Arnold's Office Furniture

Arnolds Office FurnitureAfter 88 years, Arnold’s Office Furniture aims to double its growth in the next five years. By Bianca Herron

Although known as Arnold’s Office Furniture today, immigrants David and Rose Norman founded their company as Norman’s Stationery Company in 1929. Their son, Arnold, joined the family business and started selling office furniture in 1950. He took over in 1973, renamed the company, and ran it until 2005, when he sold it to Jay Berkowitz.

Twelve years later, Jay and his son, Jordan, have grown Arnold’s into a nationwide provider of new and used office furniture based out of Bridgeport, PA.

“We went from having all of our customers come from foot traffic, to having 75 percent from the internet, 20 percent past customers, and 5 percent walk-ins,” President Jordan Berkowitz says. “Arnold’s went from regional to national and increased sales more than 25 times than what they were in 2005.” Arnolds Office Info

Branching Out

Arnold’s works with clients of all sizes, but mainly medium-to-large companies across the United States and Canada. In recent years, Arnold’s has been moving out of the used office furniture business and is focusing more on selling new. “The office furniture industry is importing new furniture from countries such as China, Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines,” CEO Jay Berkowitz explains. “A couple of years ago, Arnold’s started importing from China and eventually will be importing 100 percent of their new furniture from various companies around the world.”

Right now, Arnold’s mainly imports from China. In addition, the company’s exciting new product, the Sunline Sliding Cubicle series, is manufactured in China.

“We just secured a registered trademark for the Sunline brand,” Jay Berkowitz says. “We started an exclusive contract with the No. 1 office furniture manufacturer in China for this product, which has been around for 12 years but didn’t have any distribution in the United States. We teamed up with them last year at a conference and secured the exclusive rights in the U.S. to sell and distribute this product.

“Arnold’s has a very strong partnership with its vendors overseas,” he continues. “In June, our Sunline manufacturer sent a sales representative to spend the month with us to help with product training and order processing. My son and I have visited their factory overseas a few times. We have a lot of great partners, do a lot of personal visits with vendors, and interact with them as if we’re one company with a common goal.”

Berkowitz claims the Sunline cubicle is unlike any other cubicle on the market today. “This system is a revolutionary cubicle system,” he notes. “It’s extremely flexible. You can change the size, shape and height of your cubicle at a moment’s notice. There are no tools required, aside from some screws for the work surface. Other than that, the panels just slide into place. This cubicle not only saves you time, but it also saves you thousands of dollars on installation costs. You do not need a professional installer to install this system; anyone can do it.”

Jordan Berkowitz agrees. “We like to know that we can provide a high-quality, brand-new, beautiful product for less than anyone else in the market and for the price of used,” he says. “Our goal is to save companies money, and help them in their efforts to build a business by meeting their budget to leave money for other things.”

With only 54 employees, the company’s small but mighty team is critical to Arnold’s success. “We have a great operational staff that handles and manages all of our orders, as well as a great marketing and sales team that has intricate knowledge of our products,” Jay Berkowitz notes. “We also work to ensure everyone is trained. In fact, if we meet a certain target soon – which we’re on track to do – one of our main vendors is going to fly our whole sales team overseas for product training.”

As Arnold’s looks ahead, the company plans to grow significantly. “One of the reasons we decided to move away from the business model we’ve always had is because we felt that there was a cap and no more room to grow,” Jay Berkowitz says. “So now, instead of being a $10 or $20 million company, we have visions of growing our business over the next five years into a $100 million company and beyond. We certainly want to expand our company, but for right now, we’re laser-focused on changing the office furniture industry.”

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