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August 11, 2007

Shop Talk: Nikita Indoor Outdoor furniture

Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Nikita Grigoriev, owner and inventor of the Nikita Indoor Outdoor furniture line.


Tell me about your business: I’ve been in the furniture industry for 25 years and basically founded the futon industry. We were one of the first to manufacture futon frames. The industry started off with a lot of quality people, but over time, the industry went overseas as the Wal-Marts, Targets, etc., got involved, and essentially killed the market. There are only a few who manufacture (futon frames) in the States anymore, and we’re one of them.

We’ve tried to perfect efficiency in everything we do. There’s no wasted time or energy. Instead of the cost of shipping and warehousing, we make it locally.

All the parts are interchangeable, as well.

Describe a typical day in your business:

I pretty well do what I want. I just bought a plane, so I plan on doing a lot of flying. My secret passion is also classical guitar.

But beyond that, I design furniture, and I work in the production center (in Richfield Springs) _ I like to be hands-on and actually make the furniture myself. I spend some time here (in the showroom) as well.

How did you get started in this line of work?

I was an aeronautics and mechanical engineer _ I designed and built DeHavilland aircraft. I became a pilot, but I was very bored with it. I felt like a glorified bus driver. I had creativity bursting out of me, and I just had to do my own thing.

I was on a flight back from California one day, and I became intrigued by the idea of making a frame that’s really so simple. I started doodling on my napkin, trying to figure it out. I finally got it into an arrangement where the proportions were just right. From that drawing to getting an actual prototype, I would say it took me a week or two. From there, I started the patenting process.

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