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posted: 8/31/2013 12:06 AM

Furniture makers seize upon changing times

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  • As homeowners struggle with the need for more storage space, king- and queen-size beds with storage drawers have become more popular.

      As homeowners struggle with the need for more storage space, king- and queen-size beds with storage drawers have become more popular.
    Courtesy of Turk Furniture

  • Sectionals with built-in, motorized recliners are popular with homeowners.

      Sectionals with built-in, motorized recliners are popular with homeowners.
    Courtesy of Turk Furniture

 
By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald Correspondent

American-made furniture -- particularly Amish-made bedroom sets -- and beds with storage drawers are among the current trends in home furnishings.

"Buying things that are made in America has become very important to our customers, so once a year we even hold a special event during which all of the furniture in the store that was made in America is marked with a special tag," said Patrick Galloway, general manager of Turk Furniture, based in Joliet with a store in Naperville. "This is the third year we have done this in our stores and it gains momentum each year."

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Turk Furniture is a chain that has been well-known in central Illinois since 1885. It made its first foray into the Chicago area late last year when it opened in Naperville, its sixth store.

"We offer furniture for all rooms of the house," Galloway said, "including mattresses by Advantage, Sealy Posturepedic, Stearns and Foster and Serta. And we try to offer as much 'Made in America' furniture as possible, including Amish-made bedroom sets."

Galloway has noticed other trends, as well. For instance, people are increasingly interested in purchasing beds with storage underneath. Years ago, these were only available in twin and bunk beds. Today, manufacturers are offering under-bed storage drawers in king and queen sizes, and they are hot sellers.

Similarly, cocktail tables, end tables and nightstands that offer extra storage and functionality are also catching on. Turk offers, for instance, a cocktail table with a lift top for storage of items.

It also sell end tables with built-in file drawers for those who like to arrive home and fire up their laptops to get work done while sitting in front of the TV set. Other end tables and night stands double as charging stations for cellphones and tablets.

Turk Furniture is located at 448 Illinois Route 59, adjacent to two other large furniture stores.

"It is a great location for us. We are connected to an H.H. Gregg store, which is also new to the Chicago area, and alongside two other furniture stores. That proximity makes it easier for the consumer to shop and compare," Galloway said.

"We are a store that carries many well-known, midpriced brands and is very willing to custom order items in different fabrics and leathers for customers. We feel that Turk Furniture can definitely fill a niche in a market where most of the competition is either very high-end or promotional-type furniture," he said.

Owners had been looking for the right place to expand into Chicago for awhile, Galloway said, and if it makes sense, they will expand further into the mammoth metropolitan market. The Naperville store, at 23,000 square feet, is the chain's smallest. Other stores, some of which span 35,000 square feet, are located in Joliet, Bradley, Ottawa, LaSalle and Danville.

Some home furnishing trends have been around a long while. Reclining furniture is still very popular, Galloway said. However, now manufacturers are putting power controls in the recliners so you no longer pull a lever to recline into a single position. Instead, multiple positions are possible.

"And the styles offered in this type of furniture are so much better and more extensive than they used to be," he said. "A good mix of fabrics and leathers are offered, too."

Homeowners are not going out to movies and other activities as much as they once did, Galloway said, so they are trying to be as comfortable as possible at home.

Sectionals that can be customized to fit a family's needs and their particular space requirements are also very hot -- especially since they are available in so many different styles, ranging from traditional to transitional to contemporary, Galloway said.

Adding a splash of color to a room in the form of an ottoman or single chair is also a growing trend. Using accent pieces in bright colors is a way to update and excite a room without redoing it entirely and making a huge investment.

The sleek, clean, sophisticated look is all the rage when it comes to wood furniture, Galloway said. Walnut and other dark finishes are still preferred, while lighter woods like oak and pine with lots of knots and grain are less popular now.

"Since most manufacturers offer so many different stain choices, the type of wood used is less important to our customers than the color of stain chosen," he said. "Canadel, for instance, offers 75 different finishes on their furniture.

"Today's buyers are looking for durability and functionality, so the manufacturers we work with are making furniture to last 12 to 20 years. And while we sell lots of leather, fabric is still our biggest seller."

The company attempts to stock everything it displays so it can deliver purchases to customers within five days. "Custom orders generally take five to eight weeks," Galloway said.

Three members of the Turk family are still involved with the 128-year-old firm. Michael Turk is the chain's president and two of his brothers are also heavily involved with the company, which was founded by their great-great uncle. They are the fifth generation of Turks to provide furniture to the homeowners of Illinois.

The firm is also known for regularly donating to food pantries, colleges and other local concerns in the communities where their stores are located.

For more information about Turk Furniture, visit www.turkfurniture.com or call (630) 352-0482.

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