Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm
Some Boston Store and Carson Pirie Scott stores in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas will soon sell furniture made by J.D. Chamberlain, a Brookfield-based furniture design and manufacturing company.
The furniture will be sold in Boston Store’s furniture gallery in Brookfield and five Carson Pirie Scott stores in the Chicago area.
Boston Store and Carson Pirie Scott are both owned by Saks Inc.
Dori and John McKearn, owners of J.D. Chamberlain, have been working with buyers for the stores for several months to place a selection of the company’s furniture in the stores.
Boston Store and Carson Pirie Scott will carry 17 different J.D. Chamberlain pieces in their stores, said Dori McKearn, who serves as vice president and also designs many of the company’s pieces.
The stores also will have one of the company’s catalogs on hand, making the company’s full collection available.
J.D. Chamberlain’s pieces should be on display at both stores in the next week, said Vicki Fitzpatrick, assistant buyer for upholstery, occasionals and accessories for Boston Store and Carson Pirie Scott.
The pieces produced by the locally owned company are natural additions to the store’s growing furniture offerings, Fitzpatrick said.
"They have some very unique products that we’re very excited about," Fitzpatrick said. "And we didn’t have them represented (in our stores). Not to mention the fact that we’re neighbors."
"Part of our philosophical construct carries through selecting retailers that we want to concentrate on," said John KcKearn. "We seem to do the best with the most progressive retailers in a market. They’re the ones who seem to get us. What we like to do is have one strong retailer that we work with in each region. We get behind them, and they get behind us."
Furniture retailers that tend to sell eclectic, contemporary or more artistic-oriented furniture tend to be more willing to carry J.D. Chamberlain’s pieces, Dori McKearn said.
"If they appreciate the creativity of furniture, they try to get us," she said.
J.D. Chamberlain has been in business for about five years and grew to $2.7 million in revenues for 2004. The McKearns project revenues of about $3.4 million for 2005.
The McKearns left Brookfield last week for a semi-annual trip to the Philippines, where the manufacturers they work with are located. Almost all of the company’s furniture construction is outsourced. Dori designs the furniture and sends the designs to the manufacturers.
The couple is reviewing more than 60 furniture designs this year, John McKearn said.
"We’re dramatically expanding our line," he said.
The company has relationships with more than 20 furniture makers in the Philippines, he said.
The McKearns say the company has maintained a "California cutting-edge" feel, mixed with traditional Midwestern emphasis on customer service.
"The customer is gold, and you have to take care of them," John McKearn said. "Business needs to take place between people. We want people to want to see what we’ll do next, not just in our product, but in our approach to working with them."
August 5, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI