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How the STURDY Act Challenged Ohio Furniture Builders

Furniture World News Desk on 9/22/2023


Even though it’s been almost a year since the CPSC approved the STURDY Act, the federal safety standard for clothing storage furniture, the legislation just went into effect earlier this month.

Also known as the “Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth, this act was set in motion to lessen the child injury and death rates caused by bedroom clothing storage units. It laid out requirements to make bedroom furniture safe and tip-over resistant.

The legislation presented various challenges for large and small, promotional and higher-end manufacturers. Many that produce lightweight, promotionally priced products needed to make drastic changes, including discontinuing many products.

Word of the new regulations spread fast among the largest case goods manufacturers, leaving many smaller operations to catch up. But smaller manufacturers, like many of the members of the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Guild (OHFG) that make heavier, solid wood furniture, had an easier time.

The OFHG stepped in early to help get their members ahead. The guild held a meeting in Charm, Ohio, where 130 manufacturers gathered to listen to a presentation from the guild’s Executive Director, Kendrick Mullet.  His presentation covered every aspect of the STURDY Act regulation, including testing, labeling, and certificate requirements. Mullet showed examples of the testing process, using both interlock drawer systems and counterweights.

Mullet noted that “our furniture is going to be better quality for a better value as large manufacturers adjust to these rules,” Mullet stated. “…I believe retailers and buyers are going to seek out American-made products that are well-built (and) meet the new requirements…and this should be looked at as an opportunity for growth…”

In closing, Mullet encouraged the OHFG members by saying, “I have an unwavering belief that the STURDY Act presents a great opportunity for us as small batch manufacturers. We are already building heavy-duty, durable products; therefore, compliance will be easier and more cost-effective.”

Since that meeting, many OHFG members have had to make very few changes to their existing products. Many passed the tests quickly with the simple additions of interlocks and counterweights. It’s safe to say that quality hardwood furniture continues to stand the test of time, with many Ohio manufacturers, especially in Amish communities, successfully transitioning to become STURDY Act compliant.

For more information on the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Guild, its member companies, and the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Market, visit https://ohiohardwoodfurnituremarket.com.