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Furniture outlet expands its scope.

Byline: Ilene Aleshire The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - Ethan Allen is expanding its reach, from furnishing people's homes to also offering furniture and design services to businesses, said Don Hescheles, owner of the Ethan Allen store at 3150 Gateway Loop.

"We're going into another area of the furniture business ... restaurants, hotels, health spas, country clubs, golf courses, doctors' offices, businesses of all size," he said.

"This is something we were not able to do in the past because we weren't fully warranted - if furniture went into a commercial setting, it did not have a full warranty," he said. But, a few months ago, he said, the company decided to also offer full warranties on furniture used commercially.

"The quality of our furniture has always been excellent," Hescheles said, "They decided, 'We know it will stand the test of the time, we know that we can warranty it, we know that it will last.' "

Ethan Allen was founded about 80 years ago and manufactures furniture, which is then sold through about 280 Ethan Allen stores called design centers. Roughly half of the stores are company owned and half are owned by independent retailers such as Hescheles, who has been in business here about 20 years.

On the commercial side, the local store will offer "just about everything from soup to nuts - sofas, chairs, desk lamps, accessories, area rugs, pictures," he said, as well as helping customers design their space, with the assistance of graduate students in design from Oregon State University, who will be on the store's staff.

For example, Hescheles said, "For hotels, we would be able to do the whole project - beds, box springs and mattress, sheets, pillowcases, entertainment units, chairs." There will be literally thousands of combinations of styles and materials available to commercial customers through the store, catalog center and Internet, he said.

Hescheles sees Ethan Allen's move into the commercial market as long overdue, and most likely prompted by the recession. "I think it's the economy, you have to think outside the box, think what do you do well and what can you do that you're not currently doing."

He also said he sees the move as offering a good chance for growth. First, there are fewer furniture stores offering commercial products than residential. One telephone directory for Lane County lists seven office furniture stores, compared with 30 residential stores.

And, Hescheles said, "In our community, I see the commercial side growing, a lot of new buildings going up, new office buildings, new infrastructure at UO, LCC, downtown. These are all prospects for us, this is an exciting opportunity."
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Title Annotation:Business; Ethan Allen will offer outfitting and design services to businesses
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 21, 2011
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