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Greene launches TBOE custom upholstery line

Gary Evans, Staff Staff -- Furniture Today, January 25, 2010

Industry veteran Charlie Greene has come out of retirement to launch an upholstery company tailored to the designer and specifier trade.

The company, called TBOE or The Best of Everything Fine Upholstery, will work with designers specializing in hotel lobbies and suites, as well as residential designers.

Greene is president and owner.

“TBOE is a designer's dream,” said Greene, who had been in retirement since 2007 when he sold Classic Gallery, a company he founded in 1972.

“We will be specializing in completely custom-built upholstery where every detail is customer specified.”

TBOE has leased a factory at 227 Berkley St. in High Point and has a work force of 15 to 17 full-time employees in addition to part-timers — some coming out of retirement to work with Greene again and some skilled workers who have been unemployed because of job cuts.

Asked if he could handle large orders such as 200 sofas, Greene said, “Absolutely.”

Greene has furnished upholstery for the lobbies of the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago and the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condominium building in New York.

“It's jobs like this that we look for,” he said.

He said he has gotten frequent demands over the past several years for highly customized furniture that companies, including his own, “tried to steer away from” in favor of standardized versions.

“Now, most consumers who are willing to spend the money for a higher quality piece of furniture are demanding that their product be what they want it to be. We felt like we could get involved in that,” he said.

Greene said his customers will be “the traditional designers and people I've worked with for many years who are in specialized areas such as hotel work, specifiers, the store fixture folks.”

The latter includes well-merchandised stores with “a unique way of presenting their product and have an idea of what they want their store to look like. They'll have something from a magazine, or something a designer put together for them, or an antique, and want somebody to make it,” he said.

“They may want 200 for their 40 stores so it's a very lucrative business. When you get it, it's clean, and you've hit a home run,” Greene added.

The company is considering showroom space in High Point, but it's likely that it will be standalone and tailored to TBOE's customer base, he said.

The line will be represented by Keys to Design, a sales and service organization that includes Greene's youngest son, John, as a principal along with Tim Buck and Jeff Highfill.

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