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Steelcase Solutions opens in Leeds, UK

Friday 24 February 2012

Steelcase Solutions, the UK office furniture dealership, has moved into Yorkshire as part of its national expansion plan. The company, which specialises in office fit-outs, refurbishments, and design, will officially launch its new base today at Brewery Place in Brewery Wharf, Leeds.

It is headed up by regional manager Jacqui Withnell and Julie Sharp, customer liaison manager, but there are plans to grow to 15 staff in the next five years.

The team is already working with a number of high-profile clients, including a football club and a Yorkshire university.

Under its previous business model, Steelcase’s route to market was through independently-owned dealerships. Mrs Withnell previously owned a Steelcase dealership and worked with the company for 25 years.

But in 2006, just before the financial crisis, a number of dealers went into receivership and the company decided to create a subsidiary – Steelcase Solutions – and switched to a handful of regional offices instead.

There are currently bases in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow as well as Leeds.

“It started in London and gradually moved through the country,” said Mrs Withnell. “Leeds is the last piece in the jigsaw.”

Although the office is only a few weeks old, it is already very active, despite a subdued commercial property market.

One of the key product areas Steelcase sees requests for is recycled and recyclable furniture.

The firm’s Manchester office recently completed a contract with a large law firm for its Think office chair, which is 99.9 per cent recyclable and adjusts itself intuitively rather than requiring the user to adjust it.

“It fitted in with their sustainability programme and their corporate message,” said Mrs Withnell. “The fact that it adjusts itself also means there are fewer parts that can go wrong with it.”

Steelcase Solutions was formed in 2006 in London. It has since expanded throughout the UK with bases in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

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