One couple with great aspirations certainly had their work cut out for them when they decided to purchase a struggling furniture company with a sterling reputation.
That company, L. & J.G. Stickley, was known for its beautiful furniture and fine workmanship, but had only 25 employees and $235,000 in annual sales in 1974 when Alfred and Aminy Audi took over its helm.
That same company now boasts 1,500 employees, 14 company-owned showrooms throughout the country, 150 dealers nationwide and an international division. In addition, the company is “continuously investing in new designs and technology to keep ahead of the curve,” Aminy Audi, president and chief executive officer of L. & J.G. Stickley, said. “We are a company on the move. We also have purchased five other companies over the years – including John Widdicomb, the crown jewel of the furniture industry and more recently Nichols & Stone.”
“In the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, the company was successful, but after Mr. Stickley’s death in 1957, his wife Louise inherited the business and it was difficult for her,” said Audi. “Many of the dealers gave up – they’d have to wait two years for their order to come in.”
She and her husband, who passed away in 2007, decided on a game plan for making the company a success.
“When we first bought Stickley, our first priority was to hire and train the right people, then introduce new product and open new dealers,” Audi said. “Over the years we have also diversified our product offering. In addition to our trademark Mission style, which we reissued in 1989, we now offer contemporary, traditional and casual designs. The upholstery and leather, which we manufacture in our plant in North Carolina, represent the softer side of Stickley. Comfortable and cutting edge, they are available in over a thousand fabrics and leather. Our large gallery of Oriental rugs, many of which we design and import directly, represent a great value and add beauty to any room,” Audi said.