John Thomas Furniture expands its custom Select program with 50 new fabrics

HIGH POINT – John Thomas Furniture is expanding its custom offerings this market with 50 new fabrics that are being added to its seating line.

Launched in 2007 by company parent Whitewood Industries, John Thomas’ Select program initially offered some 36 paint and wood stain options for its solid wood line. Since then the company has added more finish options, while discontinuing others to keep it focused and simple for retailers and consumers alike.

About five years later, the company added an upholstered seating option for its dining line. It initially offered several basic solid color options then added performance fabrics and additional higher-priced fabric options over time.

Due to the popularity of the line and the ratio of sales on upholstered versus wood seat dining chairs, the company decided to expand the fabric lineup with what it described as some 50 new “high-fashion, cleanable fabrics to its lineup.”

“When we started to see that upholstered seats were important, we added a few more options at retail — yet it wasn’t necessarily an affordable option for everyone, and the colors and patterns were still somewhat limited”, said Bryan Sprinkles, vice president, marketing. “Today, the ratio of sales on upholstered seats to wood seats is sixty/forty. That’s significant, and a true indicator that shoppers want soft seating in their kitchen and dining spaces.”

He added that any true custom program is “all about the consumer,” focusing on the style they want for their living spaces.

“They love options and a selection to choose what fits their home, ” he told Home News Now. “The nice part to watching consumer trends is it clearly shows us best directions to take as the program evolves. Fabric has certainly been that direction loud and clear over the past few years. We have always been known and identified as a solid wood company, however we are now shipping more upholstered chairs/stools, than wood seat chairs/stools.

“Our new fabric program being introduced at Market will allow consumers to really express their fashion sense, not just the comfort factor. We feel it’s going to be very strong for us and our loyal dealers.”

A tiered pricing program also aims to make the program more affordable. It offers solid color options at no upcharge available in the Standard tier, while $50 is added per seat for a new Designer tier. It tops out at $75 per seat within the Premier tier.

The 50 new fabrics are available on  the seats of wood dining chairs and stools as well as on the company’s upholstered solid hardwood maple chair and stool collection that includes three chair and stool styles.

These and other new product offerings can be seen during the April 2-6 High Point Market at the John Thomas showroom at 215 S. Main St.

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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