CHICAGO —

Haworth Inc. announced this morning at NeoCon that it is purchasing healthcare furniture manufacturer Legacy Furniture Group, based in North Carolina.

The acquisition is the first move into this market niche for the Holland, MI-based contract furniture giant.

Haworth to purchase Legacy Furniture health care firmLegacy manufactures waiting room seating, sleeper recliners, exam room tables and cabinets, and other related products. Founded in 2002, the family-owned  Conover, NC-based company also offers products for the institutional and hospitality markets. Company President Todd Norris will continue to lead Legacy after the acquisition.

Todd James, Haworth's global vice president of sales, noted that the two companies' product offerings will complement each other. Haworth is an acknowledged leader in the design and manufacturing of office furniture and workspaces, including systems furniture, seating, storage and wood casegoods. Family-owned and privately held, Haworth serves markets in more than 120 countries through a global network of 600 dealers. The company had net sales of $1.21 billion in 2010.

The acquisition of Legacy now puts Haworth on the same playing field with competitors Steelcase and Herman Miller, who entered the healthcare market in recent years. The Grand Rapids-based Steelcase moved into the healthcare market in 2006, with the launch of Nurture by Steelcase. Zeeland, MI-based Herman Miller entered a few years later, with the 2009 acquisition of Nemschoff Healthcare Furniture of Sheboygan, WI. Late last year Herman Miller also announced plans to build a $11 million healthcare furniture factory in Holland, MI, where Haworth is headquartered, and has since announced plans to invest $2.3 million to convert its Greenhouse facility into a customer showroom for healthcare products.

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