If staying in the custom furniture manufacturing business for 146 years wasn't enough, the Kittinger Furniture Company's recent recognition by a national organization has certainly earned them additional bragging rights. The Buffalo business has been selected as the winner of the 2012 BEST: Made in America award by MADE: in America, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that honors and showcases the nation's top manufacturing businesses.
"We at Kittinger Furniture are honored and grateful to receive the 2012 BEST: Made in America award," said Ray Bialkowski, president of Kittinger Furniture Company, Inc. "As a Buffalo-based business since 1866, Kittinger demonstrates the tenacity required to achieve excellence in furniture design, manufacturing, and economic sustainability. We have been consistently dedicated to American craftsmanship and the American worker for more than a century. Our company, our employees, and our handcrafted products are symbols of 'Made in America'," he added.
On July 4, the company will be recognized for exemplary craftsmanship and its role in American-based production at a private reception and awards ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol. Their products will also be featured at the "At Home in Washington" show house at the Washington Design Center, which will be open to the public throughout July.
This is not the first time in the company's history that their products have made their way to Washington, D.C. "The timing and location of this event are of great significance to our company," said Bialkowski. "Forty years ago, we designed and built furnishings specifically for the West Wing during its restoration." In 1969, former President Richard Nixon personally ordered and purchased a Kittinger handcrafted conference table and chairs that are still used in the Cabinet Room of the White House today.
Since the beginning, Kittinger has focused on creating furniture with detailed craftsmanship, employing only the most skilled furniture-makers. Bialkowski himself started there in 1979 as an apprentice cabinetmaker, then later worked his way up to the position of master craftsman and leader of the company's cabinet design and production department. When he took over the company in 1996, he made a point to maintain Kittinger's legacy for standards of quality design that he had always worked under, allowing the company to maintain such important clients as The White House, amongst others.
"We are proud of our longstanding heritage as a Buffalo-based manufacturer of fine products, as well as an employer that regards skilled labor as an invaluable part of a successful business," Bialkowski said. "This award and the loyalty of our clients are testaments of our hard work and vision."
The company, which currently employs over 20 people, has its products featured locally at The Kittinger Gallery and Design Studio in Williamsville, as well as in other showrooms across the U.S. They will be expanding their reach into the global market this September when their products go on display at Sala Azabu in Tokyo, Japan. This space is a well-known showroom that has displayed international imports of specialty furniture pieces since 1974.
The Kittinger Furniture Company is located at 2495 Main Street. To learn more about the company, visit www.kittingerfurniture.com
All photos are of Kittinger Furniture at the White House