Well-Furnished In The Motor City

GM awards $50 million contract toblack-owned office furniture distributor

Talk about starting out on the fast track. Just weeks after Detroit- based Metropolitan Facilities Resource (MFR) was launched in January, the minority-owned office furniture distributor pulled off a major coup– it acquired a $50 million contract to furnish the city’s next General Motors Headquarters. The pact, which is the largest contract GM has ever offered for furnishings, is also one of the largest private contracts ever awarded to a furniture company, according to MFR’s president Darrel Francis.

“They like the look of Herman Miller furniture and how we used it in our plans,” Francis says. MFR is a distributor for Herman Miller Inc., a $1.3 billion manufacturer of contract office furnishings in Zeeland, Michigan. MFR has seven full-time employees; other clients include the Detroit Medical Center.

During the next five and a half years, MFR will work with Herman Miller Inc. to furnish all 9,000 workstations, seating areas, offices, learning centers and filing areas at the GM Global Headquarters at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. The first offices were scheduled to be completed this past April. An additional 18 floors will be completed during the remainder of this year. Thereafter 25 floors will be finished each year until the entire 136-floor complex is complete.

As one of only a few minority-owned distributors in the country, it’s important for MFR to do a stellar job with the Renaissance Center, says Francis. “This is a test for all minority firms,” he says. “Everyone is looking at us now.”

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