After being dropped by seemingly nearly every company that she had been working with, Paula Deen has received a reprieve from Universal Furniture International. As reported by High Point Enterprise, the furniture company announced on Wednesday, July 24, that they are standing by Paula Deen and will continue to sell the Paula Deen Home Collection.
Loving fans and dealers have encouraged Universal to stay backing Paula Deen.
Paula Deen’s life has been in turmoil since she admitted to making unfortunate racial statements in 1987 involving being robbed at gun point while working as a bank teller. Her deals with companies backing her have collapsed. Food Network, Caesars, Walmart, Home Depot, Smithfield Foods, Target, JCPenney, Sears and Kmart are among the companies in the mix of the domino effect of dropping Paula Deen.
Universal Furniture CEO Jeff Scheffer acknowledges how difficult it has been to come to a final decision regarding Universal’s relationship with Paula Deen. The company’s many furniture dealers have sounded in with some urging Universal to continue backing Paula Deen and others removing any sign of her existence from their stores. Also leading to Universal’s final decision was their observation of how fans have come to Paula Deen’s defense in support of her.
Universal believes that the Paula Deen furniture line will continue to sell well based on its design.
Jeff Scheffer sent a letter to retailers stating that Paula Deen “is not the same person as the one being portrayed in the media”. Scheffer explained “We have observed her as being kind and one who treats those around her with respect. Yes, she has acknowledged saying some hurtful things but she has also apologized, and we accept that. We also feel equally dismayed for those hurt by Paula’s remarks, which for certain do not represent our own diverse culture and beliefs at Universal. After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with the Paula Deen brand and will continue to market her collections as the Paula Deen Home Collection from Universal Furniture.”
The Paula Deen Home Collection is compared to soul food by the Universal Furniture website, calling it “furniture for the soul” that “encourages relaxation, quiet moments, and spending time with family and friends”. In his statement yesterday, Scheffer concludes “To be sure, Paula, her brand and yes, her furniture have become a rallying cry for some and a lightning rod for others. What everyone seems to agree on is that the product design is strong and her collections continue to sell well.”
Paula Deen is a strong woman who has climbed up from humble beginnings proving that she is a force that can overcome the many ups and downs tossed to one in life. Universal Furniture is standing tall in their beliefs and not following the gang mentality of the other companies by kicking Paula out.
One should stay true to one’s own beliefs and never be afraid to dance!
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