Wood vendor adds ‘softer’ category

ONTARIO, Calif. — Case products and occasional retailer Chromcraft is expanding its product scope with comprehensive recliner line that offers wide range of power and functional options to expand into the hot motion segment.

soft launch of the new “Comfort in Motion” system is scheduled for the upcoming Las Vegas Market at the World Market Center’s A-547 showroom in Chromcraft, with bigger presentation on the way to the April High Point Market.

Most chairs are to be built in the 400,000-square-foot Chromcraft factory in Sardis, Miss., using combination of imported and domestic materials. They will be available in wide range of custom made fabrics, including breathable performance fabrics and leathers from Brisa.

The program offers customers chance to build chair for good-better-best story from simple recliner, to chair with different levels of choices and power on the same silhouette.

“For our Zip system, we will also have a married fabric to frame offering which will be designed overseas and warehoused in Sardis,” said Robert Halsten, vice president of marketing and merchandising, Chromcraft. Comfort in Motion, he added, “is based on a good-better-best presentation. We’re going to start with several chairs that are not powered. We then enter power chairs with one, two, three, and four motors each with a variety of features and functions.

Retails start at $399 to $499 for manual recliners and run to $2,000 for four-power lift recliners.

“In Las Vegas, we are going to have at least 18 pictures,” Halsten said. Those will demonstrate all the available power and feature choices in the system.

Comfort in Motion includes an imported line available for quick-ship through the Zip program of Chromcraft, in addition to the domestically built goods. Warehoused in Mississippi, this section starts with six individual chair frames in three silhouettes and two fabrics for each. Zip shipping will start in March, with domestic production beginning to ship shortly after the market in April.

“We’re adding a fourth silhouette to the Zip program in April, so we’re already expanding that,” Halsten said.

A natural move

Motion and recliners represent a highly competitive category, but Chromcraft feels it can bring new value to the business.

“It’s hot, and it’s growing,” Halsten said. “There are so many people out there who’ve gotten into it, and we want to figure out how we can do it better. Motion always was an element of our dining business, and it’s an easier move for us than someone who might have been doing only case goods.”

David Urbanick, who recently joined Chromcraft as vice president of sales for all divisions and worked with Halsten years ago in retail at Marshall Fields, had some thoughts on how Chromcraft can “do it better.”

“I’m new to the company, but I’ve seen the comfort that Chromcraft has brought to dining, and it’s natural thing to bring that comfort from casual dining into motion,” Urbanick said. “We have trademarked seating scheme that we will introduce, UltraFoam, as well as some special features.”

These include Yoga Flexx, trademarked function that works with the lumbar support to engage an oscillating movement with the push of button to stretch the spine gently and comfortably; Zero Gravity Plus, an enhanced zero-gravity system that can maintain constant seating position while placing the feet above the head for better circulation; and an exclusive handheld controller.

“We’re very excited about our hand-held,” Urbanick added. “We have a state-of-the art controller with an LCD display and animated graphics of a person moving positions.”

Chromcraft sees only growth ahead for motion.

“As America ages, health and comfort enhancements are more important than ever,” Urbanick said. “We’re going to look at the consumer and help solve their problems with an eye toward health benefits and helping them to relax in their home.”