By John Lovett
Times Record • firstname.lastname@example.org
FFO Home consolidated its corporate offices, manufacturing and distributions operations recently into its new corporate headquarters in Fort Smith.
The headquarters for the regional home furnishings chain moved from Muldrow over the past two months to the former Whirlpool distribution center on Jenny Lind Road owned by Spartan Logistics. Gov. Asa Hutchinson helped make the announcement in July at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce offices.
“We couldn’t have have come here without the help of Spartan Logistics, the Arkansas government, the chamber and the business community,” FFO Home President and CEO Larry Zigerelli said Monday at a ceremonial ribbon cutting. “Everyone has welcomed us tremendously.”
Zigerelli said the 31-year-old company moved the operations of five buildings in Muldrow under one roof. They currently have 65 employees and occupy 185,000 square feet of the 600,000-square-foot building. All of the corporate and office staff, mattress and chair manufacturing, and distribution operations are contained in the headquarters.
FFO Home has growth plans that will take up another 120,000 square feet of space at the center and add more jobs, Zigerelli added.
“We’re really excited and glad to be part of the community and we intend increase our activity here in the city,” Zigerelli said.
Gary Cooper, vice president of logistics and facilities, said the company has previously aimed to open a new FFO Home outlet each financial quarter in the four states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. With more space, they now aim to open two stores per quarter. Cooper and Zigerelli credited the regional chamber of commerce, Spartan Logistics founder Ed Harmon and Bob Cooper of R.H. Ghan & Cooper Commercial Property for making the move possible.
All 65 employees chose to stay with the company during the transition to Fort Smith from Muldrow, Cooper said. The company formerly known as Furniture Factory Outlet has a long history with Fort Smith. The first FFO opened on Rogers Avenue in 1984.
There are now 36 stores across a four-state region. Six of the stores have opened in the past 18 months, and plans are in place for continued store expansion. Zigerelli said in a news release that the “strategic facility not only enables us to operate in a more efficient and effective manner, but importantly provides the foundation to meet our aggressive long term company growth plan.”
Cooper said they area already seeing dividends on the move in the form of faster decision making. Plans to grow were worked into the current design, he added.
Behind the office’s “war room,” and conference room, there is a new video production studio operated by William Pfeiler.
A bed manufacturing facility at the new headquarters puts out 300 to 400 beds a day, and about 300 chairs a week. Bed frames are contracted out, and the beds are assembled on site.
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