A Brief History of La-Z-Boy
Date: 22-01-2015 Time: 00:00:00 Category: Interior Design
In 1927 in Monroe, Michigan, USA, cousins Edward M. Knasbusch and Edwin J. Shoemaker partnered up and created a furniture business in a garage which was to become the famous La-Z-Boy Company we know today. They started their manufacture with cabinets (that Edward had previous experience in) and surprisingly, doll house furniture. Originally called Kna-Shoe Company they quickly reconsidered the name after a shipment could not be collected due to being mislabeled 'New Shoe Company. They became the Floral City Furniture Company and because a instant hit in Monroe.
They quickly needed to to expand from the garage but no banks would invest, luckily family and friends did. Fortuitously they built their new plant right along what was to be the US 24 route which was to become the most traveled road in Michigan, perfect positioning for their bigger and better business.
It was the year 1928 that saw the design and creation of an innovative new chair. A wooden slated porch chair that could recline. Edward and Edwin held a competition to name this new product with names such as Sit-N-Snooze and Slackback suggested but the winner of course was the La-Z-Boy. The chair was an instant success and sales took off. In 1929 they started to manufacture Upholstered versions of the La-Z-Boy (a buyer refused to purchase because of the seasonal nature of the chair). The results were positive and the company incorporated and protected their patent.
Though the depression of the 1930s saw most people struggling to make ends meet, the La-Z-Boy Cousins continued to grow their business and were able to open their first retail store by 1933. They set up several 'furniture shows' throughout the 1930s to show off their products but the most important factor was that they entertained their potential customers with a circus like atmosphere of performers and entertainers. A truly unique was of doing business at the time.
In the 1940s, due to pressure from other manufacturers and retailers because of the competition they posed, Edward and Edwin separated Floral City Furniture and the La-Z-Boy Chair Company. La-Z-Boy now had a place of it's own but instantly stopped manufacture as war was declared after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The 1950s saw an increase of products to their line and was even promoted by Bing Crosby as 'The' relaxing chair. The La-Z-Boy had always been considered a mans chair but in the 1960s the company marketed towards women as well 'The most comfortable part of HER day'
The new Reclina Rocker boosted sales in the 1960s and 1970s. Between 1961-1971 sales went from $1.1 Million to $52.7 Million, and in 1972 the company was passed to Charles T. Knasbusch (Edwards son) where it continued to grow to annual sales of $152 million. Charles added more retail stores and uses more and more mass marketing, including TV ads as they became popular purchases for the American family. This growth continued through the 1980s with La-Z-Boy making recliner sofas and beds as well as creating stationary products as well.
The 1990s and 2000s was full of company deals and acquisitions and it was this period which made La-Z-Boy one the biggest furniture manufacturers and retailers in America. Its name was changed to La-Z-Boy incorporated in 1996. Though the US business has declined during the recession and as a result of cheaper Chinese imports, it is still recognised as one of the most famous brands around the world. It is licensed to be manufactured in many countries around the world, including the UK and it remains very popular toady.
La-Z-Boy is currently growing into business and health care furniture but is a name that will always be synonymous with home relaxation. Check out these links for more info.
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La-Z-Boy at Barkers
A Brief History of La-Z-Boy
The Barkers family and staff always do everything they can to make customers feel welcome and accommodated. We are constantly trying to improve the service, the products we buy, the website and the prices we buy at, so that we can constantly evolve and improve.