With hardly a heads up to employees – and virtually nothing told to reps or retailers – Kenroy Home shut its doors on Friday, August 18. Even long-time company veterans found out via an internal memo from Karena Parliment, President.
I heard the news from an employee, who had been with the company for 15 years and was understandably saddened by the news as well as its abruptness. Kenroy Home (also known as Kenroy International) has been in the lighting business since the 1950s, under several owners, which at one time included Hunter Lighting Group. At the time of its closure, it was owned by private equity firm Arch Equity Partners (AEP), which concentrates on “investments in companies in the lower middle market, principally in the consumer, industrial, distribution and services industries.” It also maintained two permanent market showrooms, one in Dallas Market Center and the other in High Point.
Other companies owned by AEP include: Chandler Industries, a multi-site contract manufacturer specializing in precision machining, sheet metal fabrication, and complex assembly for the aerospace, defense, medical, industrial and electronics markets; and Heat Transfer Tubular Products (HTT Products), a specialized distributor of tubing and related products for industrial applications involving heat exchangers, condensers, boilers, feel-water heaters, economizers, and similar equipment.
My source at Kenroy Home likened the situation to what happened to Klaussner Furniture just weeks ago on August 8 (see Furniture Today’s article here). In Klaussner’s case, the 60-year-old furniture company had changed hands several times and blamed the closure on its bank as well as difficulty with its main overseas supplier. “While our eCommerce arm (particularly Amazon) was performing above expectations, it wasn’t enough to shoulder the problems we faced with our supply chain for our larger brick and mortar retail partners,” my source revealed.
Klaussner Furniture and Kenroy are not alone in the sudden closures in the home furnishings industry. In late June, a 91-year-old custom upholstery manufacturer (also in North Carolina) shut down unexpectedly and renowned manufacturer Lane Furniture shuttered its doors just as suddenly last November after 110 years in business. On August 28, Home Accents Today has reported that home furnishings manufacturer and retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams closed its doors and immediately laid off its staff over the weekend. The company operated three plants in North Carolina.
* CORRECTION. Previously, I erroneously reported that Kenroy Home was an ESOP, when actually past president Bob Pape informed me that “Kenroy Home was purchased from Hunter Fan Company by a group of long-time employees whose hard work and professionalism allowed the company to pay off the acquisition debt in record time during the Great Recession and sell Arch Equity a profitable, growing business.”