Archive for March, 2012

Why Buy Commercial Grade Furniture?

Your local retail store has a great looking set of bar stools, and you wonder if they’ll work in your bar or restaurant. You only need a few outdoor dining tables and chairs for your cafe’s small outside patio, and you wonder if you can pick them up at your local discount center. Your friend just got a great table at the local furniture store, and you think the design will be a great fit for your restaurant or public dining hall.

Wait! Are they commercial grade?

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There really is a difference between the quality of furniture designed for residential use and the tables, chairs, and bar stools used in commercial settings.  Commercial restaurant and hospitality industry furniture must undergo stability, durability, and weight testing to meet the commercial grade standards.  These standards are designed to ensure the repetitive usage of the product by people of all shapes and sizes.  Much like you would expect your restaurant’s ovens, mixers, and freezers to be of a different grade than your house’s kitchen appliances, the furniture should also stand up to the commercial grade tests.  Designed for heavy everyday use, commercial furniture can withstand the rigors of the hospitality industry and typically outlast their consumer grade counterparts.  The same is true for office chairs; commercial office chairs are designed to be sat in for ten hours a day, seven days a week, while your home office chair is made for more light duty work.

For example, metal chairs and bar stools designed for home use usually are constructed of 20-22 gauge steel frames.  Commercial metal chairs and commercial metal bar stools tend to feature frames of 16-18 gauge steel.  The lower the gauge number, the better the quality when it comes to strength and durability.  Another example is the type of wood wooden chairs and bar stools are made from.  Many consumer products made for the home are built with rubberwood.  However, commercial grade wooden chairs and commercial wooden bar stools usually are constructed of beechwood, a better quality wood.

Why is this important to you?  For one, even though the upfront cost of a commercial grade chair may be more than a consumer grade chair, you want to avoid the costs (and hassle) of fixing or replacing your restaurant chairs in the future.  Also, local retail stores change out their inventory frequently, and if you want to replace a chair for a matching one, you take the risk of not finding the same chair again if you rely on your local store.  Secondly, you want to prevent as many accidents as possible, and by using the right commercial grade furniture, you reduce the risk of injury.  Residential-designed chairs or bar stools could break and send a customer tumbling to the floor.  In addition to someone getting hurt, the costs of settling accident reports and incidents can be great for a business.

That’s why we caution you to buy commercial grade for your business. Look for high quality furniture with added braces and supports, and prevent the hassle you could face if you don’t buy commercial restaurant furniture.

Church Chairs v. Pews: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Churches, especially start-ups, must decide between using church chairs or pews in their sanctuaries. But what’s the difference? What are the pros and cons of each choice?  Here are some thoughts that I hope will help make your choice easier.

SPACE/LAYOUT     How your sanctuary or meeting room is laid out and how much space you have is an obvious consideration.  Would long pews fit and give the attendees in every pew/seat a good view of the pulpit?  Is there space for an aisle and walkways if you use pews?  If you are using the space for multiple functions, would the flexibility and mobility of church chairs be a better fit for the space? If your location is not a permanent location, then adding pews could be high risk if you move into a new facility that doesn’t support a similar layout or functionality.  Church chairs can be moved out of the way, stacked for storage, and easily set up in different configurations or ganged together (with the included ganging brackets) for the ultimate in convenience and choice when it comes to space and layout.  Pews, on the other hand, cannot.

COST     The upfront cost between church chairs and pews differs greatly.  Church chairs are much less expensive for the initial purchase than pews, which are often hand-crafted from wood.  However, church chairs often need repaired or replaced before a long-lasting pew, so there could be additional costs after the initial purchase.  For a start-up church though, the initial budget is probably a little tighter and cost could be a deciding factor.

COMFORT     If you have a lot of young families in your church, pews make it easy for the kids to sprawl out (or squish together) and offer a surface to color in their coloring books or play on while keeping occupied so as not to disturb the rest of the congregation.  If you have a lot of older members in your church, a soft, padded church chair is going to be very comfortable during the hour -long sermon.  Where pews can have a hard back and sometimes a hard seat, chairs are much softer.  Church chairs give each person a pre-defined amount of space and wiggle room.  For adults, this might feel more comfortable, because we tend to want a set amount of personal space.

BOOKS & BULLETINS     Pews and church chairs are tied neck-to-neck on this consideration, because there are typically book racks attached to the back of pews, and church chairs offer a book rack beneath the seat and a pocket in the back, as well.  Both options offer the convenience of holding your Bible, hymnal, and program/bulletin during each service.

STYLE/AESTHETICS     When it comes to style, it is usually left to personal opinion.  There’s no denying the old world style and ultimate beauty of rows of wooden pews in a traditional style church.  However, church chairs offer a more modern and contemporary feel to a church’s setting.  Aesthetically speaking, both can be arranged in a neat and orderly manner, making either choice a beautiful edition to your sanctuary.

For churches looking to purchase church chairs or pews, please feel free to post your additional questions or comments below to help add to this debate.

Making a Difference Beyond Tables, Chairs, and Bar Stools

Eighty (80) people will be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes today in the U.S.  They will hear the words, “You have diabetes,” and learn that this life sentence of finger pricking, accounting and adjusting food intake, measuring exercise and stress impacts, giving themselves insulin injections – sometimes in the middle of the night, and facing the real fear of death every day will change their life as they know it forever.

That’s why we are happy to join the fight for a cure.  We have donated an auction package for the upcoming 15th Annual Beach Ball Gala hosted by the Northwest Pennsylvania branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  The event takes place on Saturday, March 24, at the Ambassador Center in Erie, Pa., and it will feature a “Pirates of the Cure-ibbean” theme.  One of our staff will be volunteering at this event, and we are all excited to help raise funds for the national research that is being done to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Our commitment to giving back extends further than participating in local events.  We know that as a national company, our corporate giving must impact neighborhoods across the U.S., where all our customers live and work.

You are probably familiar with the ABC hit TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  We had the privilege to help furnish Logan’s Locker Room when the Hall family had their house made over in an episode last spring.   We were very thrilled to be a small part of the project that transformed the Hall family’s lives!

ESPN also broadcast an extreme makeover of their own in a show called Rise Up.  To give the Athletics Department a hand, ESPN organized for Chicago’s William H. Dyett High School to be made over.  When they called us looking for some seating solutions, we were excited to make the donation to help this school and their students out.  You can watch the big reveal and see just how excited the students are to have a new place for sports and recreation.

What’s more, after their school was given a fresh new look this fall, a team of faculty and students went into the community to help build a playground as a way to pay it forward.  Now, that warms our hearts and gives us more reason to keep giving in the future.

While we cannot support every cause, we do like to take advantage of the giving opportunities that arise that meet our own company’s vision for a brighter world.  Good fortune has blessed us in many ways, and we are eager to pay that good fortune forward – just as those high school students in Chicago.  Donating to local youth organizations and allowing our staff to sell their children’s school or sports team fundraisers to their coworkers helps create a charitable work environment.  We hope you’ll join us in giving back to your community.

Here are a few online resources that may inspire you to get involved:
www.volunteermatch.org
www.charitynavigator.org
www.serve.gov