Grainger Today Editor
BEAN STATION – Sexton Furniture Manufacturing, LLC (SFM) is continuing to expand its business, increasing employment opportunities for area residents.
In an effort to increase its business, SFM recently purchased Bushline Furniture, in Tazewell. Bushline is a producer of furnishings for the rent-to-own market.
Owner/CEO Jerry Sexton said the opportunity to purchase the company came about when the company’s owners wanted to retire, but also wanted to keep the business open for their customers and employees. “We have dedicated, talented employees there,” Sexton said.
Since SFM purchased Bushline, the staff has increased by 20 employees. Currently, the company is investing in its new facility, and has purchased CNC fabric, wood cutting and sewing machines.
Sexton said his goal is to promote economic development within the district he serves as State Representative. He said the company is also expanding its market share in the furniture manufacturing industry by entering different specific markets, including the hospitality, college and retail furnishings markets.
Products produced by SFM can be found in the hospitality market in Gatlinburg, Sevierville and other areas.
In the past, SFM was primarily focused on producing lift chairs for the healthcare market, Sexton said. Two years ago the company made a small-scale venture into the college market, and began producing dorm furniture and furnishings including sofas, love seats, chairs, ottomans and sectionals for lobby areas and apartments.
“Then last year, the college market boomed,” said Matt Sexton, president of SFM and Bushline. “The business more than quadrupled in one year.”
SFM has a warehouse and conducts some manufacturing in the Morristown area, where it has a retail outlet located at 1 Berkline Drive. Berkline part replacement sales are handled by SFM.
Between its three facilities, the company has more than 500,000 square feet of production and warehouse space.
The company provides OEM manufacturing to provide products for companies who sell the furnishings under their own brand.
SFM participates in the Highpoint Market each year. According to Highpoint Market’s website, it is “the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world.”
SFM also operates its own trucking companies, Grainger Roadway Logistics and Bush Motor Freight. Despite currently handling more than 90 percent of its own product delivery, the company is looking to increase its portion of trucking.
“In light of a lot of our industry being moved overseas, and especially how this area was a strong furniture manufacturing town, we’ve been able to form niche markets and continue to grow, from the inception of the company more than 30 years ago,” Jerry Sexton said. “There is greater and greater demand for American-manufactured furniture. The perception is it will continue to grow. That’s another reason we were compelled to purchase Bushline.”