Here’s what Norwalk’s new CEO is planning as he takes the leadership reins

NORWALK, Ohio — Norwalk Furniture’s new president/CEO Tim Newlin is starting his first day on the job with an eye on taking the company into its next growth phase. And while he is still less than 24 hours into his new official role, Newlin has already mapped out a plan of action to set the process in motion.

“During my first 120 days, I’ll meet with our customers, our reps, the employees,” Newlin told Furniture Today. “That’s always the best way to learn: ask questions, see things with my own eyes. I’m excited to do that and experience it, and the No. 1 goal is to be involved in all of the places I need to be.”

As the CEO of Norwalk, Newlin heads up an employee-owned company with more than 270 employees and a 440,000-square-foot plant. In effect since 2020, the ESOP structure offers inherent opportunities, Newlin said.

“As owners of the company, the employees share in the growth of the company, and I plan to continue to engage them in that process,” he said “In today’s environment, people have a lot of stress at home and in life in general, and if you have a really good culture at work — one where you feel valued and know what’s going on and there is good communication at a high level — then that really helps people every day. We’re setting goals, and we will make sure everyone knows what those are and how we can work at it together.”

Engaging with the employee-owners is one part of Newlin’s three-pillar strategy for Norwalk as he settles into his new role. Additionally, he is planning to focus on if and where investments might be made as well as the continuation of Norwalk’s role within the furniture industry.

“We will continue to invest in the manufacturing side where needed; that’s one of our strategy pillars,” Newlin said. “We’ll look at where it makes sense to enhance our plant and make sure we are capable of doing whatever is needed to produce what consumers need.

“It’s also important for us to continue to be on trend and stay on top of what’s happening with consumers,” he continued, referencing a second strategy pillar. “We know what’s happening in fashion can help inform what consumers are doing, and we’ll consider that as well as information from aggregators outside of our space to develop our trends and stay at the forefront.”

Newlin added that Norwalk’s buying audience offers unique opportunities that support future growth.

“Custom upholstery is certainly the hook here at Norwalk, and when the consumer is working through a designer, they are in the customer’s home every day and learning what they are looking for in their furniture. I love that we can tap into that insight.

“When a consumer is not working with a designer, then we want to be part of that consideration at retail,” he continued. “So another goal will be to make sure we are engaging with consumers through our retailers. That’s a great opportunity for the Norwalk brand.”

Noting that there will be more to come as he settles in at Norwalk, Newlin said he is looking forward to his new role and what’s to come.

“It’s always been a goal to get to the top spot at a company,” he said. “This is where you can take what you’ve learned and your knowledge of the business and use it to build the culture of a company completely. Norwalk has a great baseline to build on, and the product and quality are familiar to me. Now I get to be part of taking it to the next level.”

See also:

  • Norwalk names Tim Newlin as president, CEO
  • Norwalk will transition to employee ownership

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