FLEXA setting up shop

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

An international manufacturer and distributor of children’s furniture is moving its U.S. operations into Wilroy Industrial Park.

FLEXA Furniture Inc., a Denmark-based company, has spent the past month moving into a 30,000-square-feet warehouse at 1402 Bright Drive. The company, which will be investing more than $1 million in the building formerly occupied by Fairmont Snacks, will be creating 20 additional jobs over the next year, said Stephen Jensen, the company’s vice president.

Although FLEXA is just getting established in the United States, the company is the leading manufacturer of children’s furniture in Europe today, Jensen said. Established 1972, the company’s products are sold at 3,500 retail outlets in more than 60 countries around the globe.

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FLEXA sells functional furniture that is designed to grow with the children: Beds, wardrobes, tables, desks, textiles, mattresses, chairs and accessories.

&uot;FLEXA is a good investment because you don’t have to get rid of the bed when a child goes into a different age group,&uot; he said.

&uot;Our products are flexible. People can mold or customize our products to fits their specifications or needs. Our products are almost like Lego blocks.&uot;

In other words, Jensen said, say a child starts off with a day bed. As the child ages and his furniture needs change, people can buy extension sets that can turn the bed into a bunk bed, loft or even triple bunk bed.

FLEXA’s furniture is in the medium-price range, he said. For example, a bunk bed retails for $550-$650.

&uot;All the different kits and extensions we offer are like Lego bricks,&uot; Jensen said. &uot;We try to build on what we already have so that the investment makes good economic sense for customers.&uot;

FLEXA Furniture first expanded into the U.S. market when it opened a distribution center in New Jersey in 2000. The company rapidly outgrew that site, opting to relocate in Suffolk because of its central location.

&uot;Suffolk is well positioned from a distribution standpoint to service the whole East Coast of the United States,&uot; he said. &uot;We expect the U.S. to become a very significant market for FLEXA as a whole.

&uot;With our new facility and the move to Suffolk, we are now in a position to start growing.&uot;

For now, the company is focusing on distribution. But once things are up and running, the company will begin handling some of the manufacturing process at the Suffolk plant.

All the company’s furniture is made of solid, Nordic pine. The wood components, which are now shipped over ready for distribution, will eventually come to the United States as raw, cut or shaped components of wood.

In Europe, FLEXA’s products usually sell in large children’s superstores. But in this country, they are sold in small, independently owned shops that specialize in children’s furniture.

The closest retail outlet for FLEXA furniture is now in Richmond.