From Components to Complete Tables and Chairs
How did Versteel rise from a start-up with two product lines to production in two factories, a loyal customer base, and national distribution of a complete collection of tables and chairs? Part of the answer is being a supplier of high quality components to furniture manufacturers for nearly sixty years. And, it helps to be based in Jasper, Indiana, known nationwide as the place where fine contract furniture is designed and produced.
Versteel’s parent company, Ditto Sales was founded in 1939 as a manufacturer’s representative for the furniture hardware, finishing supplies, and later, added sales of woodworking machinery and custom fabricated metal furniture parts.
A growing reputation for quality in manufacturing and service accelerated the steady expansion of the company. Ditto Sales became incorporated in 1970 and started adding plastic components to the offering throughout the decade. By the early 1980’s, the company was deeply involved in manufacturing metal components for chairs, tables and restaurant furniture. In 1983, the company purchased a plating facility in nearby Evansville, Indiana, to further improve the quality and shorten delivery time for its products.
In the mid-1980’s, aftermarket research indicated a void in the contract marketplace for metal base tables. Ditto Sales, Inc. entered the business of designing, building and marketing complete tables under the Versteel name in 1985. Ditto Sales continues today in sales and distribution to a variety of manufacturers in the Midwest.
“Before we ever put a pencil to our first design,” says Scott Schwinghammer, President of Versteel and Ditto Sales, “we knew quality and service would be the key to our success.” Versteel benefits from its parent company’s experience in meeting tight specifications and by access to facilities, which allow production economies without any compromise in custom capabilities. Versteel offers clients the capability to produce one-of-a-kind designs. This has led to some customers saying of Versteel, “If it can be done, they’ll do it.”
Versteel manufactures a comprehensive line of tables, ranging from training tables for education and conference centers, to tables with tilting tops or folding legs for compact storage, to tables that can be linked together in grouped configurations. The Companion chair line was introduced in 1996 to provide a coordinating line of seating.
To accommodate the growing volume of tables and seating generated by its aggressive sales and marketing efforts, Versteel has continually upgraded its manufacturing capabilities, including a modern 135,000 sq. ft. production facility in Jasper. Also, a new 16,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters building was completed adjacent to the operating facility in March of 2000. It features modern architecture and is home to over 190 employees.
Future facility planning includes the potential for an additional 85,000 sq. ft. expansion of the modern production facility in Jasper, complimenting the 7,000 sq. ft. chrome plating facility.
Versteel is an extremely vertically integrated company that can use either its production capabilities or outside sources to meet the customer’s needs. Quality is controlled by being privately held with on-site ownership supervision. It is our belief that all of our employees can be responsible for the complete control of quality. Our breadth of products produced for Versteel, as well as many local manufacturers, allows for the ability to meet all requests in the contract table and chair industry.