Greater Dalton Small Business Network
Small businesses and entrepreneurs play a large role in the past and future success of Dalton. The Greater Dalton Small Business Network is a free web portal designed to connect entrepreneurs with business support organizations, programs and service providers who can support their new or growing business. For information to help your small business, please visit the Greater Dalton Small Business Network at www.daltonsbn.org.
The Friendly Southern Town with a History of Entrepreneurial Success
In 1895, a young Dalton girl sewed thick yarns into muslin, guided by a traditional quilt pattern. She snipped and fluffed the yarn and washed the bedspread in hot water to hold the yarn in place. The girl's name was Catherine Evans Whitener and today, she's a symbol of economic and creative success!
Demand became so great for the type of bedspread she'd created that by the 1930s, local entrepreneurs were copying her technique for pay. Entire families worked together, hand tufting chenille bedspreads for 10 to 25 cents a piece.
Eventually, more than 10,000 cottage tufters -- men, women, and children - were making chenille. Their wares, often featuring a popular peacock design, were displayed along historic Dixie Highway. As these bedspreads fluttered on the breeze, the area became known colloquially as Peacock Alley.
Cottage Industry to Fortune 500
Income from tufting helped many families survive the depression - and set the stage for a community that had success and entrepreneurship woven, quite literally, into its fabric.
Advances in machinery and technology - and the entrepreneurial spirit of Whitfield County residents -- took tufting from a cottage industry to big business. Today, 90% of carpet is tufted and 80% of the US carpet market is supplied by mills within a 65-mile radius of Dalton. The industry employs tens of thousands of individuals, with job titles as diverse as IT Systems Analyst, Twisting Supervisor, Textile Designer and Senior Brand Manager.