Kravet’s purchase of Directional Tomlinson keeps its focus on quality

With its recent purchase of the Directional Tomlinson portfolio of companies, home furnishing source Kravet not only acquired a group of brands with a rich legacy at the high end, but also a dedicated manufacturing operation that has made products for its line for many years.

“I think the easiest way to understand it is that Kravet was the largest customer of Directional Tomlinson, and they were an important vendor to us,” Cary Kravet, CEO of the Bethpage, New York-based company, told Home News Now. “And it just made sense to acquire the company after the 25-year relationship we’ve had and the need for succession at Directional Tomlinson.”

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Kravet’s acquisition includes the Directional, Tomlinson and Carter brands.

The purchase, completed early last month, included the Tomlinson and Directional brands, as well as upholstery resource Carter.  It also included Tomlinson’s 135,000-square-foot production facilities in Thomasville, North Carolina, that employ just under 100 people.

Kravet said that the company expects to continue to sell those brands through its current channels of distribution and also through Kravet’s current channels.

“There are some of the same customers but not too many,” he said. “It’s really about securing a source of supply that has really good quality. We have had so few problems with their quality, and our customers are very pleased with what they have received from Directional Tomlinson. We just acquired one of our key suppliers that is a very good manufacturer.”

He added that the company offers brands with a storied history — dating back to the formation of the Standard Chair company in 1898 that later became known as Erwin-Lambeth, which later merged with Tomlinson — and a rich archive of product designs.

He noted that the first sectional he ever purchased many years back was from Directional. And the desk where he sits in his office is a Directional desk that once belonged to his grandfather.

“So, I have a personal affection for the brand,” he said, noting that they also offer individual style directions to the portfolio, with Tomlinson leaning more traditional to transitional and Directional leaning more transitional to modern in its aesthetic.

Kravet also has a storied history that dates back to its founding by Cary Kravet’s great-grandfather around 1918. Today, its principal brands in the U.S. include Kravet, Lee Jofa, Brunschwig & Fils, and Donghia. At the High Point Market, it shows in Space 117 of 200 Steele.

The Tomlinson showroom at 525 N. Wrenn St. in High Point was not part of the sale, as that property has been sold to Etc for the Home, based in Bloomington, Indiana. Thus, Kravet said it was too early to say when the brands would show again in High Point.

And because of the extensive palette of designs to pull from, the company also is determining the most relevant products to retailers and designers to keep active moving forward.

“We are still exploring it,” Kravet said. “There is a very rich archive of designs at both Tomlinson and Directional.”

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