There is a new opportunity for furniture manufacturers focused on office manufacturing.
The new opportunity is for remote workers who no longer travel — especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began — to an office in a large commercial building to manage their business. These days, office professionals hold meetings with potential clients and business contacts from the comfort of their homes. So how do remote workers turn a room in their home into a professional office?
According to Dave Messinger, CEO of Colecraft Commercial Furnishings, remote workers are looking to buy office furniture for their homes, a new market the high-end commercial office furniture maker wants to enter.
The office for remote workers isn’t the only new market Colecraft is looking to break into. They also want to expand their offering to commercial office buildings by offering staff desks and other office furniture.
Prior to the pandemic, Colecraft focused on creating bespoke furniture focused on reception and meeting room tables. At the start of the pandemic, Messinger said Colecraft officials created a new strategic business plan to be more efficient in offering more office furniture selections to their customers.
To break into new office furniture markets, Colecraft needs new equipment and a marketing plan to build brand awareness – and they need it now.
“There is a sense of urgency” Messinger said, knowing his competitors are also targeting remote workers. “We need help now.”
Regarding the marketing plan to build brand awareness, Messinger said Colecraft officials were looking to advertise in trade magazines, which they had never done before. He said that for a two-page color print ad showing Colecraft’s furniture selections, it would cost $10,000 for just one. He added that currently Colecraft advertises on an online website – MMQB – aimed at dealers, interior designers and architects. He said Colecraft pays the same amount — $10,000 — for 12 pages they use over time.
The marketing plan the company would like to launch is estimated at $142,000 in the first year.
“Another part of that is direct marketing. In this case, we need the help of an agency to identify the most effective ways to contact people,” he said. “Agencies that spec in this type of work know how to do it in the most efficient way.”
As for equipment, Messinger said he has already received help from the city through a Community Development Block Grant to purchase a new streamer machine. He said the city grant helped avoid a delay in receiving the new equipment. He said Colecraft also purchased a new CNC machine with financial assistance from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, which provided a low-interest loan.
Messinger said the new Edge banner will cost around $95,000 while the new CNC machine will cost $185,000. Another additional piece of equipment the company purchased is a vacuum hoist system that allows one worker instead of several to move large pieces of wood.
“There are other upgrades we also want to do,” he said. “It’s all part of our new effort.”
In February, Crystal Surdyk, the city’s director of development, presented Jamestown City Council with a plan for how to use the $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding the city has tentatively earmarked for development. economic. This plan included $1.5 million to help manufacturers purchase new equipment and $500,000 to help companies develop sales, marketing and brand awareness plans.
Messinger said he liked the plan presented by Surdyk.
“It makes a lot of sense” he said. “It’s a good, thoughtful allocation of funding to have a positive impact.”
Messinger now hopes city officials will quickly appropriate the ARPA funds they have.
“(City officials need to) get the money out during this critical time,” he said.