Homestar Grows Furniture Market Presence In U.S.

HIGH POINT, NC— Homestar is opening up a showroom in High Point to greet participants at the spring market and to emphasize its ongoing expansion as a brand in the furniture business.

The showroom, in the Centers of High Point Centennial Building, will not only introduce new products but also the company itself to those retailers who are not familiar with its products and capabilities.

The company, owned by Steve Liu, has operated as an OEM manufacturer since 2001. In 2014, it struck a deal with Talon System, advancing its growth in the U.S. market by developing the Homestar North American division. Today, the company’s North American business generates 150 containers of goods a month out of its plant in Statesville, NC.

In China, Homestar operates factories in Fuzhou and Lianjang generating 850 containers worth of goods in the same stretch of time. The Lianjang plant is a work in progress with a three-part construction process set for completion in December. The company acquired Nupact, a customer furniture company in Fujian province, China, also in 2014. In Canada, Homestar operates a sales and distribution facility in the Toronto area, and it has sales offices in Mexico City, Mexico, Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Homestar North America division operates out of the 340,000 square foot Statesville facility.

On a global basis, Homestar sells furniture such as storage products, dressers, nightstands, bookshelves and entryway items as well as kitchen and bath merchandise, fireplaces, and a small housewares segment that recently launched.

The company portfolio includes about 200 items, and Homestar plans to enter the foam mattress business this year. The Homestar Statesville factory has a high efficiency particleboard operation, the company noted, focused largely on storage and bedroom products. Manufacturing bedrooms in North Carolina allows the company to avoid anti-dumping tariffs. In China, the emphasis is focused on home office, fireplace, storage and organization.

The combination of U.S. and China manufacturing provides benefits, said Steve Miller, president of Homestar North America. Each manufacturing facility has strengths and advantages, so as a group, the Homestar plants can support each other effectively.

“In Statesville, we can source components from China then assemble them here,” he said. “We can do the labor here. There’s a lot of good synergy with China.”

North America is Homestar’s largest market, generating just over a third of sales. China and Europe follow, then South America and Japan.

The company is working to make the Homestar brand more widely recognized in the U.S. market. Other brands it works under include MasterFlame, Flamelux, Black + Decker, Talon and Pinnacle Design.

Up until recently, the Homestar emphasis in the U.S. business has been on big box retail, but the company recognizes that growth in the mass-market furniture business is occurring primarily online. For that reason, plans call for the opening of additional distribution centers in the U.S. With faith that e-commerce will grow the ready-to-assemble furniture business, the company is moving to gain as Internet-based furniture sales advance. To ensure it does, the company, among other initiatives, has been developing the capacity for two-day product delivery for its retail partners.

Homestar is looking to expand in product categories where it currently participates and into new segments. Electric fireplace furniture is a segment the company is emphasizing. And a point of focus will be young consumers.

“A big part of our business going forward will be children’s furniture,” said Allan Matheson, vp/Homestar.

Visitors to the company’s High Point showroom will view a new line of youth play/activity sets. Penny Francis, Homestar vp/e-commerce, said the youth-oriented sets would debut alongside four new bedroom collections and about 20 new electric fireplaces.

In addition to bedroom, Homestar is adding furniture for various functions in the home such as the bookcase and TV stand with open and closed storage developed as part of the tentatively named Jordan collection. Bedroom products are part of the Blair, Chatham, Aberdeen and Neenah collections, while children’s products fall under the Coco & Michelle label and fireplaces under the Masterflame and Flamelux labels.

Francis said that the company is looking to establish new retailer relationships in High Point as it continues to build its business beyond the OEM scope.

“The goal is to connect with retailers on a one-on-one basis, and to reach retailers at the show who don’t really know who we are yet,” she said.