Hubbingtons Blog Thoughts from the sofa

A chinese lion statue

Fall International Hope Furnishing Show

November 9th, 2018

   Twice a year all of us who own furniture stores try our best to attend the IHFC show in High Point, NC.  The whole downtown is just showroom after showroom.  Gives one a good chance to see what designers think are the trends and also to keep up on furniture gossip!

I headed down just for a day as wanted to look at an upholstery, Wesley Hall , that was available for us in Southern NH. and of course do a bit of poking around while I was there.

The show can be tough to navigate for a store like Hubbingtons.  Since we only sell better quality USA furniture,much of the show is off limits to us since so much furniture that is sold is of course imported.  But some of the import designs are good (just not the quality) so can be a good idea to walk through some of their showrooms anyway.

 

 

Since is was a quick trip ( and not perfect Fall weather) I headed up to spend some time checking out Wesley Hall. Very nice line….right up there price wise but it was obvious why.  Went to the showroom twice and the rep is coming to see us in a few weeks for a final review.  Still on the fence if you’ll see it at Hubbingtons……..

 

 

Had some time so headed over to Gat Creek.  Wonderful WV company that make transitional furniture that has a great design look with a fantastic assortment of finishes.  That’s the owner (Gat) standing next to a new bedroom introduction. Poked around a bit more and opened a new rug line (KAS) which had some cool designs made in India.  (We are an all American furniture store but have to break the rules when it comes to lighting and rugs!) .

What thoughts did I walk away with?  Well, the better mfg’s continue to come up with cool styles to try to appeal to the buyer who is ready to move out of the low end furniture but needs a good/special design and quality to substantiate the purchase.  Price is important but if a design is “super cool: it trumps price.

Been going to the show for over 30 years and good to see more and more young people (well…younger than me) walking around show and less just men in suits.  My standard outfit of jeans and sneakers finally feels at home.

 

Fall Ohio Builders Show

September 14th, 2018

With a touch of Fall in the air and a “sliver” of a new moon showing, it was time for the September Amish furniture builders show.  Always a good opportunity to see the creative ideas coming forward from the farming community of Holmes County.

I treat these shows much like visiting Disney World.  When the doors open at 7:30 I run to the back of the building and often find Amish builders still finishing their breakfast and empty booths.  Good chance for me to poke around and check things out with minimal questions from the builders.

Although mostly small family businesses, they study market trends and even hire designers to keep up with the current colors and designs.  As i go from booth to booth I’m impressed with their efforts to offer more value as they compete with all the “import junk” many buyers call furniture online today.

Let me highlight the top five differentiators:

  1. It’s the real thing. it is not a “cherry stain” or “walnut looking”. if you buy a piece in cherry wood you get cherry wood.  If the table top is 1″ thick walnut….then it is 1″ thick walnut.  Compare this with the import wood/veneer/cardboard!
  2. Color Options   Most builders will let you chose from 4-5 woods and 5-10 stains. Even matching Benjamin Moore paint is an option.  Possibly more options than most need, but makes  spending your money a bit more fun when you can get exactly what you want.
  3. Construction.  Have you ever ordered furniture online?  Lots of parts and assembly and the phrase “high quality construction”is never used.  Look at the reviews on some of the popular internet furniture sites.  Most end with something similar to:  “It was smaller and not quite the color or quality I had expected, but I guess that is okay since it was cheap.” Why not buy something you don’t have to apologize for?  Buy an Amish built piece of furniture and then have fun showing your friends.
  4. Price Small independent shops can control their overhead costs better and offer you a better price/value story….and these shops prove that.
  5. Transitional Styles I know it used to be Amish furniture had to come with “little hearts” and be built only in oak.  That was the 1970’s. I purchased some “spot on” mid-century cherry tv stands and dining tables with “cool and trendy” metal bases.  (yes, even the metal bases are USA made….some by the same builder making the tables.)

A final bonus to assist those “millennials” who have to have things yesterday….two week quick ship!!

many builders are now offering 2 week build and stain programs on popular part so their lines.  So why buy a cheap import when you can get a custom built bedroom or dining room built and delivered in 3-4 weeks?

The show finished up with the opportunity to sit with builders and their families and enjoy a dinner outside under the tent.  A reminder that buying from the Amish community is not just good business but also the opportunity to develop  good long term friendships.