross Motorcycle racing, and placed nationally in competitions.

“Competitive racing prepared me to be competitive in business,” said Smith, who also enjoys snowboarding and stand-up paddle boarding. “Learning maintenance on my bike helped me with my hands-on duties here at the company.

“I also learned community-building from my time in bike racing,” he said. “For years, we traveled with the same group of people, which instilled a sense of community. Now that sense of community can be built at work,” he said. 

Here’s Smith at age 17 on the grounds of Loretta Lynn’s ranch, where he placed in a national Motor Cross Motorcycle competition.

American Woodcrafters