Flexa opens Suffolk store

Published 9:44 pm Monday, November 30, 2009

The demographics in the city of Suffolk don’t really match those of Honolulu, Miami, Las Vegas, Boston or Bethesda, Md. — where FLEXA Furniture has stores that cater to a clientele that is often well-heeled and willing to part with significant cash to provide the best for their kids.

Still, Suffolk hosts the U.S. FLEXA headquarters, and the company wanted to demonstrate its commitment to the community it has called home for the past six years.

So when Paul Blount and a partner bought the company about a year and a half ago, they decided to find a way to build their brand right here at home, “so that the community can understand what we do.”

That vision came to fruition on Friday with the opening of the company’s first outlet store, a 1,200-square-foot storefront located in the Suffolk Specialty Shops at 1201 N. Main St.

“We are excited and happy to get a local FLEXA shop open,” said Blount, president and COO, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. “Everyone in Suffolk eats peanuts and drinks Lipton tea. They should all be sleeping on a Flexa product.”

The company manufactures solid wood, modular beds and accessories for toddlers to teens that are colorful, functional and flexible. The FLEXA system allows users to convert a twin bed into a bunk bed or loft bed, with the ability to add a kid-sized desk, bookshelves, a dresser and storage drawers.

The entire line of FLEXA furniture is modular and interchangeable and can be adapted to a growing child simply through the addition or deletion of various parts or accessories.

The company’s U.S. headquarters, located in the Obici Industrial Park, has about 20 employees, with more being added as FLEXA moves toward its goal of opening dozens of stores in U.S. markets, Blount said.

Though the company is one of the largest manufacturers of children’s furniture in the world, producing about 28,000 beds a week, its entry into the American market has been somewhat methodical.

The Suffolk plant still accounts for only a small percentage of the company’s products, Blount said. Within five years, though, as those American marketing efforts begin to bear fruit, he expects that Suffolk will account for about a third of the company’s product.

“We’re here to stay,” he said. “We feel very much a part of the community already. It really feels like home.”