By Web Team
NORTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WCBS) — The pandemic has been a game-changer for many small businesses.
A Middlesex County company had to rethink its business model and serve new customers.
Its focus has shifted from office furniture to home office furniture, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
In a warehouse on Route 1 in North Brunswick, there is a sea of office chairs.
“We spell it ‘OFIS,’ which means ‘office furniture in stock,'” said Russell Castro, president of OFIS Furniture.
“In stock” is the key phrase here because it’s so hard to get anything in a timely manner due to supply chain issues.
“Our business has picked up a lot over the last few months, over the last year, because we’re our own supply chain,” Castro said.
Castro and his wife started liquidating expensive office furniture 30 years ago. Since the start of the pandemic, many other large companies have consolidated their office space, so there was plenty of supply and new demand.
“We were getting calls from all employees who were working from home,” Castro said.
People were okay with ditching their commute, but not their high-end support desk chair. Castro had to shift gears and start selling directly to individuals one chair at a time, instead of reselling hundreds at a time to businesses.
He said a big benefit of coming to the warehouse was to test out the chairs instead of blindly ordering online.
Michael Nelson from New York ordered a chair from another company which took weeks to arrive and was uncomfortable. He said his body ached for his old work chair.
“It’s a jungle out there when you’re trying to do this stuff online rather than being able to go to a place and honestly there aren’t a lot of places where you can get into a room. exhibition and, quite honestly, I didn’t want to go out and spend $1,300 retail on a chair,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he ended up getting an even more comfortable chair from OFIS for a few hundred dollars. Warehouse items are a fraction of the original price.
Andrea Castro says as soon as they moved into retail, families arrived, suddenly needing desks and chairs for virtual learning and working from home.
She showed Baker a chair by Herman Miller that she says has a full list price of $800 to $900, but “we’re selling this for about $250 to $300.”
Standing desks are another hot spot. The Castros said they had adapted to save their business and their rears everywhere.
All items are refurbished on site to be like new. OFIS defines itself as a green company, recycling lightly used office items and keeping them from ending up in landfill.
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