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Advice from our Service Manager

by Nick, Digital Specialist | June 20, 2020

Our service manager, Gene, has been in the industry for almost 45 years. He has a great perspective on which of our manufacturers are the most reliable, and he has a few pieces of advice to pass along to keep your furniture looking great!


Gene has spent almost his entire adult life in the furniture industry. Starting in the business 45 years, he owned his own store for 35 years before coming to Suburban, where he has been our Service Manager for about three years. It’s safe to say that he’s seen everything that there is to see, and then some. He’s a wonderful resource about all things furniture and bedding, but in his capacity in the service department, he has some great perspective to pass onto our client about the reliability of certain manufacturers. We also asked him for some tips about how to avoid common issues that he runs into.

Which Vendors are The Most Reliable?
When asked this question, Gene was quick to list the following manufacturers that we carry:

- Upholstery: Craftmaster, Bassett, Flexsteel, England
- Motion: Homestretch, Southern Motion
- Bedroom: Vaughan-Bassett, Bassett, IFD, Whittier Wood
- Dining: Canadel, Bassett, IFD

One thing that all these manufacturers have in common? Quality. They exhibit better workmanship and craftsmanship, so while these pieces may cost more at the outset, they may very well save you headaches down the road. It’s a combination of better materials, better construction and joinery methods, and better fabrics. Another one of our most popular vendors, Ashley Furniture (makers of the Signature Designs and Benchcraft lines), wasn’t listed above, but Gene wanted to shout them out specifically. “They handle parts and service better than anyone,” he said. “Their service is handled quickly and promptly.”

How About Some Tricks?
As you might imagine, Gene has accumulated many tidbits over the years- tips and tricks that he wished all of his clients knew when they purchased a new piece of furniture. Many of these things will help keep your pieces looking great without having to call a service technician out to home, which will save you time and money.

- Maintain your sofa. One of the biggest complaints Gene gets is about the back cushion sagging. You can maintain this yourself by sliding your hand under the back cushion of your couch and finding the zipper that’s under there. This will make it easier for you to move the filling around and keep it looking fresh.

- Buy a pilling brush or shaver. Pilling and shedding is inherent in many woven fabrics, kind of like how a woven rug is prone to shedding. A little pilling brush or battery-powered shaver will help get rid of the little balls of fabric that build up over time.

- Vacuum your furniture. This obviously helps to keep your furniture looking clean, but it will also help prevent dirt and grime from building up over time. Be careful not to use the beater brush, which can be hard on the fabric.

- Manage your expectations. Furniture stores are usually unrealistically large environments, at least compared to your own home. A piece of furniture may appear slightly different in a large store versus when you’re hyper-focused on it in your home. Be especially careful of furniture that’s rustic or weathered, because in many cases, it’s supposed to look that way!

- Get the protection plan. But make sure you’re aware of what it does and doesn’t do- they commonly cover accidental damage like spills and scratches but don’t offer “bumper to bumper” coverage.

- Speaking of damage…Be aware of what the warranty covers. It’s commonplace that a manufacturer’s warranty covers labor for the first year, regardless of how long the parts are covered for. You may be responsible for labor charges after that. Also, keep in mind that these only cover manufacturer’s issues, not accidental damage.

- Save your paperwork. This could help you down the road if you ever run into any kind of issues. If you don’t have a place to keep paperwork like this, you could slip it under the cushion of the couch, or between your mattress and boxspring. Just don’t forget where you left it!

Through Gene’s years of experience in our industry, we hope you can take away some great advice on how to take care of your furniture, and which brands to look for if you’re shopping around. Gene, thanks for your time and your insight!