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Storey-Kenworthy wins contract from ISU


Storey-Kenworthy Inc.’s new Ames showroom and distribution facility may already be paying off.

The company, the state’s largest family-owned office interior and products business, has won a contract to supply Iowa State University with office furniture for the next five years. That agreement could be worth nearly $2.5 million if the university maintains its current level of spending. The school has an option to extend the contract twice, for two years each time, which could add another $2 million to its value.

Founded in 1936, Storey-Kenworthy sells and markets office furniture made by HON Industries Inc. and its Allsteel unit. It also sells furniture and office products make by Steelcase through its WorkSpace Inc. subsidiary.      In winning the contract from Iowa State, Storey-Kenworthy beat out rivals representing other major manufacturers, including Herman Miller, Knoll, Haworth and Iowa Prison Industries.

“It’s a great statement for an Iowa manufacturer,” said Dave Kenworthy, Storey-Kenworthy’s president. “This is a significant contract from our standpoint.”

Storey-Kenworthy may also have unlocked another opportunity that could lead to significant new sales. Under the terms of the agreement with Iowa State, Storey-Kenworthy said it would give other state and local government entities to right to purchase office furniture at the same prices it’s charging Iowa State.

The move could save municipalities and state agencies a great deal of money because it would let them take advantage of the bulk rates that Iowa State has negotiated.

It could also give Storey-Kenworthy access to new customers that have been difficult to win because of competitive bidding requirements and other factors that can make dealing with governments time-consuming and difficult.

Iowa State has been working on a new furniture contract since October. The school picked Storey-Kenworthy because of the products it sells and the prices it charges, according to Nancy Brooks, the university’s associate director of purchasing. It didn’t hurt that the furniture Storey-Kenworthy sells is made in Iowa.

“They’ve got an excellent product at a very good price,” she said. “We’re happy, too, to know that it’s an Iowa-manufactured product.”

Storey-Kenworthy’s flagship store in Des Moines is located at 1333 Ohio St. WorkSpace is located at 309 Locust St. Another factor that may have helped the company is its new showroom and warehouse space in Ames. Storey-Kenworthy recently moved that operation from Main Street to a 12,000-square-foot retail and warehouse building at 424 S. Bell Ave.

The company also has locations in Fort Dodge, Mason City, Decorah and Spirit Lake. It employs about 100 workers.

Last month, Storey-Kenworthy opened a new retailing center called Business Furniture Warehouse in a cavernous building along Meredith Drive near Interstate 35-80 in Urbandale.

The new store sells a wide range of used furniture at a variety of price levels, including chairs that range in price from $29 to $600.   

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