By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – While Carroll Passmore wasn’t able to accept the Manufacturer’s Rep Award in person Saturday at the Tupelo Furniture Market, his son Ronnie did on his behalf.
It was fitting, given that Ronnie has followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a sales representative for Harden Manufacturing.
“He started in 1983 and I started in mid-1986,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him nearly 25 years.”
Carroll Passmore got in the furniture industry in 1962 as a truck driver for Staley Furniture in High Point, N.C. He worked his way through the company, eventually becoming plant manager and sales rep until it closed in 1975.
He then went to work for Ken Campbell Upholstery, covering a sales territory that included North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
While Harden has been his primary line since 1983, Passmore also has represented Brooks Furniture Co., Rose Hill Co. and Symbol Mattress.
Awards are nothing new for the elder Passmore, who was Harden’s “Salesman of the Year” in 1997. In 1998 and 1999, he was recognized by the company for “Outstanding performance, concern and support.”
And in 2005, he received the highest sales volume award from CTC Furniture Distributors.
No wonder that Ronnie got in the business, too.
“I watched him do it while I growing up,” he said. “He had done just about everything in upholstery manufacturing.”
While his father’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, Ronnie covers the eastern half of the state.
So while they work together for the same company, they don’t necessarily work side by side.
Also, he said that the life of a sales rep is both rewarding and challenging.
“The most enjoyable part of the business is the dealer relationships, your manufacturers’ relationships,” Ronnie said. “There’s a lot of demand on your time that keep you away from family. But it’s necessary if you want to do the job right.”
As for accepting the award on his father’s behalf, Ronnie said, “it would mean a lot” for him to get it.
“We appreciate it,” he said.
Said fellow Harden rep Lee Scott of Carroll Passmore, “He’s a man I aspire to be. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.”