Northwest Territories - Arctic Furniture Manufacturing

Full Size Sofa and Love Seat, Tuxedo Style, Traditional Skirting, Bolsters, Reversable Pattern Aligned Cushions

Tuxedo Style, Contemporary, Bold Floral Pattern Chair, Sofa Set

Furniture Factory Frame Shop Interior, Part Storage R, Foam Wrap Storage L, Seat Cushion Foam in Attic not shown

Furniture Factory in the Arctic?

The Story

The Department of Economic Development, Government of Northwest Territories, Canada, had a fledgling upholstery operation severely in need of production and design engineering.

The operation was located in Hay River North of 60°" (the parallel) and handicapped by its location hundreds of miles from its suppliers and major markets.


A major and well-respected consulting firm conducted a year-long feasibility study of the project and gave it a resounding thumbs down. Not possible to carry off. Dozens of reasons were given in its 200-page report.


Unconvinced, Govt. officials sought out the services of Brooks Engineering & Design, a then, one man operation working the twin disciplines of industrial engineering and industrial design. Being highly impressed with the company's production engineering work for a successful British Columbia interior furnishings company, they wanted to enlist the aid of "the Yank" who enjoyed moving low tech operations to higher tech.


The existing line of furniture had a park bench like appearance with 2" thick, very hard foam cushions. The furniture was so unattractive and production so flawed that some workers were embarrassed to the point of taking a back road arriving behind the factory where they could park out of sight so no one would know where they worked.


Reinvention of the entire seating line was necessary including frames, tooling, jigs and production system. Space being at a premium (unavailable), the existing facility had to be used (the Moose Hall- an old house with walls removed). No room for shipping so a 40' semi-trailer was backed up to the front to serve as a shipping room.


Bottom Line: Pride in the operation and its new furniture blossomed. Employees begged to show it off at the regional fair. Factory was fully operational in 12 months. A successful trade show drew rave reviews including a CBC interview with the "Yank". Perhaps best of all, the little company won a bidding competition with major southern manufacturers to supply the NWT Govt's annual furniture needs and was operating in the black the first year.

Century Style love seat in brown suede. A product of the Hay River Furniture Factory, Hay River, NWT, Canada - Ca 1976

Classic Style Nylon White Velvet Sofa and Love Seat

Arctic factory space at a premium

Trailers unload raw materials at factory door

Products ready for shipment

The crew that made it all happen

With a little help from the local newspaper