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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Working Well

It all started with a fire. In 1974, Mike Small’s father’s home furniture business burned down the day before Small was set to begin working. Partly because of this fire, Mike found himself in charge of the office furniture department, though it went largely unnoticed in the grand scheme of the business. When Small’s father Ed Small Jr. retired shortly after the fire, he asked his son if he wanted to continue the family business. Small said he had no interest in home furniture, but he’d like to try his hand at making a business out of the office furniture department, a business that would become Corporate Design. “The building’s been in Mike’s family three generations now. It means something to people who have lived here a while,” design space planner Andrea Kirkland notes.

Corporate Design has built up a large client base since its humble beginnings. The company now provides office furniture and flooring to a number of local businesses as well as clients outside the Tri-State area. Corporate Design’s office allows them to serve all of their clients’ needs quite effectively. “We’re kind of blessed,” says Small, “with 15 people and 12,000-square-feet.” Its large floor space has allowed Corporate Design to create a large showroom for its clients where it can showcase hundreds of possible office furnishings. The rest of the floor space is largely occupied by the staff, which is split up by department. Though as Kirkland points out, “The entire place is a working showroom 24/7.” The staff uses desks, filing cabinets, and other furniture items to test out products for their customers.

Perhaps the room that best exhibits the versatility of the office is its “Chair Room.” With more than 25 styles of chairs, the room allows clients to find the perfect chair for their needs. “A chair is a lot like a car,” Andrea says, “there’s a right one for everybody, and it’s different for everyone.” However, the room also doubles as a conference room for Corporate Design and features a Smart Board.

“Technology is becoming a bigger part of the office. Furniture is adapting to this,” Mike notes in reference to the Smart Board as well as the Mediascape technology in the office.

Mediascape is a new office technology sold by Corporate Design that allows all users to plug their laptops in and take turns projecting onto a main screen, which is especially useful in a collaborative setting. These newer devices especially have helped Corporate Design in its work with clients as far away as South Bend, Ind., to the north and Fort Campbell, Ky., to the south.

Throughout his years of experience in the office furniture business, Small has learned a number of lessons. He’s found that popular items in New York and other major cities are not always as popular with Evansville businesses, which tend to form a more conservative office furniture market. He’s also found that, at the end of the day, office furniture is about people. “Everybody’s business changes,” Small says. “You want to optimize where your people are.”

For more information about Corporate Design Inc., call 812-422-3000 or visit cdievv.com.

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