Universal Furniture names Rick Lovegrove VP, upholstery

Industry veteran brings 25 years of industry experience to new position

HIGH POINT — Universal Furniture has hired industry veteran Rick Lovegrove as vice president of upholstery, a new position devoted to the enhancement and growth of the company’s domestic and import upholstery business.

Lovegrove comes to the company from Four Hands, where he has worked for the past decade, most recently as president of upholstery and before that as vice president, product services group and upholstery.

Rick Lovegrove

Before that he worked at upholstery manufacturer G. Romano for more than 18 years, both as vice president of design and creative director and brand manager.

In his new position, he reports to Universal President Sean O’Connor, who started the upholstery business for the company around 2015 and who has since handled the development/merchandising responsibilities alongside Shannon Lookabill, vice president of product development. In addition to its import upholstery line produced in Vietnam, the company expanded into domestic upholstery when it acquired Southern Upholstery in 2019. The company said the acquisition allowed Universal to develop its domestic upholstery operations in 2020.

The company said that Lovegrove will collaborate closely with O’Connor and Lookabill to “drive strategic initiatives and innovation within Universal Furniture’s designs. Together, they aim to capitalize on emerging trends, enhance product offerings and reinforce Universal Furniture’s position as a whole home leader in the furniture marketplace.”

Universal said that Lovegrove’s leadership role at Four Hands expanded the category into the “largest product segment at the company. With a career distinguished by domestic and imported furniture expertise, Lovegrove brings a unique skill set to Universal Furniture, poised to drive innovation and growth within the upholstery segment.”

“The upholstery business at Universal has been a focal point in our growth strategy, aimed at expanding design appeal and growing sales,” O’Connor said. “The rapid expansion of this division necessitated the creation of this role, and Rick’s extensive industry experience positions him perfectly to lead and further accelerate our momentum.”

“Rick’s proven track record in scaling businesses within the furniture sector aligns with our vision for Universal Furniture’s future,” O’Connor added. “His leadership will be instrumental as we continue to innovate and meet the evolving demands of our customers.”

Lovegrove said he looks forward to this next step in his industry career.

“I am truly excited to join the Universal team,” he said. “The growth of the brand over the last couple of years has been exciting to witness, and I can’t wait to build and scale the next generation of the upholstery business.” 

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 tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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