GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Two Hope College fraternity brothers found a unique solution to repair their beanbag chair: Use foam from an old couch.
That was 1997. Since then, their inventiveness has thrived.
Chip George and partner Matt Jung have won numerous awards for small business success and entrepreneurship, as their company, Comfort Research, has grown to 100 employees. It ships seating products all over North America.
Comfort Research may be best known for beanbag chairs, but the company makes all kinds of comfy, collapsible chairs that are found in dorm rooms, rec rooms, and basements nationwide. Some of the best sellers are the "Big Joe" and "Fuf" chairs.
"Keeping it growing, that's our goal," George said in a recent interview at the company's Westside headquarters.
"When we started out in '97, it just so happened the internet was starting at the same time. We got calls from internet customers asking 'can you drop ship?' which means 'can you ship direct to my customer if I send you an order?' We've built a lot of our business around the internet and being able to drop ship, so we've become very efficient," said George.
Some of the seating covers are made in China, but the company says as it gets more efficient in sewing, some of that product may be produced in Grand Rapids.
"We're able to really try and bring some of those items back here. Beside putting more people back to work, we can offer a quicker product and control the consistency and quality too," said David Bayer, a marketing executive with the company.