• Tri City Furniture, Auburn

Import Furniture

Updated: Apr 7

What do we mean when we say that something is an import?


An imported piece of furniture means that it is not made here in the Untied States.

Before we go to far into this topic, let me clarify that some companies ship the parts such as fabric cut and sewed, foam and frame pieces from across the ocean and then the piece such as a sofa, is assembled in the United States. This product is still considered an import, even though it was "assembled" in the United States. Product standards are different than American Made vs American assembled.




If you have been watching the news lately you probably have heard that prices keep going up and part of that are new charges such as freight, port charges, pooling charges(waiting to land at port), unloading charges, surcharges, increased gas rates, and driver charges. I am sure I actually missed a few. Imported furniture coming from across the ocean , not made with parts and labor in the United States gain these charges.


Learn more from Kathy Kilbourn from Tri City Furniture on this topic and what you should know about imported furniture.


Kathy would tell you first..."There are so many differences with a cheaper imported piece of furniture, that first you have to understand what should be inside the piece. You should understand how it should be built and why it was originally built that way. You need to know the feature/ part and the benefit of it."


If you don't understand what should be in it, then it won't matter if that part or function has been eliminated. That is why imported furniture is cheaper- parts of what should be inside has been eliminated!

So things that are eliminated will be things you cannot see, such as springs, the number of springs, the weight of the springs, and the webbing that goes across the springs so that you do not roll into a lacking area. ...or the cushion under the spring so the spring does not squeak on you over time. Lots of parts inside a sofa, chair or mattress that you will never see unless you cut it open. There is always a difference of why when it comes to price. No one is in business to give anything away. Especially today with all the hard times. It is hard enough to keep the doors open.


Fabric can not be eliminated, because you see that, but wait....have you ever flipped tried to flip the seat cushions over and couldn't, because there was a black backing on it? Or under the seat cushion- is it again that black "yard weed guard material"? Well, if so, that is another way to cut cost. The company just covered half your sofa, or half your chair!

What was taken from you is the chance to rotate your seat cushions. Yes, just like the tires on your care, it should be regular maintenance on your sofa or chair to flip and rotate the seat cores for even wear. The fabric under the seat is called Self Decking. It's purpose to hold and grip the cushion in place so when you lounge the seat cushion does not slip forward under you! Ever piece has a purpose When Designed correctly!

Another thing to know about fabric is that it can also be a cheaper, lighter quality. The weight of the thread does matter, just like it does for carpet. Thinner thread many not be as durable thread and may not last a stain cleaning.


I talk to clients who come in wearing designer boots that are originally priced at $400-$600. That may not be you, but think of your watch or phone or the shoes or jeans your kids are wearing. I do not understand why it is such an argument that they must have the $399 sofa when they have invest so much more money in items that will only last a fraction of the life of the sofa or mattress. At our store, price should tell you the quality of it. I can't say that rule is true within other stores. But I guarantee that a $1300 sofa will outlive a $399 sofa. You should not expect that same life span, wear, quality of sleep from a $399 mattress that you will get from a $799 mattress. There should be about double the materials inside the $799 mattress. More coils, more springs, more foam, better foams, better edging that will not crush in- all of these items make a better product that will last longer for you!


Import products are also affected by labor. Many families work for a manufacturer, receive housing and food and maybe $35 a month. And for many, that might be better than the conditions they are living in. In comparison, Americans will not work for that situation. Even right now, when payment for furniture construction is at an all-time high $50-$100 an hour- companies can not get enough people to work within the factories.

So, imports are produced at a lower wage and if Americans would work for a bowl of rice, American products would be cheaper as well! We know though, that the money spent at your local store, helps your local community. We know that warranties are better when they are local, because not only are their different/ higher standards for products and materials used in the US, but that expectations are higher, so companies will try their hardest to not cut corners on what they know will break down- because they do not want you to have a problem with their product!


So what to know and do....

  1. Research the product.

  2. Ask questions.

  3. Find out where it is made- not where the main office is, but where the factory is. Is it made in China, Indiana or North Carolina?

  4. Think about the price. Does it seem too good to be true? A leather hide is needed to cover a chair cost $1000. So if you buy a leather sofa, it should at least be $3000 without all the power, cushion, foam, wood and springs.

  5. Think about freight. A wood table for $148 is probably not wood. Shipping can cost up to 50% right now. Brown Maple wood from the Amish is an extra 10% right now. So on a chair that cost $299- that is an extra $30 right now.

  6. Some parts are made overseas, such as TVs and car computer chips- there are specialists who know how to make these best. That does not mean that the whole piece is made overseas. I would think of it as, I would not ask my plumber do do my dental work! Sometimes you have to use who is best.

  7. Old companies from 20 years ago, that you may have trusted, may not be the same company today. Often companies and their names are bought and everything about the product is changed!!!

  8. Delivery is not free. Shipping is not free. Somewhere inside the price it is include.

Come talk to us if you have questions. We will be happy to educate you so you can make the best choice!




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