Trendway: Off The Beaten Path
Noticeably absent from this year’s NeoCon convoy was the semi-trailer of Holland-based Trendway Corp., which this year opted out of the Merchandise Mart in favor of a spot in the former Clairol building across the street.
“One of the main reasons we made this move is that during the other 362 days of the year that aren’t NeoCon, the Mart is just not as accessible as this space will be,” said Trendway President and COO Mark Groulx.
Rather than squeezing into a permanent showroom on one of the Mart’s upper levels, Trendway has invested in a 6,800-square-foot showroom at 325 N. Wells, overlooking the Chicago River with an 80-foot waterfront deck.
Groulx said he had no concerns about not being part of NeoCon. The company still held court to convention-goers last week, including a Monday night launch party. The decrease in traffic had little effect, he argued, as only those with high interest in the company would seek out the showroom.
Fresh off its announcement of a gradual conversion to employee-ownership, Trendway trumpeted two new launches: Stowaway stackable seating and the Intrinsic filing and storage line.
The Intrinsic line continues the global sourcing strides Trendway made through its partnership with POSH Office Systems Ltd. of Hong Kong. It will be manufactured in China, and finished and assembled in Holland. The domestic growth from the offshore sourcing has enabled the company to add a second shift in Holland.
“There are positives and negatives to buying from China,” Groulx said. “You get a cost advantage, but you’re limited on thing like colors, for example. We get around that by doing the finishing here.”
This month also marks the introduction of Trendway’s “On Time Or Free” campaign. The company has a 99.95 percent on-time delivery ratio and did not miss a deadline in the first quarter of the year.