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The big secret of most contract furniture industry professionals is that no one plans to be a contract furniture industry professional.

That’s not a hard and fast statement, of course. There are talented people who become architects and designers for a love of the built environment, industrial engineers who want to create products, and people who’s family are ‘in the biz’. But by and large, we furniture people find our way here through circuitous routes, and we stay. We call ourselves ‘lifers.’

I discovered contract furniture as a secretary (not executive assistant, secretary) at a design firm in the 80s. I was supposed to be answering phones, but instead I was hanging out with the designers, soaking in great ideas and beautiful spaces. It wasn’t long until I was a lifer, too. And while I never looked back, I certainly couldn’t have predicted I would land as the owner of a dealership myself. I am thankful for this crazy industry of lead times and fabric swatches, and the people it attracts, so it’s to those people that I pen this ode.

Thank you, workplace strategists, for making functional beauty and style the cornerstone of our work.

Thank you, architects and designers, for making us your go-to resource, and knowing we’ll do a stellar job.

Thank you, furniture manufacturers, for creating the. best. chairs. so we don’t destroy our bodies at work.

Thank you, reps, for bringing us the best solutions every time, and solutioning alongside us during these nutty times.

Thank you, my bM+ team, for keeping the ship afloat, for trusting me, for trusting yourselves, and for making work better for everyone we partner with.

Thank you, bM+ account managers, for knowing that an email that says “I don’t know is” better than no email at all.

Thank you, bM+ designers, for understanding that fabric 38-12A is not the same as 38-12B, and for tracking a million details just like this.

Thank you, bM+ customer service staff, for diving so deep into projects that you become an encyclopedia for every install.

Thank you, bM+ administrative staff, for keeping the numbers straight. I don’t know how you do it.

Thank you, bM+ installers, for applying your exacting standards and project knowledge (#endcaps) for our clients.

I’ll stop here, though there are a thousand instances of excellence I could call out on each and every one of the people we work work with. Nothing happens without every person in the burkeMICHAEL+ solar system. Suffice to say, I’m feeling the gratitude. May all your Thanksgiving dreams come true, and see you next week.

Mary Frances President + Ringmaster




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