July 2, 2021 | Bill Esler
New Haven, IN—Sauder Woodworking will lease a production facility in New Haven, IN, its first satellite manufacturing operation out of state as it hunts for workers to serve its growing business.
Furniture Today reports that the plant—a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility built on spec by a developer—is expected to begin production in September, for the first time giving Sauder access to a larger labor pool not available around the town where it’s headquartered, Archbold, OH. CEO Kevin Sauder says the company looked at Toledo as well, but settled on New Haven, near Fort Wayne, IN and about an hour west of Archbold.
“We have been struggling to grow our domestic employee base in Archbold,” Sauder told Furniture Today.
“It is a good size for what we are going to make there,” Sauder says. “It is our first foray into satellite production where we have a hub and spoke to share some services but use a bigger labor market for the labor pool.” It will also help 2,500-employee Sauder Woodworking keep up with its export business, now a third of Sauder’s volume. Production from the 50-employee Indiana plant will ship to Archbold for packaging and fulfillment.
Sauder will need even more capacity, as it returned to the furniture industry’s High Point Market in North Carolina after a nearly 19-month absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sauder says it pursued a strategy to expand the appeal of its brand by doubling new product development despite a year of shutdowns, social distancing, quarantines, and work from home.
“We’ve introduced more than 350 open line products in the past 12 months, with hundreds of additional items planned for rollout the balance of 2021,” says Mike Lambright, Sauder’s senior director of marketing. “Due to high demand, some of these items have gone in and out of stock, but it’s been a dedicated, intentional effort to continue manufacturing items in popular styles that consumers crave.”
These efforts range from quaint farmhouse credenzas to modern, minimalist desks and dressers. Sauder showed a mix of more than 300 items representing its newest collections and finishes in its 15,000-sq.-ft. space. Trending styles such as modern farmhouse, country, mid-century modern, industrial, and contemporary were on display June 5-9 at Sauder Woodworking’s High Point Market display.
“We’ve all been staring at the furniture in our homes for the past year, which has prompted many consumers to purchase upgrades or never-before-needed furniture,” says Lambright.
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