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Thomas Russell

Home office adding value at High Point Market

HIGH POINT - Home office resources say they continue to do a lot of business in small footprints that don't take up a lot of floor space, yet offer plenty of function for consumers.
They also are having success with new styles, as well as new finishes and new construction elements that add value to inline groups.
Within these groups, clean lined contemporary looks are doing particularly well in terms of orders and commitments, partly due to efforts to appeal to younger and tech-savvy consumers.
Martin Home Furnishings is seeing success with its Asian-Mission-inspired Kyoto office, one of nine new groups. Retailers like the clean lines of the group and the application of ash veneers over pieces including a 54-inch writing desk, a short bookcase and room divider.
Martin also is seeing strong dealer response to its new Infinity office collection, a contemporary group featuring 48-inch writing desks, including one with a drop-down center drawer and one with a sliding top work surface and hidden storage.
Retailing from $349 to $399, the desks are impressing dealers with the contrasting white work surfaces and the solid poplar legs in a chestnut finish. They also like other functional elements such as built-in wire management. The collections also feature mobile file units and bookcases.
Another popular item is a standalone unit called the All-in-One desk, which retails at $249-$299. The 20-inch by 19.5-inch unit has a glass-top writing surface and a pull out keyboard and two drawers underneath, including a file storage drawer.
"People are happy to see such a focus on home office from us," said Gil Martin, CEO, adding that the category seems to be gaining ground with retailers who realize they cut back on floor space too quickly in the category in the last four years.
RTA specialists Z-Line Designs and Sauder also are seeing success with smaller laptop-friendly desks.
Most of Z-Line's 25 new pieces are smaller footprints that include writing desks geared toward laptop use. Many new models come without keyboard trays, a shift that reflects consumers' increasing use of laptops, as well as iPhones and iPads.
"Technology is really driving home office," said Morgan Sanzo, marketing representative, noting that half of the new items also have built-in USB ports and charging stations.
These and other smaller scale pieces have contemporary designs geared toward younger consumers.
Contemporary is also the style leader in AICO Office Systems' new Prevue collection, which has both commercial and executive home office applications. Among the popular pieces are a new secretary made with walnut veneers that retails around $900 and a mobile credenza unit with door and drawer storage that retails at $800. Dealers like the contemporary lines of the collection and the clarity of the finish on walnut veneers.
Joe Mathieu, national sales manager for AICO Office Systems, said that the company wanted to achieve similar clean-lined looks that are seen in more commercial office pieces in the division.
"We wanted to go in a more contemporary direction," he said.
AICO also is doing well with its inline Incept collection, which has a new higher sheen wood finish and other enhanced elements such as improved drawer construction.
Large scale pieces including library walls and executive desks are also doing well at resources such as Parker House, which is showing a new $1,499 to $1,699 executive desk in Corsica as well as a wall desk in the same traditional collection.
Parker House also is seeing strong commitments and orders on a new silver bronze finish that it has added to its 15-piece Venezia collection. In the new finish, the collection is called Allure. Dealers are placing orders on a new library wall being shown as well as a writing desk and large scale collector's cabinet in the collection.

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