Stanton Sofas expands through consolidation

With the move to a single 185,000-square-foot plant from four smaller facilities and with more growth planned, the company is speeding up deliveries of both its motion and stationary upholstery

CANBY, Ore. — Stationary and motion sofa manufacturer Stanton Sofas is positioned to grow its business beyond some of the growth it experienced during the pandemic thanks to a new manufacturing plant here that has consolidated and expanded its footprint in the region.

In late 2021, the company moved into a new 185,000 square foot plant in Canby, which is about 10 miles south of Tualatin, where it was located previously. Over the past dozen years since Stanton’s principals purchased the business out of a bankruptcy proceeding that involved then sister company Barcalounger, its footprint had grown to four buildings totaling about 130,000 square feet.

In addition to the production of finished goods, these facilities also produced foam and other components that went into sofas, sectionals, chairs on the stationary and motion side of the business. Today these operations have moved into a single $20 million operation that began construction around early 2021 and was completed by the fall, which allowed the company to move in and start operations around November.

But the process of getting this project off the ground wasn’t easy, particularly during a pandemic. The company purchased the 20-acre site in an industrial park in 2019, but when it came time to start building the facility, the banks hit the pause button after retail customers were forced to suspend operations in the spring of 2020. This created extreme challenges for a manufacturer that was ready to expand its business with the new operation.

The company was not a stranger to uncertain times, particularly those that hit hard during the financial crisis. In fact it was almost taken down with the bankruptcy of its former sister company Barcalounger.

The 320 sectional shown in Stanton’s Cornell Platinum fabric

However, the management team purchased the business in late 2008 and by early 2009, they restarted it with 32 employees, which grew to about 400 just before the move this past fall.  

But getting lending from the banks during the pandemic was a different story, particularly when customers that bought your product throughout the country had to close their doors due to stay-at-home orders affecting states around the country.

“We were getting ready to break ground, and the bank called and said ‘With this Covid thing, all your customers are sitting at home on their hands — we are not going through with the loan,'” said Chris Staley, an owner in the business who also handles merchandising and sales. Other owners include John Mahon, also in merchandising and sales, Mike and Shelly Raine, in production and finance respectively, and Nathan Hagglund, chief operating officer. Mike and Nathan are descendants of company founder Bud Stanton.

Key executives include Charlie Winans, director of business development and national accounts and Steve Folkman, vice president, merchandising and global raw materials manager.

As it waited for the loan to come through, the company also ended up paying more than three times the rent it paid previously to continue operating for an extended period in its existing leased facilities, Staley said.  

“So we were getting crushed on both ends in the beginning,” he said, adding that “It ended up turning out great,” particularly when they closed on the loan.

“Finally July 2020 rolls around and the banks are saying ‘What do you mean you are having record sales?’ And I was like, ‘I could quadruple them if I could produce that much.’”

It ends up that the company’s sales rose significantly during the pandemic. From 2019 to the end of 2021, they grew about 50%, from $50 million to $75 million last year.

Future growth will largely depend on how strong retail demand continues in the months ahead. Still, Stanton expects to do well moving forward, with the addition of two new production lines — one for motion and one for stationary in its new plant — bringing the total number of lines to eight.

Those lines are producing 400 to 450 pieces a day, which compares to 350 to 375 per day before the move with roughly the same amount of workers. Overall capacity could eventually reach between 550 and 600 pieces per day.

The 257 sofa shown in Stanton’s Panda Otter fabric

Next spring, the company also is looking to add another 50,000-60,000 square feet of production next door, which could add three to four new production lines for as many as 12 lines total across motion and stationary upholstery.

“We feel like we are in a pretty good position right now to grow as needed,” Staley said, noting that the company lost about 20 of its just under 400-member work force after the move to the new facilities although it has gained some back. “Our biggest restraint right now is going to be people. That is our biggest challenge – although we are going to be able to hire more robustly in Canby, than we were in Tualatin, which is about 10 miles north of where we are now.”

With a line that offers stationary sofas that retail from $999 to $1,199 and zero gravity motion sofas with three-way motor functionality that start around $1,499, the company is doing much of its business in its Express program which currently has lead times of about  6-8 weeks.

“We are supplying our retailers a window into a six-to-eight-week lead time with what we would call express items,” Staley said. “And I don’t know anybody that is doing six to eight-week lead times on product.”

“Granted it is a curated group of products,” he added of the 16-18 groups in the program that feature specific bestselling configurations. “All of a sudden, we could then pre-order cut-and-sew kits, and that way we were able to produce product faster and get our production up which allows us to lower lead times even more.”

By comparison, lead times on custom-built product in many different configurations is four-to-five months, which has improved from seven to eight months about four months ago.

The added capacity is expected to lower lead times further with improvements expected every few weeks or so, although that will largely depend on demand moving forward.

“We are constantly taking lead times down for sure,” Staley said, noting that the company is now producing from 400 to 450 pieces a day, but has been getting orders for as many as 1,200 to 1,400 pieces per day. “And we post that everywhere so every customer knows what their lead times are at all given times.”

The goal, while managing its growth, is to take care of the customer first and foremost, Staley noted.

“We are in this business for one purpose only and that is to satisfy our customers, and I feel like that has served us from day one,” he said. “At the end of the day, we want to build the best product with the best story and the best warranty and the best selection of covers and styles and the best comfort at the best price. We want to truly be the best value on every retailers floor. That is really our goal.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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