When UNC Chapel Hill Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, mentioned that it bothered him to see how dirty the seats were in the university’s Dean Smith Center, Iv Culp, president and CEO of Culp, Inc., had a solution.
As a way to honor the late Rob Culp, co-founder of Culp and his beloved alma mater, the seats in the Smith Center were re-covered with the company’s LiveSmart performance fabric. It is moisture repellent, stain resistant, fade resistant, and heavy duty, which made it ideal for use in the Smith Center’s nearly 10,000 lower-level and mezzanine seats.
“When they brought in the fabric to show us and demonstrate its capabilities, they literally poured Coke on the fabric, and wiped it right off with a dry rag,” recalled Smith Center Director Brett Botta. “Then they did the same thing with ketchup and two or three more ‘pain points’ for us, and they all wiped right off, which was pretty cool.”
Beginning in March 2021, the cushions in the lower bowl and the mezzanine were removed in 2,000-2,500 seat blocks and shipped away to be re-covered. All the cushions were back in place by October, covered in LiveSmart fabric matching the exact Pantone shade of Carolina Blue. Culp’s gift was two-fold – as Culp, Inc. donated the fabric for the project, while the Culp family paid for the labor needed to install the new seat cushions.