17028 Thu, 09/24/2009 - 12:14pm
OREM, Utah–You may think you’ve seen just about everything when it comes to folding chairs, but Randy Hales would absolutely disagree.
His company, Mity-Lite, is introducing the first of several folding chairs with a dramatic new feature: mesh seat cushions and backs, instead of the usual metal or plastic. Mesh One is the first model out, now just starting to show up at some retail stores, inspired by the legendary Aeron chair that Herman Miller, the office furniture giant, developed during the 1990s.
“The biggest surprise I had when I came into this industry was the lack of innovation into the category,” said Hales, who bought Mity-Lite two years ago following a five-year run as owner and president of Back to Basics, a company in the tabletop industry known for its fresh product designs. “I kept asking why nobody had done anything like our new mesh chair.”
So began development of the Mesh One, which uses polyester mesh to provide better comfort and support in a lighter weight version of the traditional metal folding chair, used in both home and office. The steel-framed chair, which carries nine patents, according to Hales, and is recyclable, is made domestically at Mity-Lite’s facility here just outside of Salt Lake City . It sells for $40 at retail.
It will be followed by two lower priced versions, at $20 and $30, over the next few months and an additional four models now in development. There will also be table offerings from the company next year and Hales said the technology and design of the product is applicable to other product categories down the road.