Woodard Executive Shares Why Company Acquired Mallin Casual

Woodard Executive Shares Why Company Acquired Mallin Casual

Patio & Hearth Products Report spoke with Belinda Lavender, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Woodard Furniture, about Woodard’s recent acquisition of Mallin Casual.

Q: Why was Mallin a good strategic fit for Woodard?
Lavender: Mallin’s main business is in direct containers, Woodard’s is domestic. We felt this purchase would round out our product line.

Q: How was the acquisition handled in terms of the integration of Mallin?
Lavender: Our goal was and is to keep Mallin product the same as much as possible. Same frame, same cushions, same design type, which tend to lean traditional to transitional. The process, of course, must change as we have different systems, terms and shipping points, etc.

Q: Will Mallin operate as a separate division of Woodard?
Lavender: Yes, Mallin will operate as a separate division. Mallin and Woodard are two different product lines…from price points to designs.

Q: Will you retain the Mallin name for their products?
Lavender: Yes.

Q: Will Mallin pieces be manufactured in their plants or yours? (Mallin utilized overseas production—will this continue, or will all products be made in Michigan?)
Lavender: While we have access to other factories, we continue to use the same overseas factories that Mallin used. Mallin’s business majority is direct; however, they did have domestic production—Owosso will take that production over.

Q: Mallin was known for oversized collections. Will you be making any changes to their designs?
Lavender: No. Our intention is for Mallin to be whole and keep their identity. Pre-purchase, Mallin did come out with a couple of contemporary designs (Dakota, Oslo and Sarasota). We may carry on with those designs but, largely, we will continue with Mallin’s success in oversized collections.

Q: Will you be eliminating any Mallin collections?
Lavender: As with every company, collections and SKUs are looked at annually to determine if sales merit keeping/dropping. Mallin did this as do we; this is a business practice that will continue—review of product. We are not immediately considering anything to be dropped. We are still getting our arms around all things Mallin. Since the purchase in July, items, catalogs, collections (drops and adds), and pricing were already laid out and decided upon pre-purchase.

Q: Adding any to the Mallin brand?
Lavender: We have looked at some older Mallin collections that very well could make a comeback as well as new designs to keep the line fresh, but nothing has been decided yet.

Q: How will specialty retailers benefit from this acquisition?
Lavender: Woodard is financially fit. The retailers that carry Mallin on their floor will be able to continue to do so. Mallin was strong on the West Coast, but not so much in other parts of the country. This acquisition allows a whole coast of retailers to have access to Mallin. Also, being able to ship from Owosso both Woodard and Mallin product together will save on freight costs.

The two-week lead time we offer out of Owosso will ensure retailers can promise faster turnaround on custom product. I believe just the sheer volume of knowledge that Owosso has will (in time) show Mallin retailers the true dedication of what a 150-plus-year-old company has to offer. The employees are amazing and dedicated—many families are multi-generation tradesman/craftsman of Woodard. Mallin is now a part of that; thereby, the retailers will have that same dedication and that is always a benefit.

Q: What has their reaction been to the acquisition?
Lavender: At first, honestly, it was fear…no one can know what will happen when a company acquires another. We got that. The hand-off was not the smoothest (I blame the purchase time, right at pre-market!) and trucking all the product from California to Michigan took longer than expected. Add to that the tariffs that hit! We took some grumbling… But in the end, almost all retailers were understanding. Retailers realized we were trying to keep Mallin going and growing in the future. It was back to business as usual.

Q: How will consumers benefit from this acquisition?
Lavender: Woodard/Mallin is financially strong. We have tremendous experience in domestic production, overseas productions and dedicated employees—always a consumer benefit. Also, where Mallin, of old, only offered a quick ship on select items, due to the efficiencies at the Owosso facility, we can now offer a two-week ship time for all Mallin domestic products. This should really open the doors to the designer business. Mallin now has a Mallin representative in each area of the United States and parts of Canada. Our reps are the best in the business and understand what works in each geographic location because they live and work locally.

Q: It’s been six months since the acquisition; have you been satisfied with this purchase?
Lavender: Yes, we are.

Q: What are your long-term goals for the integration of the Mallin brand?
Lavender: As Mallin will be kept separate (only the processes to be integrated), long term we plan to grow Mallin products by opening up to other markets and use our financial strength for material purchase…we are excited that Mallin is part of our family now.


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