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Richter Designs To Open New Factory In Mexico

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Richter Designs, a manufacturer of better upholstered furniture for some of the nation’s leading retail chains, will open a 335,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, that will help it meet the strong demand for its products. Expected to become operational in July 2006, the factory will be five miles away from the company’s new 120,000-square-foot cutting facility and distribution center in Somerton, Ariz. Richter’s executive offices and design center will remain in Los Angeles, less than five hours away by car. Combined, the two new facilities will employ approximately 300 people. “This sophisticated new facility will position us perfectly for the future,” said Braden Richter, founder of Richter Designs. “It will be equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and staffed with an eager and well-trained workforce to provide consistent high quality in everything we produce.” The San Luis Rio plant will double the manufacturing capacity of Richter’s current factory in Los Angeles and, together with the nearby Somerton facility, will triple the company’s overall distribution capacity. Designed by architect Francisco Javier Moreno, the building is located near several other luxury-brand factories in San Luis Rio, including one operated by Bose Corp. The announcement represents a milestone for Richter, the dba of Apex Design Group, LLC. Apex Design acquired the assets of Richter Manufacturing 2002 out of bankruptcy last November. Apex Design is an affiliate of Buxbaum Group, the turnaround investor based in Calabasas, Calif. “Richter Designs has a strong customer base and an excellent lineup of products, and this $3 million investment in its production and distribution capacity will allow it to fulfill its potential,” said David Ellis, chief executive officer of Apex Design and president and chief operating officer of Buxbaum Group. Richter counts among its customers such upscale retail chains as William Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie and Restoration Hardware. It had sales of about $55 million in 2005. Among the new equipment being purchased for the facility are computerized cutting machines and ergonomically designed sewing machine workstations. The factory will make full use of the company’s new Macola information-technology system, which will allow customers to track their orders through delivery. There will be separate areas for the production of fabric and leather furniture. “We designed the interior of the factory to allow work to flow efficiently, which will greatly increase our productivity,” said Richter. “The San Luis Rio location was selected after months of research, in part because of its easy access to freeways and the quality of its workforce, which has undergone extensive training to ensure the highest quality workmanship,” noted Paul Buxbaum, chairman of Buxbaum Group. “Its proximity to Richter’s headquarters and design studio in Los Angeles will facilitate fluid communication.” The factory will offer employees such amenities as an onsite cafeteria, daycare and a dispensary staffed with a doctor and nurse. Operations will be directed by a team that collectively has managed factories with more than a half-billion dollars in sales. “We are thrilled to have assembled a management team that will help Richter produce the finest in furniture designs, on time and with the highest quality in the industry,” said Ellis. About Buxbaum Group: Buxbaum Group had built its reputation for over 30 years as one of the largest liquidators and appraisers of retail and wholesale inventories, as well as machinery and industrial equipment, across North America. While continuing to operate in those areas, the company has shifted its primary focus in recent years to turnaround investing along with specialty financing. Additionally, a subsidiary, Pathway Strategic Partners, LLC, provides turnaround, expansion and/or downsizing strategies, in conjunction with other advisory consulting and management services.

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