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Kush Teams with Mexican Partner

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Longtime California case goods manufacturers Dan and Elena Kush have formed a new sourcing partnership with Mexican manufacturer Toro Furniture to create Kush Furniture Co.

The Kushes owned Kushwood, which ceased domestic production in 2004 after 25 years of operation in the face of increasing workers compensation costs and stringent environmental regulations in California. A look to the Far East for Kushwood's new sourced line wasn't a good fit, but late last year, the Kushes teamed up with Toro Furniture, a longtime supplier of OEM wood furniture to major U.S. retailers.

Dan Kush, who owns Kush Furniture Co. with his wife Elena, said three points work in the new joint venture with Toro, which supplies all of Kush Furniture's some 150 pieces of bedroom, dining and occasional.

"One, Mexico is close by - they're our neighbors, and we see lower labor costs, and finishing can be done faster and better, especially in colors," he said. "Second, we'd faced a prohibitive regulatory environment in California, Third, we can deliver quicker, provide better parts service, and take care of quality easier than if we were a 16-hour flight away."

Kush Furniture offers all pieces in six colors and through warehouse or direct container service on its mid-priced goods.

"All the product is coming out of one manufacturer, Toro, so we can send a mixed container of any selection of pieces in the line," said Elena Kush.

Prior to the alliance with Kush Furniture, Toro had worked mostly with waxed finishes, but Dan Kush and his longtime quality assurance manager, Rafael Orozco, spent weeks with Toro to train workers on the new color treatments.

"We spent an entire week with a chemist just to develop the colors," said Elena Kush.

Las Vegas was Kush Furniture's first market under the new arrangement, so the Kushes declined to state delivery capacity, but Kush did note that Toro has just completed a 500,000-square-foot addition that brings its total plant to around a million square feet.

Dan Kush did say he was pleased with the new line's reception.

"It's been an excellent week," he said. "We had all our old accounts from Kushwood in, and everyone's excited about the quality and the finish."

Kush Furniture has retained Kushwood's old motto: "Designed for today's lifestyle ... Crafted to last a lifetime."

Felipe del Toro, president and co-owner of Toro Furniture, said he's proud to be doing business with the Kushes.

"Yesterday, Dan mentioned that God had put us together, and the future looks bright," he said. "We've been exporting for 15 years, so we have the necessary experience in customer service."

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