It's very rare when we buy into a new line of furniture, it only happens one or twice in a decade when we try a new maker. Whitmore-Sherrill is the leather division of Sherrill Furniture, and well known and respected in the trade. I had a 3 hour meeting with them today and decided to buy into the line on a small test basis. My friend Alan Price, who used to do a lot of designs at Hancock and Moore went over to Whitmore-Sherrill a few years ago, and Alan came to the store today as well. It was really good to see him and he brought along one of his new creations, their # 121-03 Chair that I sat in for nearly two hours. It was really a good sit, I was almost going to make them leave it I could take it home.

So why add another leather line of upholstery that is equal to Hancock & Moore build quality? Well a few reasons, none of them major in their own right, but they make the line attractive. BTW, we will also get Sherrill Fabric upholstery, but we didn't look into that right now and will do so at the High Point Market next month.

1) They have the quality in the build. It's all 8-way hand-tied, solid wood frames, great tufting and they use the same leather sources as Hancock & Moore (primarily Moore & Giles), and they make their own frames as well as run their own foam plant on 80% of their cushion cores. That all means faster build times. And they just completed a new production plant which significantly increases their capacity. I'm told 16 weeks on average, with appx 70% in stock on covers. They still use a live spring edge on their sofas, something very few makers do anymore.

2) 140 leathers on 12" x 12" samples Mostly Anilines. The large samples are nice, and they do a burnished (hand-antiqued) leather similar to Hyde Park and Cameo from H&M. They have no hides from China, which is more what customers ask for than anything else.

3) They run their own freight trucks, even to the West Coast. I really like this - because less handling means less chance of damage and a lower shipping freight rate. Plus speed in delivery.

4) We can custom design our own promotional program. Find out what our customers like and in what hides, then we can have half a dozen frames and covers set up in our own year-long promo program.

5) Pricing. The line is priced a bit lower than Hancock and Moore. So if we can get H&M build quality, comfort and tailoring at a better price point, what's not to like?

I am very conservative on ordering new lines. They have to pass the "smell test", which means I have to see how the first group goes. How long does it take to get? How well is it packed and shipped? How is the fit and finish? How is the comfort level? Is it appealing design-wise? If it doesn't pass my standards, then I can't be enthusiast about selling it. Start small, see what customers think of it when it arrives, and we go from there. To that end, these are what I ordered today:

This is very similar to the H&M Author Chair and Ottoman, which is the Gold Standard in this frame. I want to compare it to the H&M Chair which we always try to keep a floor model of. How are the pitch angles? How is the tufting and tailoring? Does it sit well? It's about $ 1,000 less than the H&M Author Chair and Ottoman in a similar burnished leather. This one I am most curious about.

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This is all Alan Price. I really liked this chair, hand-rubbed walnut finish, too! This was an automatic order after sitting in it for two hours

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And we will try their top selling sofa. It's basic, but basic is good, means people like it if its # 1. Not fancy style wise, but neither are penny loafers....

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We will get pricing and samples soon, but for the moment cannot price anything for you. This is just an informational post for now, and hopefully we can see our first floor models by end of the year.