Allegan Has A Furniture Start up

June 20, 2003
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ALLEGAN — Ron Schafer said the initial turnout at NeoCon last week wasn't as big as he hoped, but that he thought it might pick up later in the week.

Schafer is president of Room2work, an office furniture manufacturing firm in Allegan which has just launched a new line of products. But he wasn't at NeoCon to exhibit.

Schafer said his business first was as an OEM supplier and that he was at NeoCon to meet exhibitors and to network.

But he couldn't stay, he said, because things at the shop are tight now.

"We're running between 50 and 75 people right now," he said, adding ruefully, "That's considerably less than a few years ago."

But nonetheless, he said Room2Work is keeping busy by fabricating a line of furniture that he has just launched because the office furniture industry downturn had chewed deeply into the supply segment of the business.

Schafer said his company can produce products in ranges as low as $300 to $500.

Thus, you're more likely to see Room2Work furniture in, say, auto dealership cubicles than in a bank's trust department. But Schafer said such markets exert demand and Room2Work is ready to fill it — and on a quick turn-around, custom basis.

"You've heard of companies which boast of building to the inch," Schafer asked.

"Well, we can build to the quarter inch if that's what somebody needs to make a fit for their office … and there's no eight-week wait or anything like that, because we have a very flexible production process."

Schafer, a graduate of Western Michigan University and a native of the Allegan area, said his firm at times can turn around custom orders in as few as 72 hours.

"We're set up to make product changes at a moment's notice," he said.

"We routinely build and ship work surfaces and tables in unique sizes and shapes, desks with laminates from other manufacturers like Wilsonart, Nevamar and Formica, and furniture with different options for drawer pulls, grommets and other hardware.

"Room2Work is about furniture that fits your business, not trying to fit your business around the furniture," he added.

"That's why we're set up to offer routinely what other companies call 'specials,' and we can often deliver them within our standard lead times."

Room2Work offers four lines of contemporary case goods and storage; two lines of traditional case goods; mobile table and conference table lines; two lines of ergonomic task seating; five lines of executive seating; four lines of task seating; a stacking chair; and two lines of traditional desk and guest seating.

Schafer said many of the firm's products ship ready-to-assemble.

He stressed, however, that files, bookcases and storage cabinets come assembled, as do all workstation pedestals.

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