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Spiro Laousis talks about furniture in his Amor plant in Ramseur.   Larry Penkava/Randolph Hub

Ramseur furniture maker steps in where Klaussner, United left off

RAMSEUR — Amor Furniture and Bedding hopes to help fill the gap left by the closures of United Furniture and Klaussner Home Furnishings.


The Ramseur-based furniture manufacturer has bought the former Benchcraft Upholstery building in Staley, including all the contents, fixtures, machinery and even fabric. The company had closed last year with the death of its owner, Craig Wright.


Besides building its own product line of promotional furniture, Amor had also contracted with Klaussner to build some of its products. “They didn’t have enough workers,” said Spiro Laousis, president of Amor. “Then they got workers from United (after that company closed last year). Now the market is flooded with people looking for jobs (after Klaussner announced the ending of operations on Aug. 7).”


According to a press release, the acquisition and revamping of the Benchcraft facility will make room for “Amor's new mid-priced lineup that will be debuted at market in High Point in October.”


Laousis said his “designers and company scrambled to create identical knock-offs of the now defunct United/Lane Furniture's best sellers. He explained that to insure authenticity and maintain the quality and spirit of United/Lane, Amor Furniture purchased most of United/Lane's Trinity plant #31 production plant intact from the bankruptcy. He transported 30-odd trailers worth of raw material, patterns, fabric and frames to Staley and now has United/Lane's plant replicated at the former Benchcraft, now Amor Furniture's new plant.”


In an interview at the Amor Ramseur plant last week, Laousis said, “We’ve become a beacon of hope, a reincarnation of United.” That’s not only for workers who lost their jobs at United and Klaussner but also for suppliers of those two now-defunct manufacturers. “They’re looking at us as saviors,” he said.


“With people putting their hopes on us, it’s added pressure to get up and running,” Laousis said. That requires a marketing and sales team to sell furniture and getting the factories up and running. Those who have worked for United would be a plus since the sales representatives have contacts with customers and the workers are familiar with the products.


“United 2 will be separate from Amor,” said Laousis. United made furniture at a mid-price range while Amor produces at a lower price range. He plans to use United’s method of producing at high efficiency, with each worker doing an individual job rather than making a piece from the bottom up. That goes back to Henry Ford’s assembly line production of cars.


Laousis said that by streamlining the process he hopes to go from producing dozens of pieces a day to thousands. And, he’ll focus on United’s styles that were the top 20 lines that made up 80 percent of sales.


“We’re the only company to fill the gap that United left,” he said. “It was the second-largest furniture manufacturer in the world. Somebody has to fill the void.”


While other manufacturers were buying up United’s finished goods, Amor was focused on United’s raw goods, such as upholstery kits. A kit consists of pre-cut fabric produced overseas at a cheaper cost. Upholsterers then use the kits to cover the frames.


“We’ll be building from kits to put in stock,” Laousis said. “Then we can ship an order within days.”


Just as important, he said, is consistency. “Quality includes consistency, which is very important. You make sure you’re putting out your best effort. What goes out the door is what a customer expects.”


Laousis said he started in retail furniture when he got out of the Army, selling to the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia markets. His Casa Furniture was listed in the Top 100 stores in the country.


One of his suppliers was Carolina Furniture on Pleasant Ridge Road south of Ramseur. When Carolina went bankrupt in 2010, Laousis bought the company and started Amor. He still uses the Carolina facility to build frames.


His main upholstery factory is on Greenhill Road, at the site of the former John Plant Company. He’ll continue to produce there under the Amor name while building United 2 furniture in Staley.


“Amor means love,” Laousis said. “I love furniture. This is what we love to do. You can love it, too.”


Amor Furniture and Bedding, LLC, is hiring all positions from new sales representatives to upholsterers. Experience with Lane/United is a plus. Call 336-795-1077 or email to sales@amorfurniture.com for more information or to apply.