Demographics are continuing to drive wood products growth not inhomebuilding, but in healthcare, and some of the largest names in the contractbusiness are making sure they are in a position to get their share.

We saw an increasing emphasis on healthcare at the annual NeoConoffice and contract exhibition.

In May, Steelcase rebranded its healthcare division from Nurtureby Steelcase to Steelcase Health, and also renamed Steelcase EducationSolutions to Steelcase Education. The company is recognizing its confidence inboth markets, expectation of continued growth and investment in infrastructure.

It’s not just the biggest companies. Artone Manufacturing Co.Inc., which is marking its 40th anniversary this year, has Cooltree,which is focused on the marketing and selling of medical products the companyproduces.

There are also many suppliers that are keeping busy servingthese brand-name companies. Our visit to Ralph’s Frame Works was driven bytheir investments in technology and is detailed in this issue.

This company, in the furniture capital of High Point, makeshardwood furniture frames and components forhospitality, residential, institutional, and health care furnituremanufacturers. Their niche in the furniture industry is the ability to providehigh quality, exposed wood frames with the use of CNC technology.

Healthcare and hospitality are creating many of theopportunities. Imports don’t work well in the contract business,  Ralph’s can deliver in only four to sixweeks. China’s success has been in casegoods, not in upholstery, and there isstill a lot of upholstery work in High Point.

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