Snohomish County office furniture sellers see economic uptick

One sure sign that Snohomish County’s economy is gaining strength: Small- to medium-sized businesses are buying office furniture and cubicles again.

It’s a trend seen by Bank on Us Office Furniture Installation in Arlington and Everett Office Furniture in Everett, businesses that specialize in office furniture and installation.

“I’d say the number of small- and medium-sized businesses in the county is growing,” said Bank on Us co-owner Bob Watkins. “They’re adding employees and they’re frustrated because they can’t find the help they need to build cubicles or equip offices for the increased staff with a quick response. They can’t sit around waiting but they can’t find the help they need either.”

Watkins owns Bank on Us with his wife Lisa and they have been organizing space and installing office furniture in Snohomish County for more than 20 years.

Everett Office Furniture is a mid-priced retailer, not handling a lot of high-end furniture or the budget pieces but targeting the middle market that accounts for most of his business.

“We sell more new than used furniture but we like to buy from businesses that are closing or want to get rid of excess furniture. Sometimes chairs wear out but desks will stay in good condition for a long time so people get a good value,” Brian Hollingshead, who owns Everett Office Furniture said.

Bank on Us and Everett Office Furniture have a friendly relationship. When the Watkins need furnishings, one of the places they go to most often is Everett Office Furniture, which also has its own installation crew.

“Bob has his own set of customers but when we get busy we refer him to one of our customers, he buys the furnishings from us and gets the work done,” Hollingshead said.

The businesses compete with larger suppliers in Kent and Tukwila. The recovering economy has increased the number of businesses who need help with furnishings.

Bank on Us regularly receives calls from businesses hiring new employees, moving to larger offices or setting up a new business and want help planning office layouts, finding the right furniture, setting up advanced filing systems and making business environments comfortable and attractive.

“Furnishing businesses is a technical business but, fortunately, Bob has an unusual gift for being able to look at an office space and visualize how many cubicles are needed for various numbers of people and plan the whole layout in his head, then he finalizes the layout on paper with measurements,” said Lisa Watkins about her husband.

“Working together we’re able to help businesses in planning how space will be used to make employees comfortable. We don’t just move furniture, we handle the whole office layout process, whether it’s a couple of cubicles or 100 or more.”

In addition to Bank on Us, the Watkins run River Rock Inn bed and breakfast in the wooded hills south of Arlington.

One part of their business is handling internal moves.

“One client with more than 500 employees wanted to bring a smaller group of employees together to work on a particular project for six months,” Lisa Watkins said. “We moved furniture, packed boxes, computers, chairs and accessories to a new temporary work area for their project.”

The Watkins also move executives with expensive office furnishings when the business wants the care of a professional office furniture specialist rather than a traditional moving company, she said. Bank On Us serves a 50-square-mile area from their Arlington base.

To reach Bank On Us Office Furniture Installation, call 360-403-3117 or find them on Facebook at bankonusinstalls.

To contact Everett Office Furniture, call 425-257-3242 or visit www.everettofficefurniture.com.

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