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Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Briefcase

November 24, 2002

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College students create 'comfortable' Foof chairs

The bean bag chair in the Hope College fraternity house of Matt Jung, above left, and Chip George was leaking beads. By 1997 more bag than bean remained. George and Jung fixed it by jamming ripped-up couch cushions into the bag.

"It was the most comfortable chair in the house. Everybody would fight for it," George said.

The innovation was the start of the Foof chair and Comfort Research.

The pair bought a sewing machine and a 16-horsepower chipper to shred foam. Meijer Inc. bought 50 chairs and sold them in its East Lansing, Mich., store. The chairs that retail for about $45.

Things moved quickly from there. The two began contracting with a Mississippi factory to make the bags. Soon, they were dealing with stores like Room to Grow, Urban Outfitters and BJ's Wholesale Club.

They recently opened a new plant in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Motley Fool: Name that company

I was formed in 1867, when my founders bought the Enquirer Job Printing Rooms from The Cincinnati Enquirer. My first offerings included posters printed for theaters and circuses. In 1880 I began producing what I'm known for today :quot; Bicycles, Bees, Mavericks and Hoyles. My flagship product is found in most homes in America, and brings joy to many. It's a snap to use, though it sometimes takes concentration. It's used in war, too, and scared the Viet Cong in the '60s. My best-selling brand has been in continuous production since 1885. I'm a private company. Who am I?

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