Bernards Inc. moving into former Guilford Mills site
By Laura Young - The Business Journal (Greater Triad Area)
February 19, 2010
Greensboro - A Triad furniture importer and distributor is moving its headquarters and warehouse operations into a former Guilford Mills plant.
Bernards Inc., which is currently in Archdale, will move around July into about 240,000 square feet of space at 5644 Hornaday Road, said Jeff Friedman, co-owner of Bernards, along with Dale Ward.
The site, a former 300,000-square foot Guilford Mills plant, has been empty for about five years and, according to real estate records, was purchased in 2008 for $4.6 million by Woodland, Calif.-based Tower Investments. Tower said in early 2008 that it planned to turn the property into a shopping center, but that the space was available for lease until it secured tenants.
While it is possible the building might one day still be converted into a retail center, any such development would now be at least a decade away, as Bernards has a 10-year lease with an option to purchase the building.
Friedman said the Hornaday Road location is similar in size to the building the company now leases on Archdale Boulevard, but the design of its new home is more efficient and provides more usable space for the company.
He said the space also has better visibility - it's just off Interstate 40 - and saves Bernards money because of a better lease rate. Friedman declined to disclose the terms of the lease or how much the company is saving.
A third-quarter 2009 report from Karnes, which tracks commercial space for the Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Burlington commercial Realtors alliances, listed the average rent per square foot for warehouse space at $3.50. Dodson Schenck, managing director of CB Richard Ellis in Greensboro who represented Tower, declined to give the specific lease rate, but he said "it is below average, certainly well below (the $3.50) number."
Schenck added that the building will still have 40,000 square feet of usable space available for lease.
Friedman said the new space will require some painting, carpeting and other basic upfitting, and that the move will be phased during the next several months. It will include a 10,000-square foot customer showroom, while the rest of the building will house office and warehouse operations for the company, which has about 1,800 customers, including furniture stores and buyers of college dormitory furniture.
Friedman said for now, Bernards doesn't plan to add to its full-time staff of 50.
He declined to give specific numbers but said that 2009 sales were relatively flat compared to 2008. However, Friedman said the company has seen some uptick in the last six to seven months as customers deplete their once-overstocked inventories and place more orders.
He added that the company will keep its Bernards showroom at the International Home Furnishings Center in High Point.
Jordan Reece of Triad Commercial Properties and A.B. Henley of RealtyAnalytix Advisors LLC, both of High Point, represented Bernards in the deal.