Industry Updates part 3
Viking Industries Introduces the Birch Bark Log Futon Frame
Directly from Northern Minnesota, Viking Industries will debut its new Birch Bark log futon frame, “The Northland Birch,” at the Futon & Specialty Sleep Expo in Las Vegas.
These Limited Edition futon frames have birch bark log arms and front spreaders combined with solid pine bodies and rear spreaders. Like all other Viking futon frames, the Northland Birch has a front-loading mechanism and a lifetime guarantee. Log stock and frame supply are limited. Availability may be seasonal. Matching tables and accessories are also available. Look for other new and exciting products from Viking Industries in Las Vegas at booth #611.
New Futon Association International Website—Key Consumer Contact Point
(Orlando)—Consumers are visiting the Futon Association website more than ever. The FAI website, at www.futon.org focuses on connecting futon retailers and consumers online and this focus is paying great dividends in growing consumer interest in futons and futon furnishings.
“It’s all about communication and getting the word out about futon furniture products. That’s why the internet is tops,” said Futon Association President Tom Tedesco. “We are receiving 5000 to 8000 unique visitors per month. Consumers want what we have—the information on where and what to look for when shopping for futon furniture,” he said.
The FAI site contains a Retail Member Finder that lets the consumer search FAI’s retail member database by company name, state, or zip code. “Our plan from day one has been to give futon buyers searching for futon furniture an easy way to find our member retailers, and our site does just that,” Tedesco said. “The site is the best and most cost effective way to both reach and direct consumers to our member’s stores,” he said.
In the current economic climate, www.futon.org has proven to be highly valuable to members as well as consumers. The site, recently upgraded, includes a wealth of information for Association members and the trade. It has links to important futon industry events such as the upcoming Futon & Specialty Sleep EXPO in March, the Association’s financial statements, recent Board meeting notes and more. It is also the electronic hub of the prospering trade group for membership benefits, and the consumer side Retail Member Finder.
Because futon shoppers now look for versatility, fashion, and real value at retail, futon furniture is proving to be a strong player despite the current economic climate. FAI is prepared for this growth. Said Tedesco, “With a winning website, a popular show in Las Vegas and the Federal Government putting dollars into consumer pockets with proposed tax cuts, 2003 will be a great year for the home furnishings industry.”
Futon Life Web Site Tops All Search Engines
FutonLife.com internet dominance continues as thousands visit the site every month. “We are very gratified that the top five search engines list us either number one or two for the key word "futon" said publisher Joe Tatulli.
During a recent search test survey the site (www.futonlife.com) came in #1 on Yahoo, Google, and AOL and #2 on MSN and Lycos. “This allows us to offer e-tailers a real opportunity to get their products in front of consumers looking for information and buying options on line,” Tatulli said.
The site first went on line in October of 1996. By 2000 the site was garnering ten thousand unique visitors and thirty thousand page views. Today the site is seeing twenty thousand plus visits and page views in the sixty to seventy thousand range per month.
“We decided from day one to be the hub of the futon world on the internet and we have achieved that goal and then some,” said Tatulli. The site has recently added an animated frame assembly instruction section where consumers can learn how to put their hand me down frames together.
Fourth Generation Leadership Roles For Family-Owned Handy Button Manufacturing
Michael L. Baritz, 50, has been elected president and chief executive officer of Handy Button Machine Corporation, from executive vice president-chief operating officer. Handy Button is a leading manufacturer of metal stampings, assemblies and plastic molded items for the furniture, apparel, automotive and other industries, headquartered in Melrose Park, Illinois. Baritz is a great-grandson of Morris Perlman, who co-founded the Chicago-based company in 1898.
Another great-grandson, Kenneth P. Shonfeld, 34, has been promoted from vice president-marketing and sales to executive vice-president-chief operating officer, to focus on strategic, as well as marketing and sales areas. Shonfeld’s father, Willard L. Shonfeld, 71, moves to chairman from president-chief executive officer, a post he has held since 1995.
“Two hallmarks of Handy’s survival are its loyal employees and intelligent leadership,” said Michael Baritz. “In his seven years as president and CEO, Bill Shonfeld faced difficult decisions relating both to consolidation and acquisition. During his presidency, Handy closed several manufacturing and sales facilities. On the other hand, in 2002 the company acquired Kenlin Enterprises, a source of functional and decorative hardware for manufacturers of residential and contract furniture. Because of these actions, Handy is in an admirable position.”
Handy Button is a family-owned business with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Melrose Park, Illinois, at 1750 N. 25th Street, Melrose Park, IL 60610. www.handybutton.com