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 NEW YORK, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move designed to capture a significant share of the small business office furniture market, Steelcase Inc. has created Turnstone, a new company dedicated exclusively to helping people in small businesses work more effectively. Jerry K. Myers, president and chief executive officer of Steelcase Inc., and Turnstone President James P. Hackett made the joint announcement today. Hackett, formerly senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for Steelcase Inc., has been directing this project for the past 10 months.
 "Steelcase," Myers said, "is the big furniture company with small businesses on its mind. We've identified them -- in their various industries -- as the fastest-growing business segment in the country, and we've created our own small business to meet their needs specifically."
 In making the announcement, Hackett credited his high-performance team of 13 people with creating an all-new model for office furnishings purchases: a combination of direct marketing and local service representation.
 "We believe all customers need a higher level of service in today's business climate," he said. "With Turnstone, we're bringing to small business what Steelcase has brought to the world's largest businesses for decades: ideas and products that help people work more effectively."
 Turnstone products and services are targeted to companies with fewer than 100 office workers -- and to the home office.
 "Turnstone is the first Steelcase company to market directly through a catalog," Hackett said. Small businesses will be able to select products through a catalog and place orders quickly and easily through an 800 number. Orders will be delivered in as little as 48 hours. A local Turnstone service arm will follow up on customer requests for more complex orders. The local service arm will be an arrangement between Turnstone and selected Steelcase dealers.
 "The goal is to provide a level of service unknown and unheard of in serving this market segment," Hackett said. "We will clearly leave no stone unturned."
 Hackett said Turnstone expects to reach home office workers as well through its direct marketing operation and logistics capabilities. Turnstone, he said, will bring a level of expertise to this new market which will eliminate some of the confusion that buyers experience about product needs.
 Turnstone products will be attractive, easy to use, and scaled to suit the needs of small businesses and home offices. They've been developed and sourced from a variety of companies including Steelcase.
 Key elements of Turnstone service include: knowledgeable telerepresentatives, accessible through an 800 number, to fulfill simple orders; local Turnstone representatives to help with more complex orders; delivery of orders on the customer's timetable in as little as 48 hours; availability of office furnishings for lease or for purchase; and free information on office environment issues.
 According to Hackett, Turnstone products and services are targeted at a $4 billion market segment, with a primary focus on companies in which office workers make up a high percentage of total employees. These are also industries in which employees have a high degree of customer contact, such as advertising and communications, accounting, finance, health care, legal and real estate.
 "Until now," Hackett added, "no one in the marketplace has effectively addressed the office furnishings needs of these customers. Turnstone's unique product and service package is specifically designed to provide that support." For example, Hackett said that through Turnstone a number of small businesses that have been established at home now can become "professional" home offices with easy access to quality products and consultation.
 Turnstone products and services will become available through a phased, city-by-city launch beginning in late September 1993 in Cincinnati and Atlanta.
 Steelcase Inc. is the world's leading manufacturer and designer of office furniture. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., it has manufacturing operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and serves customers throughout the world.
 Turnstone is a trademark of Steelcase Inc.
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 /CONTACT: Peter Jeff of Steelcase, 616-247-2277/

CO: Steelcase Inc.; Turnstone ST: New York, Michigan IN: SU: PDT

SB -- DE004 -- 1041 08/10/93 08:35 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1993

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