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Thomas Russell

'Home office' redefined at High Point Market

HIGH POINT - Home office vendors are having success at the High Point Market this week as they continue to design the category for various areas of the home, from the living room and den to the bedroom.
The strategy is resulting in strong order writing in a category that has seen its share of challenges due to the use of new technologies such as laptops and iPads.
These devices make it just as easy to work at the kitchen table or counter. But many resources are bringing out new alternatives for working at home through a series of stylish writing desks, file cabinets and bookcases.
Hooker Furniture is reporting success with its Workwell concept, which offers 11 writing desks and companion file cabinets. Dealers like the styling of the desks, which range from 42 to 64 inches. Retail is $1,100 for a 54-inch version and $1,500 for the 64-inch model.
They also like the versatility of the line, which can work as easily in a living room as a dedicated office space.
"You have to address the way people are living today and to their work styles," said Kim Shaver, vice president of marketing communications. "Retailers are responding to that."
West Bros. says it's doing well with Workspace Designs by Blake Tovin, a line of solid wood desks and bookcases. The pieces, which are extensions of the company's Serra, Phase and Arris collections, also are seeing strong response this week due to their versatility.
"It is really a nice add-on business," said Tom Halvorsen, vice president of sales and marketing. "This is furniture that complements the home, but that also has an office application."
Other home office resources doing well this market include BDI, Whalen Furniture and Martin Furniture.
Martin is seeing renewed interest in its line after the company ceased its bedroom program earlier this year to focus primarily on home office and entertainment, said company CEO Gil Martin.
Martin reports success in a variety of footprints ranging from its casual transitional seven-piece Point Reyes office group to its Kensington executive office group, which features a 68-inch executive desk at $999 retail, as well as a credenza and deck, a two-drawer lateral file unit, a 60-inch writing desk at $599 and an L-desk configuration.
Dealers like the Art Deco and Biedermeier design influences of Kensington and the casual design of Point Reyes, which is made with acacia veneers and features a $599 three-quarter pedestal desk, a $449 standing desk and a three-drawer file cabinet.
While the standing desk has received softer response than some of the other pieces, officials note it has applications in many different room settings, including the kitchen.
Whalen said it's doing well with its new Canterbury collection, which features a 60-inch writing desk at $399, a mini hutch unit and a three-drawer file unit. It is shown with a credenza, which helps dealers envision how it looks in an L configuration. Dealers like the versatility of the group as well as the contrasting black finish on the desk and the multiple shades of brown finishes on the drawer fronts.
The company is also doing well with two versions of a new $599 drop-lid desk that offer plenty of drawer and door storage. Behind the door is a file cabinet. Behind the drop lid are charging stations and USB ports along with a place to store a laptop.
The company also continues to do well with some of its executive office suites. However, many of these are no longer the typical 72-by-36-inch desk footprint, but instead 60-by-30-inch footprints geared to smaller monitors and smaller rooms, said David Wiese, vice president of sales and marketing.
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