BY T. FOSTER JONES
Furnishings has been
members with fine
furniture for several
years, both in the
warehouse and on
Costco.com. Based in
the city of Asheboro,
North Carolina, the company manufactures a variety of home furnishings:
sleeper sofas, recliners, bedroom and dining room furniture, occasional tables,
memory foam bedding and outdoor furniture, as well as living room upholstery.
The Connection had the opportunity to
interview Bill Wittenberg, Klaussner’s
president and CEO since 2010, to discuss
Klaussner’s past, its accomplishments and
what makes the company a great supplier.
The Costco Connection: Give our members a sense of the history of the company.
Bill Wittenberg: The company was
founded in 1963 by Stuart Love and carried
his name until Hans Klaussner purchased
the company in 1979. Stuart was a true
visionary and is credited for pioneering
“just-in-time” delivery by offering truckloads of upholstered products that could
ship within two weeks of taking the order.
When Mr. Klaussner bought the com-
pany he brought a very aggressive growth
plan. He used Klaussner as a platform
company to purchase other companies. In
1987 the company name was changed to
Klaussner Furniture. In 2007 the company was rebranded to Klaussner Home
Furnishings. [Mr. Klaussner sold the
company in 2011.]
CC: What have been the driving philosophies of the Klaussner company?
BW: Since we were founded we have
operated under two philosophies. One is
we take care of our people. Two is we take
care of our customers.
CC: What makes Klaussner unique?
BW: Asheboro, North Carolina, is home
for 10 manufacturing plants, one warehouse and one distribution facility, as well
as the company’s corporate headquarters.
Klaussner is the only upholstery manufacturer that is truly a vertically integrated
manufacturer. We own and operate a foam
pouring and fabrication company and own
and operate a frame building facility, giving us complete control of the manufacturing process. The design component is the
only system that is outsourced to the local
CC: How has the company evolved?
BW: Over the years we have added categories outside our core domestic uphol-
Klaussner builds on experience
A ;ne ;nish
stery business to include bedroom and
dining room, memory foam bedding and
outdoor furniture. Today, all these catego-
ries can ride on the same truck out of
North Carolina, which makes us a one-
stop shop resource.
The retail landscape has changed over
the past decade and Klaussner has had to
change with it. The first thing we did was
implement a business system that
improved communication and accountability throughout the organization. We
also empowered the management team to
make decisions that directly impact our
ability to meet our retail partners’ expectations as they continue to change.
Our goal, and our mantra at the company, is to be the leading solutions provider in the home furnishings industry.
CC: What kind of relationship does the
company have with its employees?
BW: Our people are our most important asset! We work hard every day to provide a great working environment for
them. We are one of the largest employers
in our county and have second and third
generations working for us, and [we] are
very proud of that.
CC: What about with the community?
BW: We are very committed to our
community and feel that it is our responsibility to give back to the community. We
do this through various organizations that
directly impact our community, such as
the United Way, YMCA and many others.
We also feel strongly about supporting our
local schools, because that is where future
Klaussner employees are and we want the
best for them. C
COMPANY: Klaussner Home Furnishings
PRESIDENT AND CEO: Bill Wittenberg
EMPLOYEES: 1,800 plus
HEADQUARTERS: Asheboro, North
ITEMS AT COSTCO: In the warehouse:
Multifunction table (Item #639057; pictured
at left). On Costco.com: Fabric queen
sleeper sofas and fabric sectionals (search
QUOTE ABOUT COSTCO: “Klaussner has
enjoyed a long relationship with Costco and
is very appreciative of our partnership. We
specifically built a team to meet all the
demands that are necessary to successfully
support the Costco business. Costco’s
attention to detail and demand for product
excellence has truly made Klaussner a better supplier of quality products to the
Costco member.”—Bill Wittenberg