Home Back Issues January 2013 Portland's Ergo Depot specializes in ergonomic furniture

Portland's Ergo Depot specializes in ergonomic furniture

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2013
Monday, December 10, 2012

BY LINDA BAKER

The future of sitting is standing. That prediction distills the essence of Ergo Depot, a Portland-based distributor of ergonomic home and office furniture. Founded in 2005, the company is growing more than 60% annually, a growth rate president David Kahl credits to new health-and-wellness trends, as well as the company’s visually appealing and relatively affordable designs.

“People have become more aware of the damage we’re doing to our bodies by becoming stagnant, sitting for long periods of time,” says Kahl, who is careful to note that he is walking around while being interviewed on the phone. “It’s a natural reaction. When you’re on the phone, you want to be alert.”

Plenty of dealers sell ergonomic desks and chairs, Kahl says. “But no other company does what we do,” which is assembling carefully curated products, including “sit-stand” desks and “saddle chairs,” all in one place. Ergonomic furniture can also be expensive and look like “something out of a Cold War movie,” says Kahl, who selects Ergo Depot’s 108 products for their “nice lines” and reasonable prices. An electronically controlled adjustable-height desk, made in Denmark, sells for about $600.

A former partner in a Manhattan furniture store, Kahl sells primarily to small businesses, as well as sonographers and radiographers. The company, which employs seven, used to sell exclusively online, until last January, when Kahl opened a Portland showroom. Furniture that “invites people to move” needs to be experienced, he says. Since opening, showroom sales as a percentage of total sales have skyrocketed. In 2011, the company grossed about $2.5 million and is on target to gross $4 million in 2012.

More people are realizing that movement is “really crucial even when we’re working,” Kahl says. He plans to open a second showroom in a major West Coast city this year.

The ergonomic segment of the office market is growing and evolving much faster than other segments, he says. “The chairs of the future,” he observes, “are going to look much different than they do today.”


0113 GamePlan ErgoDepot 01 0113 GamePlan ErgoDepot 03 0113 GamePlan ErgoDepot 05
Ergo Depot president David Kahl in his Portland showroom.
Ergo Depot’s Portland showroom, with the Gravity Balans chair in the foreground.
The Swopper features a tilting spring mechanism.
// Photos by Sierra Breshears

Correction appended: This article has been corrected to reflect the following change. Ergo Depot sells to sonographers, not stenographers.

 

More Articles

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 26, 2014
0926 iphone6-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.


Read more...

Report Card

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS