Manual Woodworkers & Weavers
Founded by the Oates Family almost 90 years ago, Manual Woodworkers and Weavers has had a history of growth, adaptation to change, and more growth. Throughout its history, the company has benefited from the leadership and guidance of the Oates Family. Even today, the company is 100% privately owned by the Oates Family. MWW was founded in 1932 by Tom and Queenie Oates. At that time, the company began as a small operation in a single building in a location near Bat Cave, NC. During those early years, the company’s primary products were wooden crafts and souvenirs. In 1974, Lemuel and Sandra Oates (members of the second generation) purchased the company from the founders. During the next 34 years, Lemuel and Sandra Oates transformed the company into a nationwide major force in the gift shop industry. Under their leadership, the company’s product line transformed from making wooden products to making woven textile products and a broad line of other home décor products. In 2008, Travis Oates and Molly Oates Sherrill (members of the third generation) purchased the company and transformed its marketing focus. Today, MWW is a major force in the “make on demand” industry and produces a broad range of custom home décor textile products. The company has expanded its product lines by adding printed custom textile products, as well as woven textile products. During the recent pandemic, the company has also assisted in the national recovery effort by producing a large volume of face masks. The company has manufacturing operations in both Hendersonville and Spindale. MWW acquired the former Spindale Mills facility in 1999. During the last 5 years, MWW has greatly benefited from a Building Reuse Grant that was obtained via the guidance and support of Rutherford County Economic Development, the Rutherford County Commissioners, and the Town of Spindale. As a result of the upgraded facility, and of the company’s general business growth, the Spindale location now has more than 250 employees and is looking forward to continuing that growth.