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Triplett Company doubles down


  The Triplett Cos, have an inordinate amount of furniture to move when they consolidate their four operations under one roof.

In addition to moving the offices of its 42 employees, the company is also responsible for transporting the wares it sells as owners of the Office Furniture USA franchise in Urbandale. Effective Jan. 1, the Office Furniture USA showroom will move from its current retail outlet at 2653 100th St. to the company’s two-story corporate headquarters at 3553 109th St., where it will occupy the first floor.

The move not only allows the company to operate more efficiently by combining its retail and contractor divisions, it offers more showroom space, said Tom Triplett, co-vice-president of Triplett Cos. The corporate location houses more than 30,000 square feet, including a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, 6,000 square feet for offices on the second floor and 6,000 square feet for the showroom. The company’s previous showroom had 5,000 square feet and Triplett said the extra space in the new showroom is needed.

“We have a lot of products for our 2003 program and this room allows us to meet our expansion needs,” said Triplett about the family owned and operated company. “It gives us a better retail presence and customers will be able to see it and feel it.”

In addition to moving its furniture business, the company will relocate its office supplies, contractor, ad specialties and color printing operations to the new building.

Triplett said the company decided to relocate Office Furniture USA because its five-year lease expires at the end of the year and it didn’t want to extend the lease. The company recently purchased land near the Super Target store in Urbandale, on Northwest Urbandale Drive, and one day plans to expand its operations there. It is also considering opening a store in Cedar Rapids or the Quad Cities, Triplett said.

“When the business is ready to expand, we’ll be ready to go in terms of having land to build on,” Triplett said of the Urbandale site.

The company secured exclusive rights to the fast-growing Office Furniture USA franchise in Iowa five years ago and has another store in Dubuque. When Triplett first partnered with Office Furniture USA, the retail chain was only three years old and had 121 stores nationwide. Today, the franchise has more than 350 stores.

The Triplett Cos. has not set a date to build a new store. Triplett, a member of the furniture industry Dealer 20 group, an organization of Midwest presidents and owners from non-competing markets, said furniture sales have been flat for the last six years.

“We’re having a flat year again,” said Triplett. “Furniture sales nationwide have been that way since 1996.”

Triplett said he expects the next year’s line of furniture to spark sales. He said its contemporary designs, combined with its mobility and versatility, better meets the demands of his customers than any other line.

“People want furniture that is contemporary, but also offers the richness of traditional furniture,” he said.

Despite lackluster furniture sales, Triplett said other areas of the business are growing. The company’s moving and consulting operations are in demand as more people build home offices or companies move corporate locations and seek assistance on how to design and best utilize office space. The company even added an ad specialties division, and its printing and office supplies divisions continue to make profits.

“You have to diversify to stay competitive in this market,” Triplett said. “We continue to position ourselves to offer a complete package.”  

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