Home Depot Aims High with Thomasville Cabinetry
The home improvement giant licenses one of the best-known names in furniture to be its flagship cabinetry line.
By Hannah Miller
Thomasville Furniture Ind. is putting the weight of its name and reputation behind the Thomasville Cabinetry line being introduced at Home Depot stores. Shelley Peters, manager of brand licensing for Thomasville Furniture, says the company decided to license its name for a cabinet line with Home Depot because, âIt seemed natural for a great name in furniture to also be associated with great cabinetry.â
Spokesmen for the venerable Thomasville, NC-based furniture maker say in addition to reaping royalties from sales of the licensed Thomasville Cabinetry, they expect to win new customers for the companyâs furniture through cross promotions with Home Depot.
Under the agreement, Thomasville, a subsidiary of Furniture Brands International, maintains full control over product development and quality standards for the cabinets. Home Depot tabbed two of its major cabinet suppliers to manufacture Thomasville Cabinetry products. Frame cabinets are being made by American Woodmark of Winchester, VA. Millâs Pride of Waverly, OH, a division of Masco Corp., is manufacturing frameless cabinets for the new line.
Just as Thomasville Furniture caters to the mid-high to high-end market, Thomasville Cabinetry is aimed at Home Depotâs more affluent customers.
According to Barbara Koller, Home Depotâs national product manager for merchandising, âThe Thomasville line of cabinetry will be our flagship decor brand â adding to and enriching the Home Depot shopping experience.â
Making a Splash
By working with Home Depot, Thomasville instantly met the challenge of finding an expansive distribution channel to market its 97-year-old name to cabinet buyers. The rollout of Thomasville Cabinetry to all 1,100 U.S. and Canadian Home Depot stores began in October 2000, with a formal introduction at Thomasvilleâs kitchen and bath showroom during the International Home Furnishings Market.
Home Depot, which generated sales of $40 billion in 2000, plans to have 1,900 stores in the United States and Canada by the end of 2003.
A âFurniture Feelâ
Mitch Scott, vice president of customer service and corporate communications for Thomasville Furniture, observes, âThomasville Cabinetry has more of a âfurniture feelâ to it and allows our furniture customers to extend the same sense of fashion Thomasville Furniture is noted for into new areas of the home.â
Woods used include maple, oak, hickory and cherry; white and color decorative laminates are available as well. A variety of design elements can be combined to produce 25 different door profiles, which when mixed and matched with the different wood finish and laminate options proliferates into some 70 door style choices.
Thomasville Furniture decided against having the cabinets match specific collections of its furniture lines, Peters says. Noting that consumers have eclectic tastes, she says, âWe donât think they want a perfect-match effect.â
Peters also notes that in some cases it would be impractical to duplicate looks because a finish that works out great for furniture sometimes does not work so well with cabinets, and vise versa. The companyâs goal is for its furnishings and licensed cabinets to complement each other.
Other features available in the cabinets include accent doors in wicker, pressed tin, lattice and several kinds of designer glass; crown mouldings; wine storage cabinets; lazy Susans; wooden peg pot racks; and a wide assortment of functional and designer hardware. All of the drawers are dovetailed and come with full-extension slides.
The cabinets are to be available for delivery within four weeks of the order date. They will either be installed by Home Depot crews or a customerâs privately hired contractor. Any customer complaints will be handled by Home Depot. The chainâs reputation for customer service was one of the reasons Thomasville agreed to work with the home improvement giant, Peters says.
No licensing agreements other than cabinetry are currently being contemplated, Peters says. âWeâre so focused on making this a success.â
Cross Promotion Plans
Through photographs and samples displayed on in-store flip boards, the sales centers show off ideas for room decors for the various styles of cabinets. In a back-page tie-in, Thomasville Cabinetry sales brochures showcase Thomasville Furnitureâs products that complement each of the cabinet collections. The headline reads, âIn the Thomasville traditionâ and the text ties Thomasville Furnitureâs reputation in craftsmanship, style and detail to the cabinets bearing its name.
The idea, Peters says, âis to instantly reinforce that this is the Thomasville you know and love.â
Promoting the furniture-cabinet family is a two-way street for Thomasville. Retailers selling Thomasville furniture are being asked to make information cards about the cabinets available to their customers.
âOur stores fully expect to refer customers to Home Depot for cabinetry,â says Peters. âWe know weâre going to get a lot of crossover (sales). Itâs great for both partners.â
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