How do you remain relevant when you are a 70 year old furniture company and there is a pandemic that is closing offices? You do what you have been doing for 70 + years – you keep your pulse on the competition, the environment, you hire the right team and you reinvent yourself.
In the late 1940s schools were getting populated with the baby boom, so the owners decided to enter into the school business and starting carrying products from Griggs Equipment company who specialized in molded plywood and tubular steel case furniture. Since during this time most school furniture was made of solid wood which made it very expense and heavy, bfi now had the competitive edge with this new, cost effective furniture technology. Over the years we have embraced new concepts, ideas and technology to address the myriad of solutions for each client.
From 1960 – 1970 the office went through a huge revolution with computers, processors and the introduction of the cubicle. Herman Miller introduced the Action office and bfi sold their first million project in Cranford, NJ. With the vast opportunity offered following the onset of the cubicle bfi saw a need to add a designer to their team to help design and install these new offices. And this created another need to hire a sales team to identify and nurture all the prospects.
The team was able to secure the City of New York contract and the need for opening an New York office. During this time they also saw a need to add Dan Morley as their sales manager to guide the sales team and uncover new opportunities. Following Dan’s arrival, bfi was able to continue its growth by purchases various like dealers and merging them. He also developed a simplistic furniture budgeting process and started the bfi Commercial Real Estate Golf Tournament which worked to foster and grow our network of brokers.
Fast forward to 2018 where we are still living much of this mindset and being vigilant in understanding the market, the opportunities, hiring the right people and reinventing yourself. Kate Kerpchar joined the team as President and CEO. In her role she has worked tirelessly to prepare bfi for the future including upgrading all our internal systems and IT resources, standardizing much of the policies and procedures, and creating a strong diversified management team. Most importantly, she has worked to revise and reposition bfi as a majority women-owned business We currently have our certifications with WBENC, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The City of New York and now The State of New Jersey. Our New York State certification is pending. During the pandemic, thanks to her due diligence, we were able to avoid layoff during the shut down and keep our team whole.