Kravet acquires Tomlinson Erwin-Lambeth

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Upper-end furniture, accessories and home décor resource Kravet has recently acquired various assets of Tomlinson Erwin-Lambeth, expanding its product mix to an even larger offering of upholstered products sold under the Tomlinson Erwin-Lambeth brands and the brands of sister companies Directional and Carter.

In a Feb. 28 letter to dealers and designers obtained by Home News Now, Tomlinson President and CEO W. Rod Lambeth and Vice President of Sales Thomas D. Burke said that the transition in ownership would be seamless and that they should not expect any differences in our “product, service or our approach.”

The letter did not reveal a purchase price for the transaction, which was completed in early February.

However, in addition to various intellectual property/product designs across its lines, the sale included Tomlinson’s 135,000-square-foot factory in Thomasville, which employs nearly 100 workers. For years, this factory also has produced upholstery for Kravet, which Tomlinson describes in the letter as its largest customer.

The sale did not include Tomlinson’s High Point showroom located at 525 N. Wrenn St. in High Point. That facility has been sold to ETC for the Home of Bloomington, Indiana, Kay Lambeth, showroom manager, told Home News Now.

Moving forward, the new corporation that is now part of Kravet will be called Directional Tomlinson LLC, but will be marketed as Tomlinson Companies with Rod Lambeth remaining as president and CEO.

Lambeth said that the sale will benefit both companies as the Thomasville factory remains a key resource for Kravet and that Directional Tomlinson will have a “larger resource to pull from to help us accomplish bigger and better things.”

“We are a very fine upper-end company with as good a fabric situation as you can have and they are a huge furniture entity also. … This will give us the opportunity to move forward with solidity in almost every area and better means and resources to ride the wave — the ups and downs that are the good times and the bad times — that the furniture industry has grown accustomed to. This will give us an opportunity to smooth that out and ride that wave better.”

The Tomlinson business dates back about 125 years when Lambeth’s family founded Standard Chair Co. in Thomasville in 1898, getting its start in the production of rocking chairs. In 1901, the family founded Tomlinson Chair Manufacturing Co.

Erwin-Lambeth and Directional, Lambeth said, were founded in 1946 and Carter was established during the 1960s.

“It is a nice legacy to pass on and know that it is in really good hands,” he said of the new ownership. “I am excited about the partnership and, literally, the solidifying of the future for all of these people and their families here at Tomlinson.”

Kravet officials were not immediately available for comment for this story. However, Home News Now will continue its attempts to reach the company and update the story at that time.

In its letter to dealers and designers, Tomlinson said that its fabric collection will undergo a major upgrade that will include a wide selection of Kravet fabrics added to the line.

“This has been a win-win for both our employees and our customers,” the Tomlinson letter stated.

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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