MWW Inc. is celebrating 90 years in the 2022-2023 season. Founded in Fall of 1932 at the height of the Great Depression, Tom and Queenie Oates started the company in Gerton, North Carolina as a souvenir business. Prior to the spread of electricity to the region, Tom used belt and pulley driven woodworking tools powered by a water wheel to fashion popular trinkets. These were designed to entice the tourists traveling through the area on horse-drawn buggies. The shop also served as a post office and gathering place for the community in those days.
The next generation of the family would grow the company with the help of local artisans as a cottage industry developed to supply mail order catalogs with local crafts that would be distributed across the nation. Hook and Loop rugs, braided rugs, fern stands, afghan blankets and more could be found in catalogs from Sears to Kohl’s and in stores from Bloomingdales to Woolworth’s, all being hand made in the mountains of North Carolina. Lemuel and Sandra Oates would modernize the company with a new warehouse filled with jacquard looms to fulfill all the orders coming to Manual Woodworkers & Weavers.
The third generation owners, brother and sister co-owners Travis Oates and Molly Oates Sherrill, have grown the company even further into the realms of custom manufactured textile goods for a whole new demographic of customers. With each generation finding their own specialized niche, MWW Inc. has become a resilient and diversified company that has proudly been manufacturing goods in the USA for 90 years. We all look forward to supplying our wide ranging customers with quality products for another 90 and beyond.