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Tanner Furniture to triple space with relocation planned for August

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Coming off its best sales month in company history, Swatara Township-based Tanner Furniture is moving its headquarters next month to a much bigger facility on Derry Street.

President Gary Poffenberger said he expects to be operating out of a roughly 15,000-square-foot space at 7813 Derry St. — triple what the company has now — by the second or third week of August.

Tanner, a local leader in furnishings for corporate, education and health care clients, has seen consistent growth and no longer has the necessary space to remain in leased space on South Harrisburg Street.

"We see the corporate world spending more than they were three to five years ago," said Poffenberger, also noting a steady uptick in health care work.

Nearly all of Tanner's projects are business-to-business transactions in Pennsylvania. Half of that comes from educational clients, while the rest is split between the medical field and other corporate clients.

"Despite cuts in education, that is still a strong component (for us)," said Poffenberger.

Tanner, which aligned itself with Haworth Inc. last fall, posted revenue of $5.3 million in 2011, according to Business Journal records. Last year, the company was in the $5.5 million range, Poffenberger said.

Strong sales this year have the company trending about 30 percent above those record years, which would put it in the $7 million range.

Within the last six months, Tanner has added a new designer, sales associate, distribution manager and installation supervisor, pushing its staffing up to 15, Poffenberger said.

In the new facility, which is about 90 percent complete, there will be about 5,000 square feet of showroom and office space. The rest will be for warehousing. The building will incorporate Haworth technology with the use of TecCrete raised flooring, which allows the company to run its electrical and mechanical systems under the floor.

"The new space increases our infrastructure," Poffenberger said, adding that it also creates the potential to be a $10 million to $15 million company within five years.

Becoming a Haworth dealer also has opened some corporate doors, he said. The Michigan-based company is one of the largest manufacturers of office furniture.

Tanner recently inked a deal with The Hershey Co. to provide Haworth seating for offices as part of its "Project Next Century" modernization program in Derry Township.

The company has done work for the Bishop McDevitt and Donegal high schools. It is working with Cumberland Valley School District on an administrative building upgrade. Its biggest project so far this year is for the Carlisle Area School District, which is expanding both of its middle schools.

"It's the largest we'll have in 2013-14," he said, citing a contract in the range of $800,000 to $1 million.

Much of its business comes through referrals and established relationships, Poffenberger said. He said he believes customer service, quick response time and design is what got the company to this point.

"I would rather relationship sell than chase bids," he said.

He also cites slow growth and calculated risks as reasons for the company's success. For several years, it was largely a $2 million to $3 million company, Business Journal records show.

Since opening in 1989, Tanner has evolved from Poffenberger's father's garage to a modest office and warehouse space in Mechanicsburg, then the move to Swatara Township.

"We're excited about the (new) space. We see growth in our future," he said.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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