Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


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