That same year, the two cousins created an innovative chair.

The first upholstered recliner came about in 1929, when a customer suggested that the cousins upholster their innovation and market it as a year-round piece. Good advice! It was the first chair of its kind and a bull’s-eye target for industry thieves and copiers. So the company incorporated in April of 1929.

Once again, friends and family came to the rescue raising $10,000 for patents and start-up production costs. The chair was an instant hit – but it needed a name. Combining promotion with necessity, the partners held a contest.

The names people thought up! The Sit-N-Snooze. Slack-Back. Comfort Carrier. But one in particular – La-Z-Boy – was the winner.

Just as business was taking off, October 29, 1929, brought

Fortunately, Floral City Furniture’s reclining chair and reputation for quality craftsmanship caught on. Word was out. They were honest men and excellent woodworkers. A man once claimed that when he brought a mahogany side chair to the company to be reproduced by the dozens, he couldn’t tell the intricate reproductions from the original. And though people in Monroe didn’t have a lot, they always found ways to get the things they wanted. Customers would offer everything from wheat and coal to cows as payment for their furniture. There was even a pair of cackling guinea hens that, at the time, were more reliable than any space-age burglar alarm.

By the end of The Depression, the Eds had collected quite a menagerie of farm animals. Pretty ironic in Edwin’s case considering he went into furniture to get away from the farm.

Early in 1929 – having discovered that their retailers were

The cousins created a product and marketing strategy that drew people from Detroit and Toledo, as well as Monroe. These “Furniture Shows” fascinated families from miles around. While other companies’ minds were on hard selling, Floral City concentrated on entertaining the then-worried public.

While parents shopped, children watched acrobatic circus mice perform on teeter-totters, Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. Fish flipped and glided in a magnificent sculpted pond at the store’s entryway. Shrubs grown by Edward and his wife, Henrietta, along with fruit from her garden, were given to prospective customers.

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