By Andrea Lillo
With the continuing troubled economy here at home, a new manufacturers’ consortium headed by Capel’s Bud Young looks to help expand U.S. manufacturers’ business outside the border. Called the North Carolina Furniture Export Consortium, the group of mostly North Carolina companies covers a number of complementary categories, including case goods, lighting, rugs, accessories and fabrics. It plans to open its first permanent showroom in Canada in January to start, with China, Dubai, London and Brazil among potential locations for future showrooms.
“We’re encouraging [manufacturers] to look at it as a stand-alone profit center, regardless of how the American economy is doing,” said Young, vice president, marketing, Capel. And there are a number of positives for doing so. “This is good for jobs and for maintaining exposure worldwide,” he said. “And American colors and designs are popular worldwide.”
By sharing a showroom, the companies can then also share rent, marketing costs and other expenses. In some cases, companies share customer bases or sales reps, so there are a lot of synergies, Young added.
The first showroom is scheduled to open this January at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, and currently about 10 to 13 manufacturers are on board, Young said. At about 10,000 square feet, the space will be open every day for the designer market, as well as during the centre’s four major annual markets for the trade.