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JANETTE FLING HAS A FIVE-YEAR PLAN tO bring the furniture company she bought at a liquidation sale back to life. So far, her start-small strategy is working BY JOAN DELANEY
Breathing life into a company that has gone belly up is difficult in the best of times. In a recession, the challenge is particularly daunting. Getting financing and building market share can prove especially elusive in a tight economy.
Janette Fling is one entrepreneur who has persevered against the odds. In two years the 46-year-old has successfully turned around Schafer Bros., a manufacturer of traditional and contemporary office furniture. A knowledge of the market, a belief in the product and a certain amount of chutzpah have helped Fling put Schafer Bros. back on course.
For 51 years, the Garden Grove, California, company had thrived as a manufacturer of top-of-the-line, handcrafted furniture. its line of wing chairs and leather couches was particularly popular with banks, insurance companies and law firms, as well as consumers. In 1988 sales peaked at $25 million. The company had 250 employees and a factory in North Carolina.
Then the economy soured, and so did the fortunes of Schafer Bros. In 1989, sales plunged to $6 million. Saddled with debt-it had …