For over 150 years, The Kittinger Furniture Company has set an unparalleled standard among manufacturers of fine furniture.
Established in 1866 - one year after peace between the North and the South was restored - America held a wealth of natural resources, a burgeoning free-trade market, and a massive Western Frontier waiting to be developed. Industrial entrepreneurs were filled with high hopes and magnificent expectations. George and Oliver Colie were such entrepreneurs.
The Colies' opened a paper factory in the bustling Great Lakes port city of Buffalo, NY. Soon thereafter, they also began to manufacture upholstered furniture and that business boomed. In 1885 they opened a furniture plant that produced beautiful hand-crafted furniture in classic 18th century styles.
When George Colie's son-in-law, Irvine J. Kittinger, took the helm, The Kittinger Furniture Company was born. To Irvine Kittinger, quality was paramount.
Our business is not primarily to turn furniture into money, but to produce something really worthwhile.
- Irvine J. Kittinger
In 1966, the Kittinger family sold the company to General Interiors Corporation which began the era of "revolving door"ownership.
1975 - General Mills Corporation takes ownership
1975 - Kittinger purchases Biggs Furniture of Richmond, Virginia
1986 - Chicago-Pacific Corporation takes ownership
1988 - Maytag Corporation takes ownership
1989 - Ladd Furniture Corporation takes ownership
1990 - Michael Carlow, a private investor, takes ownership
Although respect for the furniture industry varied by owners, the quality of Kittinger Furniture remained excellent and was always the pride of its skilled workers. Unfortunately, due to mismanagement and the legal issues of Michael Carlow, Kittinger Furniture was forced to close its iconic Elmwood Avenue factory and the companies assets were scheduled for auction.
In 1996, Ray (a Master Cabinetmaker at Kittinger) and Karen Bialkowski purchased the Kittinger Furniture Company and all of its intellectual property. They quickly re-established the company and settled in a new factory in North Buffalo. Many of the original craftsman returned to work for the re-opened company.
Since taking ownership, Ray and Karen have grown and expanded the Kittinger Furniture Company. In 2014, the Kittinger Furniture Company opened a new factory and headquarters where all furniture is still made to order by the hands of skilled craftsmen.