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kmealy

Tales from the repair guy

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15 hours ago, kmealy said:

"Structural cardboard" 

 

As long as Americans are willing to buy this stuff, I'm sure the Chinese are more than willing to "build" it:(

 

That table is pretty impressive.  Wouldn't fit our home style, but really impressive.

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Cal, I gotta tell ya'...in some parts of the country (like my region) it's very hard to find some thing that isn't labeled "made in China". About 4 years ago my wife and I were looking for laminate flooring and I was convinced I wanted USA made stuff. We literally went to every flooring supplier in the area before we found it. It's even harder with Furniture. We have some Flexsteel stuff in the house which we we bought the brand 15 years ago or so, it was USA. Now their stuff is labeled Mexico (actually I don't mind that) or China (no more). I had always considered Flexsteel a solid name...no more to that as well.

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When the store was open here, Norwalk Furniture was one of my major customers, both pre-delivery and with protection plans.   While it was "Made in USA" (the factory was about 20 miles from my daughter in northern OH), I believe all the frames were imported and they were built to order (pick the fabric you want and they'd set the springs, padding, and upholster it.)

 

During the 2008 recession, the factory closed down because they got their loans and line of credit called, so they could not afford to buy materials, and since they could not buy materials, they could not produce and sell.  Catch 22.  They had another plant in the south (maybe Alabama) that the local owner told me was for sale for $1 million.  He said there was probably $4 million in equipment there, in addition to the land, building, and trained labor force.  The local store struggled for a while, bringing in some other brands.  During that time, I bought a Key City sofa from them, being US made, but think they've closed the doors now too.   Norwalk struggled to get back in business with some local government assistance, but think they eventually folded.   The local store owner decide it was time to retire, too.   

 

For a while, I did pre-delivery repair work for a small "last mile" delivery service.  I was appalled at some of that quality.   They'd get in a bedroom set of say, 5 pieces.   Four of them had problems, and often multiple places on the same piece.   And it was not all transit damage, some of it was bad when they wrapped it up.   

 

Another regular customer franchisee went bankrupt, taken over by corporate, refranchised, bankrupt again, carried a lot of Ashley.  It was probably the worst junk I've seen.  Their Dayton affiliate said 80% of their repair work was on Ashley Furniture, though it was no where near that percentage of their total sales.

 

My early, and one of my largest customers, a local independent retailer, just closed permanently after 18 years.  Going out of business sale is this weekend.   They too, had 4 stores at one time.  Lost two (both high-end, but Chinese mostly) during the 2008 cutback (a couple of years after they just opened).  Recently down to one.   Their original store was just a few hundred yards from my house at the time.   When I stopped in to introduce myself when they were setting up to open, the (naive) owner thought they would never need any of my services because their stuff (almost all from China) was so well packed.   For a long time, they were a regular customer and I'd be there one or two days a week and occasionally out to consumers' homes to repair stuff that broke. 

So, yeah, it was really hard to see anything made in USA.   China, VietNam, and Malaysia were all very common.   La-z-boy has a big factory in MI, near Detroit, but their stuff was cheapened as well.

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Our little village of maybe 7000 has 4 humongous furniture stores. All have started up within the last 10 years. The latest and largest opened in January of this year. There is only one that sells quality goods. The others compete with "Huge Truckload Sale" banners. And yes Ashley and, their ilk, proliferate. 

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We accumulated the traditional items after our marriage in the early 70s.  Nice china, silverware, and a few pieces of furniture.  Best is a solid cherry dining table and 6 chairs from Harden in central NY.  Still a beautiful set, but our son and DIL have no interest in any of it.  And used furniture doesn't seem to bring anything near its value until it becomes antique. 

 

Sad to see so many people going to the Chinese "truckload sale" stuff.

 

We do have a couple of Ashley pieces, and we were told it is USA made.

Edited by JimM
added info

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And a very finely carved, err, cast, cabriole leg.

Bad news: no way I could repair this, especially with the mounting bolts nowhere near that center post.
Good news:  Ashley shipped me a new one for $10.   Do you believe they actually had some replacements in stock!?

 

517685665_cabrioleleg.jpg.4ed61622836952fa3e12bff28fa9a655.jpg

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