Where did it all go? Well
Industry Updates
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Part 1


"With attendance down at this year's Futon Expo in New Orleans, it was refreshing to experience the busy traffic in our booth," said August Lotz president Mark Schlichter. He added that people weren't ooo-ing and ahh-ing over what they did see, but rather what they didn't see - and what they didn't see on the all new August Lotz "Convertible Sofa" line was hardware and seat decks. Where did it all go? Well, several revolutionary production techniques now allow the seat deck to be hidden behind the front rail, and the assembly hardware to become "invisible" - giving these units a true sofa look and feel with the ability to convert into a futon sleeper - "hence the repositioning of the name," Schlichter said.
August Lotz has always been considered the premier source for the highest quality futon frames at a price that was in line with the quality. With the introduction of an all new metal futon frame with a no sag spring system and the domestic wood frames (both retail at $249 and up) August Lotz' product line has come full circle - offering high quality American made futon frames at a lower price point.
New Orleans was the venue of another introduction for August Lotz - that of Sales Manager Chris Kulwicki. Reporting to Mark Schlichter, his responsibilities will include: managing the sales force, developing sales tools, and working with major furniture retailers. "Chris's experience is a perfect fit for where we need to go," said Schlichter. "I learned several things at the Futon Expo," said Kulwicki. "One was that futon dealers want to trade up to a quality product that they can make money with. Another is that some of the conventional furniture retailers have successfully experimented with convertible sleepers and see them as a very viable product. One that will continue to grow in importance." Kulwicki went on to say, "The opportunity that this company and industry have with these furniture stores is phenomenal. I am very excited to be part of it.".


"Our new Ash and Alder futon frame is steadily gaining popularity among retailers," said Akim Azad of Zad Design and Manufacturing. "We recognized the importance of well-made products for the futon industry, and have been working hard to produce them," he said. Zad's futon frames claim a superior mechanism as well as the control and consistency of quality gained by producing everything at one-site in Oxnard, California. "By doing this our dealers benefit from on-time delivery, and consistency of product quality," he said.
The Company also now offers POP material to its dealers that emphasizes the real value of futon furniture, and also offers effective sales training for sales associates. For more information stop by at booth #172 at the San Francisco Design and Furnishing show.


A new promotionally-priced futon frame, new imported oak arms, and the re-introduction of the Art Deco style "Manhattan" futon frame have been added to Island Futon Company's fall line-up, Island VP & GM Sam Leone announced.
"The new 'Stowe' futon frame-which contains a flip top storage arm and side magazine rack-rounds out the Island Futon line," he said.
Island is a leading importer of hardwood futon frames featuring the "E-Z Open" front conversion system, "Tuff Pak" packaging, the successful 18-Step Quality Assurance Program, in-store point of sale aids, and shipping points from Chicago, California, Florida and Connecticut.
With the exception of the new oak lines, the company uses a super hard teakwood - like wood called Nyatoh that resists splitting and cracking.
"The company's new 'Saratoga' features a massive imported oak arm at extremely competitive price points, and the 'Rockport' is a promotional futon frame made from a non-Nyatoh lightweight wood to compete on price and value," Leone said.
Island continues to innovate products and services and has been stressing quality-control from production to delivery. Retailers are also provided with sales materials such as the nine page Sales Education Manual, and are invited to visit the company's website.

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