Friday, July 31, 2009

"Toto, I Do Not Think I Am In Kansas Any More!"

I ran into a retired long time employee this week. We had a great opportunity to catch up on all the things he had been doing since he retired about 6 years ago. He commented on the state of the furniture industry and I quickly started telling him about the things Hickory Chair could do to make one of a kind pieces and that has allowed us to grow and be successful in a difficult time for the furniture industry. I quickly shared with him how in 2007 and 2008 we had record years! He was surprised as his mind was filled with all the news of plant closings in our area over the past few years.

I shared with him that today if a customer wants a 120" sofa we say No Problem...and we ship it in 14-21 days from order! I shared with him that if a customer wants us to remove the wood door panels on an armoire and replace them with glass we say No Problem. If that customer then asks if we could change the wood shelves in that piece for glass shelves we say No Problem. Then if they ask us to stain the outside of the cabinet in a Hickory Chair stain but want us to paint the inside in a paint color to match their room we still can say No Problem. Then if they prefer a different Hickory Chair hardware or want to send us their own hardware we say No Problem... and we can ship it in 14-30 days from order!

Today I was in the factory and noticed a Milo Made 2 Measure Table. It was 30" dining height, was 24" deep and 60" long with the top in Maple veneer. The amazing thing was that it was finished in a Benjamin Moore high gloss lacquer as a match panel! This is definately a one of a kind piece that we likely will never make again! This caused me to think about my friend that I had spoken with the day before. In the years since he retired we have worked hard to allow flexibility in size, finish, construction, hardware, etc. We have moved the wood products factory to share the building with the upholstery factory. This has allowed us to streamline and become even more nimble. We do make most of the furniture that we made when he was here but we certainly have evolved from only one finish and standard hardware. We have evolved from one size of a sofa. Surely he would have felt like "I do not think I am in Kansas any more" with all the things Hickory Chair can do today!

1 comment:

  1. The creativity we see in products we produce to Designers Specifications is nothing short of "amazing". Our Workroom is full of interesting and personal intterpretations of classic styles selected to suit a specific dream a client has expressed. Change is everywhere at Hickory Chair as we continue our EDGE journey.