MILLERSBURG, Ohio — Canal Dover Furniture’s acquisition of Keystone Designer gives the case goods manufacturer an opportunity to grow its business through a product mix that is similar in nature to its highly customizable solid wood furniture line.
Both companies offer bedroom dining and occasional furniture as their core categories produced in multiple species such as cherry maple and oak. They also sell in similar upper-middle to upper-end price points.
While Canal Dover co-owner and President Nick Pickrel declined to reveal the purchase price or estimate the combined sales of the newly merged companies, he said their sales are similar, leaning towards “almost exact.”
The two companies began talking earlier this past winter after then Keystone owner Wyrmwood Gaming decided to cease production of residential line. Instead it decided to devote its capacity to a surge in demand for its gaming table line, a core source of revenue for the company.
“I said, ‘we are busy,’ but I also know that when opportunity strikes, sometimes you have to take it,” Pickrel said, of what the Keystone Designer line could mean for future growth. Keystone Designer “was right in our wheelhouse in terms of the quality and the price point.”
He also noted that while the two sell similar accounts around the country, Keystone largely sells on the East Coast, potentially giving Canal Dover broader access to customers throughout the region.
“We are really hoping through this we can expand our reach to customers on the East Coast where they were strong,” Pickrel said, adding that Canal Dover also sells on the East Coast, with much of its business in the Northeast. It also sells some key accounts in the Midwest, where he noted that Keystone did not have a big presence.
Pickrel said in addition to Keystone’s customer list and customer sales data, the purchase includes the Keystone name plus its two websites and all of its designs, photos, artwork and jigs necessary to build the Keystone line. As it decides which product to bring into the Canal Dover fold, it doesn’t plan to use the Keystone name, other than perhaps on select collections.
It will build these products as part of the Canal Dover line in the company’s estimated 70,000 square feet of production space in Millersburg, Ohio. The operation currently employs about 45 mostly Amish workers, although Pickrel said Canal Dover is not Amish owned.
He said the company is looking to add around 15 to 20 workers as it begins to develop the combined product lines. Yet the company will be selective about what it ultimately decides to produce from the Keystone line.
“We have a lot of product that is similar,” Pickrel said, calling the two lines the “gold standard in custom furniture.”
“Instead of overloading our production and botching the release of new product, our plan is to take it all in house and decide which collections we want to release and that fit us as a company.”
The company will reintroduce select bestselling groups within the Keystone line around the fall High Point Market, Pickrel said.
He added that that while the Canal Dover line was a little less expensive than Keystone, recent cost increases have brought the two lines are closer together in price. Canal Dover’s beds retail from $2,700 to about $3,600, and its average dining table retails around $2,999.
An entry-level price for a table and four chairs in the Canal Dover line is about $3,600, Pickrel said.
Former Keystone Designer President James Martin, whose father Glenn started the business in 1986, is now chief financial officer of Wyrmwood Gaming.
Glenn Martin led the effort to sell the Keystone assets when Wyrmwood chose not to carry the Keystone line forward, instead focusing on its core gaming table business.
While he said this was a tough business decision, Martin was pleased to see the line in Canal Dover’s hands.
“It gives an opportunity for another company to pick up where we left off,” he said. “It helps me a lot knowing that it is in good hands at a good company and with someone that has done a good job.”