GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Kindel Furniture Co. is merging with The Taylor Co. and its subsidiaries.
The result will be a more diversified Kindel parent corporation that will serve the fine furniture and wood components industries worldwide. Plans call for Kindel to move its manufacturing operations into the more moden and better equipped Taylor facility.

Known for American craftsmanship, bench assembly, hand carving and classic design, Kindel, a 109-year-old company, is the last remaining manufacturer of residential case goods in Grand Rapids, once the nation's home furniture capital. Taylor company was started in 1969 in Grand Rapids and manufactures wooden and veneered components to Kindel and other furniture manufacturers.

The merged companies will offer four major branded product lines under the Kindel parent corporation: Kindel and its brands, The Taylor Co., Taylor Millwork and the Superior Furniture Co. brand that The Taylor Co. acquired in 2009.

James Fisher, 64, current CEO of Kindel and executive vice president of the Fisher Properties of Indiana Inc., based in Muncie, IN, will remain on board as chairman of the new Kindel corporation. John Van Zee, 54, president and co-owner of The Taylor Co. will serve as president/CEO and become co-owner of Kindel after the companies merge.

"This is textbook example of how two companies with complementary business structures can merge to create a much stronger corporation," Fisher said. "Kindel is providing the reputation earned over the past 109 years, experience and techniques of old-world craftsmanship, designs and licenses, and customer relationships. The Taylor Co. is contributing advanced techniques in woodworking and modern business methods that will make Kindel much more 'custom capable,' which is the inescapable trend in fine furniture buying today."

Fisher explained that while Kindel has embraced lean manufacturing techniques during the past two years, it still relied on some manufacturing processes that constrained it from easily customizing orders and scheduling appropriate lead times. The Taylor Co. has developed proprietary methods of building furniture components to order through the use of computer numerically controlled routers and other automated equipment.

"The Taylor Co. methods will only enhance what people value in Kindel furniture," Van Zee said. "We will be using computerized machining methods on many components to ensure accuracy and precision while maintaining the Kindel heritage that includes hand carving, and decorating, luxurious upholstered details and fine finishing." Fisher and Van Zee expect the new company to reap significant benefits from the merger of Kindel and The Taylor Co. by consolidating manufacturing spaces and applying modern business methods to Kindel.

Over the next few months, Kindel will move manufacturing operations from its multi-story, 170,000-square-foot facility  into the single level, 92,000-square-foot building that the Taylor company occupies.  Van Zee said that The Taylor Co. has continually invested in precision automated equipment used in processing wood. Kindel currently employs 83 full and part-time people, and The Taylor Co. currently employs about 64 full-time people.

Van Zee said that while it is early in the integration process, he expects there will be consolidation of the positions that will reduce that total number of full-time and part-time employees at the merged company, but it is undetermined at this point what the total number of employees will be. He said the company will try to retain workers wherever possible.

Read Kindel Furniture's press release.

 View Kindel Furniture's 109-year timeline.

Kindel's Winterthur collection is
representative of the the company's
classical stylings.

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