If you have not already visited North End Furniture and Mattresses, and you are on the hunt for great quality furniture at great prices, it is most definitely worth your while to pay them a visit. Located in the West End industrial area of Orangeville, North End is a pleasant surprise and a definite departure from your typical big box furniture store. I had the pleasure to sit down with Barathan Suthakar, co-owner and manager of the Orangeville location who filled me in on their modest beginnings, history and plans for the future.
Barathan, originally from Sri Lanka, moved to Vancouver with his family as a child and then later to Brampton, ON. He started a college program in business after graduating high school, but his real-life experience led him down another path and into the family business at a young age. His father Thambi worked for a large furniture distributor, and they recognized the potential to fill a market niche. Their first location opened in Brampton 10 years ago, and it quickly grew to become one of the busiest and most reputable stores in the area. With a focus on high quality furniture at reasonable prices, their mantra is simple – keep overhead low so that they can offer their customers the best prices on the market. With suppliers all over the world, including China, Viet Nam, Malaysia and Brazil, they offer their customers a broad range of brands and products ranging from value to luxury and beyond.
Already renting space in Orangeville for storage and distribution, they knew there was a segment of the market that was not being addressed by other local providers, and they saw the potential for a retail store front. Open for just over a year now, they have had a strong start despite the challenges of COVID shutdowns and being the new kid on the block. Primarily driven by social media, they enjoy a busy walk-in clientele and a steady stream of call ins from their advertisements. “COVID has actually had a positive impact on the growth of our local business” says Barathan. “Many people are renovating their homes instead of going away on vacation, and they want new furniture pieces to complement their renovations.”
Being a wholesaler/distributor also has its advantages when it comes to availability of inventory and speed of delivery to the consumer. While many big box chains are struggling to get orders out to their customers due to supply chain issues, North End Furniture has been able to continue to provide quick deliveries due to large on hand inventory quantities and long-term relationships with their suppliers. They can also provide much more competitive pricing for the same or similar pieces due to lower overhead costs and better control over their import inventory. In addition, they are able to react quickly to market trends, and have access to a wider range of available products due to their global supply chain.
Some of the current and most popular trends as we move into 2021 include:
Comfortable, practical, and available in configurations to fit any room, this continues to be one of the top furniture trends. With the flexibility to be moved or separated into sofa beds, armchairs or switched up for different recreational or family needs, the many options available make this the number one choice for rec rooms and formal living alike. Neutral colours still rule in this department, but some suppliers offer bold and trendy colours for those who are willing to take a little bit of a risk in their choices!
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
The move towards sustainability in society has sparked new furniture trends and a love for the classic flare of vintage furniture pieces.
With so many people upcycling and refinishing well loved pieces from the past, furniture suppliers are designing entire lines with a vintage flair for those who are not willing to take on the challenge of refinishing original pieces themselves.
Classic and Timeless with a modern flair, styles range from retro, Scandinavian and modern to rustic and eclectic.
As one might expect, 21st century furniture trends are starting to include a plethora of technological advances. Aimed at increasing comfort and convenience, features include adjustable seating and armrests, automatic recliners, heated cushions, targeted lumbar supports, USB ports and LED Lights are increasingly popular, and provide modern conveniences to suit many needs.
While simple and modern are still on the top of the list as far as popular design goes, many pieces now feature subtle or bold accents made from wood, metal, copper, or contrasting fabric colours. Wooden armrest and bases, metal rivets in gold, brass or silver, metal inserts in interesting shapes and colours, and backrest accents from classic to diamond shaped provide an interesting and updated flare to both classic and modern pieces alike, and serve to offer a departure from the ordinary.
What’s next for North End Furniture? Barathan and his family intend to focus on expansion of their product offering to include local and Canadian-made furniture lines including Ashley Furniture and other well-known brands. They will be growing their luxury and designer lines currently featured in their store to address the high end and design market, and also plan to include small accessories and accent pieces to compliment their current offering and make it a one stop shopping experience.When asked about their business plan, Barathan simply replied “Our goal is to ensure that every customer can find something that fits their individual taste and budget. We want to make sure that we are the number one shopping destination for furniture in Orangeville and the surrounding areas, and we look forward to serving the community for a long time to come”.
North End Furniture is still offering online and curbside pickup and delivery services. Their showroom is located at 80 Centennial Road, Unit 8, Orangeville. You can visit their website at www.northendfurniture.com to view their online catalogue, or call the store for orders or information at 647-802-8027.
WRITTEN BY: TANYA BOTTOMLEY | PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL SPEARS