Arbek selling assets

Powell Slaughter, Staff Staff, September 30, 2002

Case goods manufacturer and importer Arbek Furniture is in the process of selling off its assets after ceasing operations last month.

Carlos Morales, co-founder and president of the 20-year-old company, said that he and his partner, co-founder and vice president Daniel Torres, had held on to the business as long as they could in hopes of an upturn in the industry.

"Within the last two years, we had some significant finishing problems that we hadn't recovered from," Morales said. "On top of that, the industry has been in a slowdown and it hasn't improved in time to give us the boost we needed."

Arbek is selling its assets through an out-of-court liquidation. Morales said the company is liquidating inventory to existing customers and will seek a buyer for its 200,000-square-foot plant, warehouse and offices here.

Morales and Torres founded Arbek in 1982, starting with custom children's furniture. After beginning to market its own line and adding master bedroom, Arbek scored big in 1987 with the Grand-view bedroom. Its hidden and visible storage features remained a focus for Arbek as it grew.

In 1998, the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young named Arbek its manufacturing entrepreneur of the year for California's Inland Empire region.

Morales said he and Torres hope to remain in the furniture industry after tying up Arbek's business.

"We feel we've established a good reputation in the industry, and that when the right thing comes along our customers will want to work with us," he said. "After 20 years (with Arbek) we obviously regret that this happened, but we kept it going as long as we could.... I don't think we failed so much as we ran out of time."

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