MALONE — A customized-furniture business that recently moved to Malone from Canada employs 15 workers now.
But Jeff Casselman, executive director of O-Palier Canadian Furniture, says many more could be added as business contracts grow and new product lines increase.
The company, which was based in Williamsburg, Ontario, and is now located on Valco Drive in the Malone Industrial Park, produces dining-room sets sold to major retailers in Canada, such as Sears, Bon Ton and Macy’s.
Casselman, who admits taking his manufacturing cues from Toyota’s customized-product success, buys the raw components for the furniture from Vietnam and does the assembly, staining, finishing and shipping from here.
Friday, he gave Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) and a group of about 10 local dignitaries a tour of his plant.
Casselman was excited to have Owens see his operation, he said, and to share his pride in the workmanship and care his employees show in the products they make.
“I’m thrilled to have you here,” he told the congressman. “We’ve been working on this for three years. We came in November and started producing in January. Then we got serious in April.
“We closed our Canadian operation, and our final step was bringing it all here to Malone, where we can now assemble our table tops,” he
Casselman had previously worked for Peerless Carpet Corp. in Canada and was chief-executive officer at Shermag, until he resigned in 2007 after five years, according to a November 2007 Montreal Gazette article.
Owens didn’t have to ask many questions as the owner seamlessly moved from station to station, explaining each production step that creates a set of the furniture made from imported component pieces.
He said his furniture sells at Sears for $1,500, compared to $3,000 to $4,000 for a similar custom-made set “made from the ground up.”
Tables come in two choices of pedestal legs, with four choices in table-edge design.
Dining chairs come in six choices in leg style, such as tapered, Queen Ann, turned and notched, and there are more than 40 fabric patterns to choose from for the seat.
The chair sizes are standardized, Casselman laughed, “so it’s one bum size. That’s it. But they are amply-made chairs. We do what I call mass customization.”
The maple table tops come in round or rectangle shapes with an additional leaf to expand their sizes.
He’s looking to contract with a local source for the maple panels he uses for his tops, but has continued to outsource them because he has been unable to find what he needs.
“I’d rather find it local,” he said.
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