Custer, Steelcase Bid Stands

May 23, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Finance Committee last week rejected the protest of an office furniture bid that was awarded to Custer Workplace Interiors and Steelcase Inc. earlier this month.

Custer and Steelcase won the award in early May by coming in with the lowest bid of $1.9 million to supply office furniture for the new $27 million Department of Human Services complex the county will construct on the southeast side of Grand Rapids.

DBI Inc., an office furniture retailer based in Lansing, and Haworth Inc. had the second-lowest bid of $2.1 million. DBI President George Snyder contested the award to Custer and Steelcase on two basic counts. Snyder said Custer’s bid was artificially low for the products and services required in the bid specifications. He also claimed the furniture Custer listed in its bid wouldn’t meet the county’s needs across 14 points.

County staff from the purchasing division and the facilities management department and architects from Design Plus, which is designing the new DHS building, reviewed the DBI challenge and decided that none of the points Snyder made constituted a breach of the bid requirements.

“Each one of those points has been gone over thoroughly, and Steelcase is going to meet them,” said Jon Denhof, county purchasing manager.

“The differences are not in the material standards, but in the design standards,” added Denhof. “The (Steelcase) furniture meets state standards.”

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