Furniture designer’s pivot during the pandemic yielded a more well-rounded company
What began as a custom furniture supplier with contracts ranging from individuals to exclusive housing developments to hospitality businesses (including U.S. embassies and U.S. State Department facilities) has blossomed into a boutique interior design firm with a client focus second to none and a record of converting client desires into personalized, functional spaces for homes and commercial buildings.
In an interview with Carolina Home & Garden, April Gahagan-Fore details how FS Design weathered the pandemic and came out stronger.
Furniture Specialties’ clientele ranges from individuals to exclusive housing developments to hospitality businesses. They even build upholstered pieces for U.S. embassies and U.S. State Department facilities — “a great contract,” says April Gahagan-Fore, a mother of four who owns the company with her husband Bryan.
And yet the pandemic profoundly affected how Furniture Specialties did business. “We can’t deny how scary it’s been,” she says. “It changed everything for us, but most of the changes ended up being positive. We came together more as a staff.”
The company is divided into three broad categories: custom-made upholstered furniture and reupholstering services, full design services (Furniture Specialties Design Group), and a five-state division that repairs under-warranty furniture from major retailers like La-Z-Boy (Furniture Pros).
CH&G: It goes without saying that you wear many hats …
CH&G: Your work ethic is stellar. How did it develop?
CH&G: Do you have a hand in the “nuts and bolts” manufacturing end of the business, as well as the design part?
CH&G: What happened when the pandemic hit full force?
CH&G: It sounds like you pivoted a lot, too.
CH&G: How do you build strong relationships with clients?
CH&G: How do you deal with Supply-chain shortages still causing lengthy delays?
CH&G: Any interiors trends you’re happy to see?
Furniture Specialties, 7 Ramsey Road, Asheville, 828-683-1177, furniturespecialtiesinc.com, open by appointment only.