Grand Rapids Chair Co. opens new table plant

Grand Rapids Chair Co. has opened a new 28,000-square-foot plant for production of wood tables at 837 Godfrey Ave. SW, near its corporate headquarters.

According to marketing manager Maria Brummel-Schutte, the new woodworking facility is in response to an ongoing increase in table orders from Grand Rapids Chair’s health care, education, hospitality, corporate and government customers. The plant will enable the company to “dramatically expand” both the volume and variety of its table line.

The table plant is in a renovated industrial building outfitted with both new and vintage woodworking equipment, ranging from a robotic multi-access CNC router to a refurbished, 1940s-era, made-in-Grand-Rapids miter saw.

Brummel-Schutte said the new plant reflects the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Use of an existing building and refurbished vintage equipment conserves energy and material resources and reduces waste. All of the lumber used for standard solid-wood tables is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from sustainably managed forests. Tabletops are made with low-formaldehyde particleboard, and a water-based finish eliminates solvents, both of which reduce VOC emissions. The company also recycles paper and shipping skids, along with wood, aluminum and steel scraps.

“More and more of our competitors are off-shoring their manufacturing operations, but we insist on building our tables and seating products right here, using the best mix of foreign and domestic parts,” said President/CEO Dave Miller. “It gives us the ability to absolutely control material, construction, finish quality and lead times. It also plays to one of our greatest competitive strengths: the ability to customize product in almost unlimited ways.”

With the expansion, Grand Rapids Chair now has 153,000 square feet of manufacturing and administration space, and employs approximately 110 people. The company was founded in 1997.

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