P.T. Universal Furniture Industries enters U.S. marketplace
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, September 1, 2009
After investing more than $5 million to expand his factory, office and warehouse facilities, Owner Hatta Sinatra and Managing Director Susanto Tjunda will debut P.T. Universal Furniture Industries' products at this month's International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market in Chicago.
As sole owner of P.T. Universal and several other factories producing mid- to high-end indoor and outdoor furnishings and accessories, Sinatra oversees a 1 million-sq.-ft. production and warehouse facility that employs more than 8,000 in Java, Indonesia.
"This was not just a commitment from Hatta's side, but is today already a reality and the factories are ready to go — serving the U.S. market, no matter how many containers will be required," said Klaus Ebel, former head of Ebel Inc., who brings years of experience in the U.S. market to coordinate the P.T. Universal Furniture launch. "It is Hatta's philosophy to first ensure that his factories can supply orders, and not have to struggle and possibly disappoint customers with delayed shipments."
Ebel noted the downturn in the U.S. economy was on the horizon when Sinatra and Tjunda made the commitment to rent showroom space in Chicago. Ebel described Sinatra as "Hatta the Engine" in a new book, "The Legend of Hularo," which was released in time for this month's Spoga trade show, where the company has exhibited for two decades.
"As usual, he (Sinatra) had the right feeling by watching the world markets constantly, and now we are happy to hear comments were made after the July premarket that many cautious dealers have empty warehouses" and are looking for new products and suppliers in Chicago, Ebel said.
"After committing in 2008 to the ICFM booth, we reduced our expectations to a very low point under the motto 'Rather expect less and be surprised than have high expectation and be disappointed later,'" Ebel said. "We are convinced the U.S. economy will slowly but surely recover and will be up again at this time in 2010, which will bring P.T. Universal Furniture Industries ahead of its hesitating competitors not participating in this year's show. And why wait another year if we are 100% ready to go now in all aspects?"
Referring to this year's economic downturn, Ebel remained upbeat. "Sure, this was not foreseeable when we were committing in 2008, but dealers are always interested in seeing and comparing newcomers with the good, old and established suppliers — no matter what the economy will look like."
For the past two decades, P.T. Universal's furniture has been sold in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Africa through a network of dealers and distributors. Some of its indoor lines were exhibited at the High Point Market in April and will be shown there again next month.
The company's plans include adding some of its outdoor furniture products to its indoor display at the Oct. 17–22 High Point Market. It also will present photos, brochures and fabric swatches in Chicago to offer casual furniture dealers a sampling of P.T. Universal's indoor capabilities. That crossover ability will benefit a number of casual furniture dealers who carry dinettes during their off-season or indoor furniture retailers who also sell outdoor products.
"By doing so, we are seeing a great opportunity for both indoor and outdoor dealers to get everything from one source at our factories," Ebel said. "Furthermore, one of the newest introductions in Chicago will be groups in the newly created category of upholstered outdoor furniture which, needless to say, also will fit into any indoor display as well."
Promising more surprises are planned to be released during the Chicago Casual Market, Ebel invites all interested parties at the Merchandise Mart — whether dealers, distributors, reps or competitors — to visit its booth at 8-1062 to review the products on display. A limited number of copies of the newly released book, "The Legend of Hularo," written by Hatta Sinatra and contributing writers from within the industry, will be available.