An American-made success story

Media outlets are filled with stories about failing businesses and workers losing their jobs.

It is refreshing, at least for me, to learn about a business that is succeeding again after falling on difficult times.

A while back, I received a telephone call from Scott Hovermale, president of Henkel Harris furniture company in Winchester, Va. Hovermale was delighted to report that Henkel Harris had been purchased in March 2013 by David Gum and was back making quality, high-end furniture in the Shenandoah Valley after closing for a time.

Hovermale noted that Henkel Harris furniture had a fan in the Mid-Ohio Valley – Doug Hines, owner of Circa Furnishing and Design at 117 Walnut St. in Belpre. Hines has been carrying Henkel Harris furniture in his showroom for many years and has several pieces of the furniture in his Belpre home.

In February, Hovermale visited with Hines in Belpre to discuss the re-emergence of Henkel Harris, which was founded in 1946. Hines said he told Hovermale he would gladly continue his association with the Virginia furniture company.

Hines said he has been selling Henkel Harris furniture since 1999 and the company was “doing its darndest to keep a good American furniture maker alive.” Hines believes Henkel Harris is the finest furniture maker in the United States.

Hovermale told me the new owners of Henkel Harris brought back 58 employees from the previous workforce.

Hovermale noted that David Gum has partnered with United Bank in Parkersburg for the financing needs of Henkel Harris and White House Foods, which he also owns.


Misti Sims is happy to be doing business in West Virginia.

Sims of Parkersburg, an event stylist and planner, is opening Little Black Dress Events and Rentals at 3706 MacCorkle Ave. SE, in Charleston on May 1. The building in the Kanawha City section is 3,500 square feet and has a studio and warehouse. Sims and her staff will offer planning services for weddings and corporate events, along with rental items such as tables, chairs, plates, china and catering equipment.

Sims, a 1994 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, opened Little Black Dress Events (without the rentals) out of her Parkersburg home in 2010. She had worked as a wedding event planner in Charlotte, N.C., for several years before returning home.

Sims said she decided to open a second location after learning that Charleston lacked event planning services. Parkersburg has a handful of event rentals businesses so she decided not to add that part of the business here.

Sims’s business partner in Charleston is her husband, Jason Bauer. The company has four employees.

Sims has been teaching an online wedding planning course at West Virginia University this year. She wrote the contents for the course and considers it an honor to be teaching at WVU.

It can take as long as a year to plan a wedding, Sims said. A majority of her wedding customers live in larger cities such as San Francisco and Pittsburgh, but the couples decide to get married in their hometowns in West Virginia and Ohio. Her company also provides planning services for birthdays, anniversaries and engagements.

“People said I couldn’t do the wedding planning business here,” Sims said. “West Virginia opened doors for me. I am happy to be here.”


Gene Haynes hosted a reception Thursday evening at his Parkersburg home for Marietta College officials, the MC football team coaching staff, Wood County high school football coaches and local supporters of Marietta College. Marietta College head football coach Andy Waddle thanked Ann Bailey of Vienna for her financial support in helping to improve the football facilities. Waddle, accompanied by his wife, Kerry Jean, said he has assembled a great coaching staff that is passionate about winning. “Wood County Day” at Don Drumm Stadium will be celebrated Oct. 4 during Marietta College’s football home opener against Wilmington College. Marietta College alumni from Wood County plan to gather for a tailgate party inside the stadium before the game, as they did last year. Marietta College President Joseph Bruno and his wife, Diane, and Director of Athletics Larry Hiser were among those attending the get-together on Market Street Thursday.

Contact Paul LaPann at