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Local Furniture Company Receives National Recognition

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. 

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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.
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All photos are of Kittinger Furniture at the White House
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  • LouisTully

    Pretty awesome. I don’t think people realize how accomplished Kittinger is. Cheers to them.

  • paulsobo

    Didnt they sell off their their high end lines a few years ago?
    After they did that…I didnt think I would ever hear anything from them again.
    If their really a company in great shape then why arent they playing a greater role in the furniture industry and in the local business community.
    I should say the same thing about Roycroft.
    If both were where they should be then everyone in Buffalo should have something in their home relating to Kittinger and Roycroft. Yet I know few rather than many.
    Tells me there is alot of wasted potential that is going unrealized.

  • Rand503

    With Kittinger, their furniture is very high end — have you gone to the store to see their prices? Additionally, they will custom make anything, for a price of course.
    There is no point in diluting their brand name and resources to duplicate what other furniture companies are doing. That means that they are priced out of the market of at least 90% of Buffalo homes. That’s fine — I’d rather they succeed on quality than on quantity — that’s what makes a reputation
    BTW, there is a website that sells old Kittinger, and the prices are more reasonable. I know of at least one antique dealer in Clarence who sells their side tables from the past for a few hundred dollars. No reason you can’t pick one up from either place.
    ABout Roycroft, I don’t know what they are selling or doing, and that also goes for Buffalo China.

  • North Park

    They make incredible (and very expensive furniture). They have a showroom on Transit.
    I assume that most Americans don’t buy their furniture because it is expensive and because most Americans perfer to buy cheap crap and replace it every 3-5 years.
    What greater role in the furniture industry do you want them to play? They make and sell furniture. They employee local skilled craftsmen. They pay taxes. They work out of an old building in the city (Trico). It seems like they do a lot already.

  • Dagner

    About Roycroft furniture: as a company, it closed in 1938. An updated Roycroft mark, created in 1976, may be used only by juried artisans. See their web site: http://www.ralaweb.com/html_pages/history_B.html
    They are not a factory.

  • rpm40

    Paul, are you as miserable in person as you come across on this site? Every time I read a positive article, like clockwork I can expect to find one of your grumbling complaints leading off the comments.
    Believe it or not, sometimes THERE is no need for it. Kittinger deserves some credit for THEIR nearly 150 year run in Buffalo. THEY’RE the kind of company our city needs more of.
    Get it? 😉

  • LouisTully

    How many Mona Lisa’s are there? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
    As far as playing a bigger role, their furniture is in the White House. The chairs GW and BO are sitting in are made for each president. The ones pictured were upholstered with Obama’s choice of fabric.
    I don’t know how much bigger of a role you can get than that.

  • Rand503

    The old Lockwood Library on the Main Street campus has woodworking around the enormous fireplace that I was told was done by Kittinger when built in the 30s. I bet they did woodworking in other colleges and universities, not to mention private homes.

  • paulsobo

    We have the Roycroft Campus and a new Roycroft Insignia. Stickley did the same thing. There was the old stickley and then the factory started up again. There is no reason why Roycroft couldnt do the same thing.
    Infact, Roycroft said it is there hope that one day they return to manufacturing. I say why not now.
    As far as Buffalo China and Kittinger and others, hey there are plenty of companies that have exclusive high end brands and they always manage to have something with their name that everyone can afford.
    Even Tiffanies has a tie clip…so someone can say they have a Tiffanies.

  • PaulBuffalo

    Even Tiffanies has a tie clip…so someone can say they have a Tiffanies.
    ChristieLou, I see where you’re going with this: you want Kittinger’s to get into the toothpick business. Brilliant!

  • ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

    I’ve never heard of an inexpensive Philippe Patek.
    But then, you’ve never heard of Philippe Patek.
    Not everything is for the hoi polloi. Some of us get Kittinger. You get a Barcalounger.

  • paulsobo

    There are inexpensive Patek watches and I bought one.
    Actually Barcalounger was a Buffalo company I believe. Wonder what ever happened to it and why it left Buffalo.
    I digress.
    There are always inexpensive versions of very stylish and high end merchandise. Kittinger is the exception not the rule.
    Name a high end brand and they have something in the low and midrange if only for branding. perhaps you need to brush up on your marketing and brand management 101.

  • hamp

    People that know quality furniture know about Kittinger. We’re not talking about stuff you find at Raymour & Flanagan. Kittinger is specified for very high end projects, all over the world.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/FxFCjeIpmILr1s8UmNqaK.5EwqXO#b960f

    @paulsobo:
    “Name a high end brand and they have something in the low and midrange if only for branding”.
    Really?
    There’s a low/midrange Tag Heuer? A low/midrange Ferrari?
    I wanna get my hands on that swag . . .
    ” . . . perhaps you need to brush up on your marketing and brand management 101.”
    Perhaps you should:
    “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.”
    You don’t maintain a “legacy for standards of quality design” by putting out “low/midrange” products “only for branding” . . .

  • paulsobo

    Im not talking Raymour and Flanagan level low and midrange. That would not work.
    Actually Im not a fan of PaulBuffalo but he atleast understands the concept. A Kittinger magazine rack perhaps. Yes even Ferrari probably has hats, key chains or something affordable to the general public.
    nuff sed

  • impressingagent

    It makes me proud to be an american.

  • impressingagent

    like going to see the nutcracker, blue man group, stomp or wicked.

  • impressingagent

    ah more uselessness. three cheers for buffalo rising. ugh
    have a better summer then last year!

  • Mark_P

    FYI Barcalounger was Buffalo made by Barcalo, a company named after its creator Edward Barcalo. His company was a furniture and mattress maker that bought out Charles Hall Tools and got into forgings, tool making, and even parts manufacturing for WWI planes.
    It stayed here at its plant at 255 Louisiana Street until Edward’s death in 1963. At that point, Crescent Niagara (‘crescent wrench’ out of Jamestown) bought the tool division and a company in North Carolina bought out the furniture side and moved everything to NC.
    The building still stands and is currently in use by multiple other businesses today, but the Barcalo brand of furniture and tools is gone.