Nappanee, IN — Ola Yoder, chief executive officer of Kountry Wood Products, purchased Borkholder Furniture intent on not only restoring the company’s reputation as a respected manufacturer of quality, solid wood furniture, but to capitalize on consumers’ increasing interest in American-made products. Three years later, the company is on the cusp of a renaissance, and Yoder has tapped industry sales and marketing veteran Tom Halvorsen to lead its revitalization as vice president.
While the domestic furniture business has been dominated by imports in recent years, Yoder first noted a growing demand for American-made products in the kitchen cabinet arena, where for the past 16 years he has been successfully growing market share for parent company Kountry Wood Products.
“Made-in-America is coming back big-time, and we’re seeing it among consumers across the country, as well as among younger buyers,” Yoder relates. “There is a growing desire for products of lasting quality. We are a wood company and we love woodworking and we’ve been very successful in building quality domestic products in our cabinet manufacturing business. Now, we’re translating what we have learned there into our furniture business. I’m very excited about building on Borkholder’s rich heritage with an eye toward tomorrow, and Tom’s extensive furniture industry experience, specifically in better-end wood furniture, will be a big plus in helping Borkholder as we move forward.”
Halvorsen has spent the better part of his career focused on the sales and marketing of better-end furniture. The executive got his start in the business at Action/Lane as a manager in national accounts and contract sales during that company’s heyday in the mid-‘80s, moving to Stanley Furniture in 1990, and later Bernhardt Furniture and Pennsylvania House Furniture, all in senior sales and marketing positions. Most recently, he led growth efforts at West Bros Furniture as vice president of sales and marketing, with a similar role at Calvin Klein Furniture.
“At this point in my career, my focus is on making a difference,” Halvorsen says. “Borkholder makes investment-quality furniture in solid cherry, oak and maple, for bedroom, dining room and occasional that represents a real value for consumers. That fact alone would have attracted me to the company, but one of the things that Ola said that really struck me was that he wants Borkholder to be the best furniture company that there is. He didn’t qualify that by saying the best Amish furniture company, because he’s not interested in being pigeon-holed in any way. Instead, his intent is to build on the best of the company’s heritage in terms of quality product and the craftsmanship of its skilled, second and third-generation artisans. But in our bid to take this company into the future successfully, we’re also going to improve its processes, and selectively expand distribution, as well as develop new products and categories that fit our niche and expertise that are more reflective of how consumers live today.”
“We believe that there are ways to make a company successful while maintaining your values and integrity,” Yoder says “and our goals for Borkholder are simple: Ship on time, ship complete, and satisfy the customer with good quality at a fair price.”
“Everyone is very hands-on and responsive to dealers and vendors,” Halvorsen says. “I’m not sure whether it’s a cultural thing, or just because it’s the right way to do business, but the bottom line is that Borkholder is a company with a clear appreciation and understanding of where it has been and where we want to go. It really is very simple.”
About Borkholder Furniture:
Founded by Freemon Borkholder more than three decades ago in Nappanee, Indiana, Borkholder Furniture today continues its tradition of producing solid wood bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture built by skilled craftspeople in family-owned and operated Amish workshops, sold via better-end furniture retailers across the country. The company maintains to-the-trade showrooms in Las Vegas and High Point, NC.
Source: Borkholder Furniture
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