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Joe Tatulli - Year 9
Strolling down the Futon Life's memory lane
Volume 9 Number 1, Spring 1997
Futon Expo 13 - Phoenix, AZ
Wolf Corporation & Futon Primer #4
The cover story on Tony Wolf's company was a real eye opener. Wolf Corporation is one of the largest garnetters of cotton in the world, as well as one of the largest manufacturers of futon mattresses in the US and Canada. This issue also saw the first of many articles by Dave Garretson, a seasoned veteran of the futon wars and also, lo and behold, a great writer. Dave started his run with a touching story about a memorial to Charlie Fiantaca erected by his futon friends in Montoursville, PA, the same town that had recently lost sixteen children in the tragic TWA crash just off the Long Island coastline.
Our fourth iteration of the Futon Primer clarified some old issues and also had a new section on the botany and characteristics of cotton fibers. This was also our largest issue ever with seventy-two action packed pages.
Volume 9 Number 2, Summer 1997
Mark Binkhorst of Burlington Futon
Mark Binkhorst and his Burlington Futon Company were our cover story. Mark started way back when (1983), and has maintained his retail operation and a wholesale, futon cover business all at the same time. He is one of the few who were able to keep both going successfully and survive. We also ran a great story by Leil Lowndes on the art of "heart to heart" selling.
Also, I finally updated my picture in the Publisher's Forum to reflect a more corporate and mature me. In reality I must admit to becoming a bit more reserved in my old age, but I still like that old picture better (the one from my college yearbook).
Volume 9 Number 3, Autumn 1997
Sean Pathiratne and Elite Furniture & Mechanisms #2, Part One
Sean Pathiratne and his team graced our cover. The story of Elite Furniture, Pathiratne's company, showed how a dynamic spirit of entrepreneurial zeal, hard work and a bit of grace in the timing could help propel a small importer into one of the major players in the futon industry.
This issue carried the second iteration of our futon frame mechanism article. It also contained an examination of the nature and durability of wood, the stuff from which futon frames are made. I learned a lot and hopefully our readers did too. By the way, I got more calls on this story than any other I had ever written.
1996 and 1997 had been good years for futon furniture, but overall business in the home furnishings futon industry was flat and in some areas it was even down. People were nervous about the future. My attitude was keep fighting and keep pumping up the volume in the areas of quality and real value. The prospect of an FAI/SSA back-to-back show in the future was resolved on a positive note. This issue also carried an obituary for Bernie Sugarman, President of Malden Novelty, who had passed away in August.
Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1997
Mark Schlichter and Mark Barton of August Lotz Wood, Mechanisms #2 Part Two & Survey #5
August Lotz makes fine, solid hardwood furniture. Thankfully it's futon furniture. Mark Schlichter and Mark Barton continue to set the standard for the industry with a line of futon frames that is second to none. We also presented a postage paid card with our fifth retail survey, the results of which are presented on page 26 of this issue (Spring 1998).
This issue (V10 N1 Spring 1998) sports the third iteration of the Futon Life masthead. We hope you all like it. This story may be a bit egocentric, but somebody had to do it. I hope you will indulge me and forgive me for being so sentimental. This futon industry, as small as it is, has been one of the defining elements (that God has used to shape) in shaping my life. Not everyone can claim they were a pioneer, and even fewer actually live to tell about it. I am privileged to be able to chronicle the history of the futon furniture industry, and God willing (Deo Valente) I will continue as long as you'll have me.