Sedlak Interiors is an unique furniture store headquartered in a suburb of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County. Its conveniently in a large facility located off of Route 422 in City of Solon. Named after its founder, the late John Sedlak, it is now run by Dorothy Sedlak along with Jeff Sedlak, Charles Sedlak, June Sedlak and others.
In many furniture stores in Northeast Ohio, merchandise is spread out over a large undivided area. At Sedlak Interiors, the furniture is displayed in specific divided areas. For example, contemporary furniture is displayed in its own room and motion seating is displayed in a different room; all recliners are arranged by manufacturer in the same area. This type of unique display helps a furniture buyer in making a decision. However, finding a perfect sofa is a challenge.
Sedlak Interiors is likely one of the relatively better furniture retail stores in the Northeast Ohio area based on selection. Most but not all the furniture sold in the Solon store is made (assembled?) domestically, not that Made in USA is an indicator of high quality. However, they do carry furniture made in China and Norway. According to one of their salesman, a 19 year employee of Sedlak Interiors, the salesmen at Sedlak Interiors do not work on commission.
Some among the many top and medium tier furniture manufacturers merchandise you will see at Sedlak Interiors are Hancock and Moore, Bradington Young, EKORNES STRESSLESS CHAIRS!, Hickory Chair, American Leather, Henredon, Lazar Industries, Lee Industries, Sherill, CR Laine, Stickley……Prices are proportional and on the higher to very high side on some merchandise relative to other furniture stores. Retailers do have overhead expenses factored into the sale prices they set.
The best day to visit Sedlak Interiors is any weekday since they get more furniture browsers on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.
Furniture manufacturers are in business to make money, just like everyone else. Your local furniture store buys from the manufacturer through the manufacturers sales representative. This representative also earns a percentage of all sales in their territory. So it should be common knowledge if you can purchase directly from the manufacturer you can avoid the retail store markup and also the representative take from each sale. Furniture “Made in the USA” now may be actually assembled in the USA, but the parts are made in Malaysia and China and imported here to be assembled. There are still some manufacturers who really do make the whole item here in this country, but they are becoming more and more rare.
According to furniture industry insider DC, this industry is fashion industry meaning that appearance of the furniture is more important than the functions. Some questions to ask oneself when buying furniture in addition to the type of frame, suspension system, seat cushions, back cushions, fabric, warranty is how long do you intend on keeping the proposed furniture? Are you one of those buyers who might like to buy new car and furniture every 5 to 10 years? Is lumbar support important to you? Do you want furniture that makes a fashion statement or is comfortable or has both the qualities? How will the furniture look outside the engineered atmosphere of the retail store and in your home or office? Do you need a fancy clock when you can read time off of your smartphone? Do you read and/or watch TV on your sofa? Are your little and big kids likely to damage the furniture? Like a new car, furniture loses a large portion of its value once it leaves the furniture retail store and for each year of usage, so consumers are unlikely to recoup much of their money selling it. And good luck with selling used furniture.
January 2008 Consumer Reports Review on Sofas
- CHECK THE FRAME
- Press down on the back rail and arms and try to wiggle them. You should not feel excessive movement.
- Lift one front corner leg about 6 inches while a companion holds down the opposing arm. You should not feel the sofa twist.
- Ask the salesperson to remove the bottom dust cover near one leg so that you can see the frame. (Not all stores will do this.) Look for corner blocks to add strength and neat, tight joints that appear to be glued and stapled or screwed together. If legs are screwed into the frame, that’s OK. Legs that are part of the frame may be stronger but hard to repair.
- The terms kiln-dried hardwood and furniture-grade plywood can denote high-quality materials. But the frame can still be poorly assembled.
- FEEL THE PADDING
- Knead the frame along the front and back rails, corners, and arms. If you feel hard or sharp edges, it means the padding is skimpy.
- Check the back of the sofa. Padding should be smooth, not lumpy. The outer back should be padded to give a finished look, especially if the sofa won’t be up against a wall.
- CHECK THE CUSHIONS
- Unzip a seat cushion to see what’s inside. Better-quality cushions contain foam covered with polyester batting, enclosed in a muslin or nonwoven pillowcase.
- Removable back cushions containing loose polyester filler should hold the filling in a pillowcase that’s stitched into multiple compartments to minimize settling.
- Check the covering. Reversible cushions help the fabric and filling last longer.
- SIZE UP THE SPRINGS
- Press down hard on the deck (the area under the seat cushion) to sense if seat springs are evenly spaced and equally resistant to pressure.
