program r well-built
Costco’s furniture quality
sits atop the rest
The Easton leather recliner (Item #569446; available
at all locations in August) features luxuriously soft
and comfy top-grain leather on the seating surfaces.
Consumer reporter Pat
Volchok gives a behind-
the-scenes look at Costco
products and services.
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BUYING NEW FURNITURE is an exciting adventure, matched only by the challenges it can present.
You can use up oodles of free time with weekly forays to every store within a 50-mile radius as well as
hours spent online.
Or you can choose to shop quickly, efficiently
and under one roof at Costco’s biannual warehouse
furniture extravaganza, where a treasure trove of
hand-selected furnishings from around the world
awaits discovery each year—this year from July 5
to September 1 and December 26 to March 1.
Of course, there’s much more to furniture buying than one-stop shopping. Considerations include
selection, style, shape, size, color, function, comfort
and the biggie: workmanship.
With this summer’s show almost under way and
wanting to hear Costco’s take on what constitutes
quality furnishings, I sit down with Costco furniture
buyers Nino Garcia and Jeffrey Olsen.
Nino reports, “Superior construction is our
focus. We only contract with thoroughly vetted and
well-known manufacturers. One look at a furniture
company’s own specifications tells us if they are cut
from the same quality-focused cloth as Costco.”
More in archives
At Online Edition,
I learn some brands have quietly lowered their
furniture-building standards over the years, while
others (not so reputable to begin with) are cutting
even more corners. Not Costco.
Jeffrey hands me a list of the 80(!) quality standards the Costco team likes to see a furniture manufacturer fulfill.
On the list, I find many of my pet peeves are
listed as unacceptable: the use of weak staples rather
than screws on furniture backs, cardboard inserts
known to disintegrate in spilled water, cheap hol-lowed-out knobs, easy-to-break plastic feet and
skinny springs that don’t hold up.
I’m surprised by numerous construction details
I’ve not considered but am certainly glad Costco
does. These include kiln-drying finished wood products to an 8 to 12 percent moisture content to prevent
mold, warping or cracking, and using new rather
than reused fire-retardant fill for upholstered items.
The list also proves Costco leaves no detail to
chance. Bookshelves are reversible so that if one
side is damaged the unit is still usable. Backs are
fully finished, allowing a piece to also be used as a
room divider. Drawers are sanded smooth to the
touch and the same color inside and out.
6/9/11 2:58 PM