Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bearwood Concepts in Tulsa Looks to Create Manufacturing Niche in Depressed Market

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bearwood Concepts in Tulsa Looks to Create Manufacturing Niche in Depressed Market

Article excerpt

Bearwood Concepts intends to carve out a manufacturing niche in a depressed market that idled one Tahlequah plant and liquidated a once-giant Tulsa firm.

Although the new cabinet maker remains a few months from starting production, the Tulsa startup has already accomplished feats that would startle many executives wailing over today's tight credit.

In less than three months, Bearwood's group of six displaced Penloyd executives managed to secure $1.7 million in capital, lease a 43,995-square-foot warehouse, start acquiring needed equipment, and land a contract valued at just under $600,000 with department store giant Dillard Inc.

With two more pacts under negotiation, Bearwood President Duane Walker expects to start making furniture this summer with a staff of 30 or more, targeting $3 million in first-year revenue.

"We're going to fill a void that was left by Penloyd," said Ken Hird, who had served as human relations director for that retail cabinetry maker.

Penloyd shut down its 360,000-square-foot operations in January after watching sales dwindle under a national recession that shuttered many retailers and stiffened lending restrictions.

"They were not in a position to cut back because of the size of their overhead," said Hird, executive vice president of Bearwood. "Our overhead is minuscule compared to theirs. We are very light on our feet, we can move up quickly and we're capitalized well enough to be lean for the near future."

Their vision, rapidly produced business plan and 100-plus years of combined experience impressed BancFirst, which last month secured $1.2 million in two Small Business Administration loans for Bearwood.

"We just felt like they were willing to do what it was going to take to get this thing off the ground and make it work," said Mike Lyles, president of BancFirst in Jenks.

"It went remarkably quick," he said of the process. "In any economy it would be quick to do what they've done. In any situation."

Last week Walker and Hird joined with their other partners - Vice President of Sales and Operations Travis Ogle, Vice President of Sales and Estimating Jim Sellers, Vice President of Plant Management Brent Wilson, and Vice President of Production Planning Jeff Cronin - to start moving equipment into Bearwood's new headquarters at 6202 E. …

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