- Sit down. You shouldn’t tip or sink in one direction. If you do, the springs probably aren’t centered or properly attached to the frame.
- Listen. You don’t want to hear squeaks.
- Disregard the term “eight-way hand-tied springs.” It’s no longer synonymous with comfort or high quality. Other types of springs–coil, cone, S-shaped, and grid–can be just fine; they mainly influence how comfortable the sofa feels to you. The illustrations above show two common spring designs.
- EXAMINE THE UPHOLSTERY
- Stripes and plaids should appear straight and aligned; floral or arabesque patterns should flow from one part of the sofa to the next.
Check the stitching. Welted seams should be straight, skirt pleats evenly spaced, zippers color matched to the upholstery.
Smoke and Mirrors says a furniture industry insider
Other important aspects to remember regarding furniture industry is that some furniture manufacturers will not work with the furniture buyer if the buyer has any warranty related furniture issues. Manufacturers will direct furniture buyers to work with the retail store to address the issues. Try contacting a furniture manufacturer and you will know. And you should hope that you do not have to contact the retailer for service or warranty repair issues.
Here’s warranty text from CR Laine’s website
To obtain service, report any problems to the retailer from whom the product was purchased. When necessary, the retailer will contact CR Laine for service arrangements.
Addressing post sale furniture issues is at the discretion (discretion refers to the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment or choice or in the case of a business, for profit) of the furniture retailer and may not be the priority of some furniture retailers. The manufacturer may ask the buyer to ship the furniture back to the factory at buyer’s cost for repair evaluation!! Furniture does not come with a no questions asked return policy unless you buy it at Costco. The other side of the coin represents a race to the bottom in terms of furniture construction quality.
- http://charlotteabf.com/furniture-mark-up-know-all-about-it/, “A normal furniture item costing $500 may have cost the retailer not more than $175. Even after putting it on sale the retailers sell it for not less than $350. This is why furniture is pretty much on sale all-round the year“
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/overpriced-products-insane-markups_n_1922573.html. Furniture stores usually make a hefty margin, with markups of about 80 percent.
- http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items “Furniture Markups: 200-400%. No industry manipulates the meaningless MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) quite like the furniture industry. Salespeople usually receive a 15-20% commission if they sell an item at the inflated MSRP. But there’s another helpful abbreviation to know: MAP (Manufacturer’s Advertised Price). This lower price is the minimum at which most retailers are allowed to sell the item. Salespeople resist consumers who ask for this price and only receive about 7% commission on MAP sales.”
So, what’s a perfect sofa? It depends on the context, there is no perfect sofa.
- Test drive a sofa for at least 15 minutes. The more time you spend on the test drive, the better your assessment will be of the sofa. You are not buying a toilet seat. Buy what you are absolutely certain about, otherwise walk away.
- Poor furniture designs are not rare. A good sofa or perhaps any furniture must provide lumbar support. Lower back and spine surgeries are no fun. If you are growing younger and do not care about your lower back, then lumbar support in a sofa or recliner is probably unnecessary. Ekornes Stressless Chairs, arguably, is the only furniture that provides lumbar support among the furniture that is sold today. Very little comes close to what Ekorness Stressless Chairs offer.
- Sofa should be sized properly to fit in your room and more importantly to accommodate your body dimensions, weight as well as current and anticipated health issues.
- A good depth is 40″. If you are likely to lounge in your sofa, 42″ or even higher depth is more appropriate. However, the depth and the seat cushion height should be directly proportional to make a good fit. 36″ deep sofas don’t belong in most homes, they will likely work in your doctor’s waiting room.
- Spring down seat cushions are the best but this is a variable. In January 2008 edition of Consumer Reports, it is noted that “Better-quality cushions contain foam covered with polyester batting, enclosed in a muslin or non-woven pillowcase”.
- Larger and heavier seat cushions are better than smaller and lighter. Two cushion sofas are more comfortable and likely to last longer than identical three cushion sofas. Get the best seat cushions your money can afford. Remember that upgrading seat cushions is likely to change the important floor to top of seat cushion height.
- Properly constructed completely unattached back pillow cushions are better than attached cushions since the pillows can be fluffed and both sides can be used. Tight back sofas with tufting are less comfortable than sofas with loose back cushions and are more appropriate for upright sitting.
- Leather or fabric and their colors are a personal choice. Choose carefully because there are returns are rarely accepted in this business.
- 18-19″ sofa seat height is a good choice.
- If you might lounge in the sofa, get one that does not have short side arms. Function is more important than form.