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LILLY Industries: a 21st century supplier to the furniture industry

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The 1996 merger of Indianapolis-based Lilly Industries, Inc. and Grand Rapids-based Guardsman Products, Inc. positioned Lilly Industries, Inc. as the largest supplier of fine furniture finishes to the North American furniture industry. Lilly now offers the Guardsman_ line of furniture care, maintenance and protection products, which they supply to furniture retailers and consumers. In addition, completing a full circle of protection and service, Lilly, through its Guardsman WoodPro_ in-home service franchise operation, offers repair and refinishing services to the furniture manufacturer, retailer and consumer. According to Keith C. Vander Hyde, vice president/general manager of the consumer products arm, Lilly can boast a level of preeminence from both service and technology standpoints. For example, its technicians have provided color styling and services for top furniture manufacturers and also generated many effective and environmentally sound innovations over the years. Combined leading-edge coating technologies include waterborne, conventional and high solids lacquer, radiation cure, acid cure, urethane, pre-catalyzed and low-HAPs chemistries. "In addition to waterborne and acid cure product patents, our commitment to coatings research and development is evident in the over 100 chemists we employ to focus on performance and quality issues that are important to furniture consumers," said Greg Muselman, technology director for Lilly's Wood Coatings Business Unit. "We work with manufacturers in the field and in our High Point, N.C. color and design studio to not only solve their problems, but also to keep them at the forefront of technical innovations that can reduce costs, increase productivity, reduce emissions and add value to their furniture." Lilly also serves furniture manufacturers overseas from a growing number of plants and production facilities located in China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Through its High Point application laboratory, the company is able to verify application capabilities in spray, reverse roll coat, direct roll coat and flow coat systems for domestic and international clients. Lilly then develops products cooperatively with customers to meet application requirements such as improved transfer efficiency, protection, aesthetics and reduced emissions. Lilly, through its Guardsman line of furniture care products, including fabric, leather and case goods warranties enable Lilly to help retailers sell furniture to consumers. These furniture care products and programs, tailored to the varied lifestyles of consumers, help retailers ensure furniture quality long after the sale. Guardsman pioneered retailer-applied fabric protection along with the extra warranty coverage these programs provide. In addition Lilly now offers a variety of consumer products to maintain the like-new condition of furniture, including Furniture Polish and Cleaner, Dusting and Polishing cloths, Furniture Stain Remover Cloth and Touch-up Pens. More than 12,000 furniture retailers worldwide carry the Guardsman line of products. Guardsman furniture care products are also available at mass merchants, home centers, hardware and specialty retailers. Facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia supply and support the furniture retailer and the consumer internationally. Furthermore, Lilly supports its retail products with a toll-free customer service number and a sales force comprised of experienced furniture industry professionals who teach retailers about products, warranties, and how to effectively reach customers through interaction, video and verbal demonstrations and sales retraining. Point-of-purchase materials including brochures, hang tags, product displays/merchandisers and demonstration centers are also available to retailers as well as interactive sales support via the Internet and a new touch-screen formatted software and kiosk program. Lilly also maintains Guardsman WoodPro franchise operations in the United States and Canada, which offer a complete range of furniture repair and refinishing services for commercial and residential customers. Guardsman WoodPro franchise owners work with many furniture manufacturers and freight companies to repair furniture that has defects or has been damaged in transit. These businesses are operated by trained professionals who are dedicated to maintaining and restoring the beauty to quality wood furniture. Lilly ranks among the largest North American manufacturers of industrial coatings and specialty chemical products. Founded in 1865 in Indianapolis, Lilly supplies customers worldwide from plant and sales offices located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company acquired Guardsman Products, Inc. in 1996. For more information about Lilly Industries, Inc. and its capabilities, call (800) 253-3957 extension 856, e-mail at baltrub@guardsman.com.

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