Magnussen Home has been in business for 85 years, growing from a small maker of occasional tables to a leading furniture supplier. The New Hamburg, Ontario-based company understands that its relationship with customers is a big reason for its success. Indeed, the company takes a variety of steps to ensure that its clients are successful.
“We supply the middle market,” President Nathan Cressman says. “We pride ourselves on helping our dealers flow product. We buy large volumes of furniture and are able to parcel it out.” That strategy benefits the dealers in multiple ways. First, they save money because Magnussen Home receives discounts for purchasing furniture in large volume.
Also, because the product is on hand, it can be delivered to dealers soon after orders are placed, Cressman explains. In fact, retailers that place orders online typically receive deliveries within seven days, he says.
“We’re flowing goods every week,” Cressman says. “That helps our buyers with cash flow and managing warehouse space.” Magnussen Home maintains a 250,000-square-foot warehouse in California and a 450,000-square-foot facility in Vietnam, a nation where many of its partners are based.
Magnussen has more than 20 years of experience in offshore sourcing and has developed solid manufacturing relationships and capabilities with its overseas partners, Cressman says. Additionally, its climate-controlled Asian warehouse provides protection against damage from swelling and mold, Cressman says.
The industry presents significant challenges, among them capitalization and managing inventory, Cressman says. “You have to be very well capitalized,” he says. Additionally, finding the right vendors and overcoming cultural boundaries can be obstacles. Magnussen Home works with a small number of vendors and has developed strong relationships with each of them. “We find that to be an advantage,” Cressman says. “The relationships become more meaningful.”
The company supplies more than 3,000 furniture stores in North America ranging from small, one- store retailers to some of the larger companies in the marketplace that own 100 stores, Cressman says. Magnussen Home supplies a variety of furniture styles for every room at “the mid-price point,” Cressman says. “By no means are we the lowest-priced supplier on the block,” he says. Its product lines feature occasional tables and accent furniture, as well as bedroom, dining room and home entertainment furniture as well as upholstery.
“We’ve experienced growth since 2008, and I don’t see that changing,” Cressman says, adding that company plans to add more product lines and aggressively broaden its customer base. “It’s a pretty dynamic industry,” Cressman says.
Magnussen Home got its start manufacturing furniture such as occasional tables and entertainment units. Founder Ingwer Magnussen, a cabinetmaker and craftsman, worked for Canadian upholstery manufacturers and created carved show wood for sofa frames. His reputation ultimately led him to start the company.
“Our business model has really shifted,” Cressman says. For example, he and his business partners spend significant time in Asia, especially Vietnam and China, arranging to export furniture to North America. In fact, Cressman spends nearly three months each year doing business in Vietnam. “There’s someone [from Magnussen] over there consistently,” he says. The company also imports furniture from other parts of the world including South American nations.
Much of Magnussen’s growth can be credited to Richard Magnussen, Ingwer’s son and Cressman’s father-in-law and partner. The younger Magnussen joined in 1970 with significant plans for the future. He focused on growing and expanding the business and guided the company to become Canada’s largest occasional table supplier. In 1986, he founded a new division, Presidential Furniture, which was designed to serve the U.S. market. Magnussen continues to serve as the company’s CEO.
Richard Magnussen also saw the benefits of furniture importing before most of his competitors, Cressman notes. In fact, Magnussen-Presidential Furniture began importing from Asia in the late 1980s, a decade before the trend caught on throughout the furniture trade. The relationships, infrastructure and skills the company developed during that 10-year period were essential as it developed the sourcing, supply chain, quality control and logistics experience needed to effectively import furniture and stay ahead of the competition, Cressman says.
In 2002, the company made a significant marketing move when Magnussen-Presidential Furniture was renamed Magnussen Home. The addition of “Home” to the company’s name better reflects its identity and product offerings, which are designed for today’s lifestyles and created by craftsmen from around the world, Cressman says. Magnussen Home is a licensee for DwellStudio and Crayola.
Cressman was named president in 2013 after serving as senior vice president of sales marketing and product development for four years. He’s an 18-year veteran of the company, starting out as a product development manager.