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, “It seemed natural for a great name in furniture to also be associated with great cabinetry.”

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 company’s 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. Mill’s Pride of Waverly, OH, a division of Masco Corp., is manufacturing frameless cabinets for the new line.

 

     
     
   
  Part of Thomasville Cabinetry’s Estate Collection, these Lineage Maple cabinets have solid, raised-panel square doors and are shown here in a spice finish. Rice paper glass accent doors, crown moulding atop call cabinets and a “floating” server created from wall cabinets and the countertop give the cabinets a distinctive look.  

Just as Thomasville Furniture caters to the mid-high to high-end market, Thomasville Cabinetry is aimed at Home Depot’s more affluent customers.

According to Barbara Koller, Home Depot’s national product manager for merchandising, “The Thomasville line of cabinetry will be our flagship decor brand — adding to and enriching the Home Depot shopping experience.”

Making a Splash

Home Depot, based in Atlanta, pursued the license agreement after its consumer research identified Thomasville as the number one brand in home furnishings and found that 95 percent of consumers believe quality, name-brand kitchen cabinets would add value to their home.

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 Thomasville’s 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 ’Furniture Feel’

Thomasville is dubbing the cabinets “semi-custom” and estimates that the cost for furnishing a 10-foot by 10-foot kitchen with its cabinets will run between $2,000 and $4,000. The initial Thomasville Cabinetry line consists of four “lifestyles collections.” They include Meadow, a country look; City Space, contemporary; Estate, traditional; and Courtyard, European influenced.

Mitch Scott, vice president of customer service and corporate communications for Thomasville Furniture, observes, “Thomasville Cabinetry has more of a ‘furniture feel’ 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.”

 

     
     
   
    Beveled flat-paneled doors distinguish Cologne, cabinetry for contemporary tastes. It is shown here in arctic white. Zenith glass accent doors and angled crown moulding are featured.

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, “We don’t think they want a perfect-match effect.”

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 company’s 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 customer’s privately hired contractor. Any customer complaints will be handled by Home Depot. The chain’s reputation for customer service was one of the reasons Thomasville agreed to work with the home improvement giant, Peters says.

 

     
     
   
  North Cove Oak cabinets, in a natural finish, have clear glass mullion accent doors, a wooden pegged cup rack, crown moulding atop the wall cabinets and decorative plate rack display cabinets. They are part of the Meadow Collection.  

No licensing agreements other than cabinetry are currently being contemplated, Peters says. “We’re so focused on making this a success.”

Cross Promotion Plans

Each of Home Depot’s home improvement stores will prominently display sample kitchens and merchandising materials showing the extensive line of Thomasville Cabinetry styles that clearly draw a connection to Thomasville furniture.

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 Furniture’s products that complement each of the cabinet collections. The headline reads, “In the Thomasville tradition” and the text ties Thomasville Furniture’s reputation in craftsmanship, style and detail to the cabinets bearing its name.

The idea, Peters says, “is to instantly reinforce that this is the Thomasville you know and love.”

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.

“Our stores fully expect to refer customers to Home Depot for cabinetry,” says Peters. “We know we’re going to get a lot of crossover (sales). It’s great for both partners.”

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.