Office Furniture Outlet purchases furniture that was shipped and returned to the distributor in its original packaging and then sells it at a discount to its customers.
In 2004, extensive flooding in the Pittsburgh area left Ken and Laurie Rogg’s architectural woodworking business under nearly 4 feet of water. Their Route 8 location had served customers for more than 25 years.
While the store was temporarily closed, Ken decided to enroll in a degree completion program through Geneva College. It was there that he met an employee of a large office furniture distributor who was looking for a way to sell the company’s “distressed” inventory. Ken learned that “distressed” furniture meant anything from furniture in mint condition with damaged boxes to pieces with minor scratches or dents. By the time the Roggs’ retail space had been restored, they had a new business model in mind. The company was renamed “Office Furniture Outlet,” and began selling a wide range of distressed office furniture in 2007.
Office Furniture Outlet serves primarily small business and home-based business customers who are looking to purchase desks, chairs, bookcases, and other office furniture at a reduced rate. Most of the outlet’s “new-returned” items are in perfect condition and are shipped to the store in their original packaging. A smaller portion of the inventory has minor flaws and is sold at an even greater discount.
Although the business was placed in a strategic location along one of Pittsburgh’s high traffic areas, the Roggs realized that the business could be missing opportunities because of insufficient signage. Rogg applied for a loan from Bridgeway Capital to purchase an electric sign and implement marketing strategies to bring in new customers.
“I definitely believe the new signage has helped our business,” Laurie said. “In the past two years, we have had many customers say that they never knew we were here until they saw the sign.”
Rogg has also taken advantage of Bridgeway Capital’s technical assistance and partner programs. She is currently meeting with a Bridgeway Capital consultant and is involved with PowerLink, a program offered by the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence that provides valuable advice and services to female business owners.
“In the five years we have been in business, I can proudly say that our repeat business is great,” she said. “I thank Bridgeway for giving me my first business loan and for offering great programs and resources to its clients.”
- The loan helped the company retain two full-time and four part-time jobs and will create an additional full-time and part-time position in the next three years.
- Financing also gave a woman-owned business the opportunity to continue growing and expanding its reach.
3114 William Flynn Highway
Allison Park, PA 15101
412-492-9242 | ofopa.com