Building custom service: Wilding Wallbeds helps homeowners regain living space
By BOB HUDSON
ST. GEORGE -- Although he has been involved in the furniture business his entire life, Bob Wilding did not start out as a furniture maker. He worked as manager of R.C. Willey's Murray store and eventually worked in sales at The Boulevard in St. George.
He began making custom furniture in about 1993 when he was working at The Boulevard store and a California couple asked him to make several pieces of custom furniture for them.
"They asked for a Murphy bed," Wilding recalled during a recent interview. A Murphy bed is one that retracts into a wall. William Murphy invented the folding wall bed sometime the early part of the 20th century.
"We have such a rare product; it's hard for furniture stores to handle," Wilding said. He credited the Internet with the growth of the company, which he started in his garage in the Diamond Valley area. Shortly after building that wall bed and having others inquire about the product, Wilding had a Web site.
The first order came from Louisiana. Filling it created a need for some sort of shipping container. So Wilding worked with the folks at Longview Fibre, who have a facility in Cedar City, to create the right kind of box.
"We had three orders the first week," Wilding recalled.
"If it wasn't for my wife, none of this would have happened," Wilding said. He said Moira pushed him to create the company.
Initially the company consisted of a handful of people, including sons Dennis and Dan, as well as Steve Parkinson, now the operations manager.
Today the company is housed in a new facility in the Fort Pearce Industrial Park. It has doubled in size since moving out of Diamond Valley, with approximately 30 people on its workforce. Dennis Wilding said the new facility was built in the industrial park because the proposed Southern Corridor will provide easy access to Interstate 15 and its major markets.
Ninety-five percent of the wallbeds built are shipped across the world, Dennis Wilding said, noting that Las Vegas has been a fertile market. He added that the company ships 120 units per month.
"Dennis and Steve had the vision of building in an industrial area and adding new machinery," Bob Wilding said. "They had the ambition and foresight. When I got tired, they grabbed the ball and ran."
Included with the wallbeds are custom wood cabinets that add to any room.
Dennis Wilding said the Murphy bed is just a great idea that has developed because of the home office. "It gives (the customer) their room back."
Bob Wilding said the cabinets do not involve the use of pressed fiberboard or plastic. He added that if a customer wants a certain item, "we can do it."
Dennis Wilding said the company emphasizes customer service and satisfaction.
"We're not afraid to take care of a customer, no matter what the cost," he said.
He said the company's satisfaction guarantee includes the coverage of shipping costs and a full refund. "Fortunately we've had only one in all the years," he said of returns. "The difference between us and other manufacturers is the quality."