Consolidation may be growing in the contract furniture space; another acquisition announced

LUDINGTON, Mich. – A Michigan-based office storage furniture manufacturer has bought a smaller Michigan-based office furniture maker. This marks at least the fourth acquisition seen this year in the office/contract furniture segment.

Metalworks, which manufactures metal storage products for business offices, has acquired Flairwood, a producer of laminate cabinets and carts for offices. This follows Furniture Marketing Group’s acquisition of Contract Associates earlier this month, Makers & Craftsmen’s acquisition of Royal Custom Designs in May, and Merchants’ acquisition of Pear Workplace Solutions in June.

Industry giants are also making moves. Steelcase bought Halcon for $127 million last year, and Herman Miller bought Knoll in 2021 for $1.8 billion.

With the latest acquisition, Metalworks says it will be able to reach a more diverse customer base and expand its product line with the addition of Flairwood’s laminate case goods. Flairwood, says Metalworks, will benefit from a greater partnership with Great Openings, the direct-to-dealer sales division of Metalworks, to improve its sales and distribution.

Terms of the deal, which was finalized on Nov. 30, were not disclosed.

“We are so pleased to welcome Flairwood to the Metalworks family,” said Scott Lakari, president of Metalworks. “Adding Flairwood was a natural fit for many reasons. Both companies are family-owned businesses with solid roots in our communities and strong corporate cultures focused on employees.

Metalworks and Flairwood have partnered together on products for the past seven years, jointly developing and producing a laminate locker line and other personal storage products for the office furniture industry.

“We are delighted to join the Metalworks family, which shares our commitment to growing business with integrity and reliability,” said Wayne Baxter, president of Flairwood. “We have continually invested in Flairwood to grow the company into a thriving business with an excellent reputation. This transaction enables us to take another step forward to ensure our continued success.”

Baxter will continue to lead Flairwood as part of the Metalworks executive team.

Established in 1966, Metalworks has grown into two locations: Metalworks in Ludington and Fab-Lite in Manistee. Both plants work closely together, supplying one another with components and combining orders for shipment to customers. Between the two facilities, Metalworks has approximately 200 employees and maintains 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Flairwood, established in 1976, maintains a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility in Norton Shores with approximately 40 employees.

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