Fur­ni­ture, with lo­cal brew­ery’s fla­vor

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Local News - By Tara Boz­ick Staff writer

Oo­zlefinch col­lec­tion in­cludes bar ta­bles, stor­age bars, cab­i­nets

When Aletha Nor­ris’s boss em­pow­ered her to find unique fur­ni­ture to bring to Haynes Fur­ni­ture, she knew ex­actly what to pitch.

The 31-year-old buyer for Haynes kept en­vi­sion­ing a line of fur­ni­ture that would com­ple­ment the re­gion’s craft beer move­ment, par­tic­u­larly as she kept hang­ing out at Oo­zlefinch Craft Brew­ery at Fort Mon­roe with her friend and Oo­zlefinch owner Russ Tins­ley.

That re­la­tion­ship and idea led to Vir­ginia Beach-based Haynes Fur­ni­ture sell­ing the Oo­zlefinch-branded fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion styled af­ter the brew­ery’s aes­thetic.

“I thought it was a cool idea. It’s kind of un­ex­pected,” Nor­ris said. “I don’t think we’ve ever done any­thing like this.”

The col­lec­tion is on dis­play as part of Haynes’ Fur­ni­ture Hall show­room within the Vir­ginia Beach store and is on the floor at the New­port News store.

The rus­tic-in­dus­trial col­lec­tion fea­tures wood bar ta­bles, stor­age bars and cab­i­nets with metal ac­cents and com­ple­men­tary stools. The bar-height ta­bles fea­ture metal-pipe footrests. Other pieces in­clude a table with a bar­rel-shaped pedestal, a bar with a built-in cooler and a tufted bar-height bench. Most of the prod­ucts come with the op­tion for a “blonde” or “stout” dis­tressed fin­ish.

The 120-year-old, fam­i­ly­owned Haynes launched its Fur­ni­ture Hall as an ex­hibit­style area of the Vir­ginia Beach store ear­lier this year. It’s de­signed to dis­play ar­ti­san, lo­cal and in­no­va­tive fur­ni­ture and home fur­nish­ings on a ro­tat­ing ba­sis ev­ery 90 to 120 days.

That em­pha­sis on in­ter­est­ing finds em­pow­ered Nor­ris to buy pieces from a ven­dor for an on-trend fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion that would en­able cus­tomers to bring the brew­ery vibe home. While Haynes sells some pri­vate-la­bel brands, this marks the first time Haynes teamed up with a lo­cal part­ner for brand­ing, Pres­i­dent E.J. Stre­litz said.

“It’s fun,” Stre­litz said. “We’ve got to keep our in­dus­try ex­cit­ing.”

Nor­ris, who lives in New­port News, got Tins­ley’s feed­back for the col­lec­tion. To open, Oo­zlefinch own­ers had hand­crafted the brew­ery’s fur­nish­ings, in­clud­ing in­stalling taps in or­nate wood sal­vaged from the his­toric Box­wood Inn in New­port News.

Trust in Nor­ris is what ul­ti­mately led to the col­lab­o­ra­tion, Tins­ley said, adding he wouldn’t have sought out such a pro­ject him­self.

“For us, it was an­other way to sup­port a lo­cal busi­ness,” Tins­ley said. “At the same time, it’s a great way to get out our brand and our name.”

The Nov. 10 launch and Oo­zlefinch beer tast­ing at the Vir­ginia Beach store ended up in­tro­duc­ing the brew­ery to folks in South Hamp­ton Roads who hadn’t known about it, Tins­ley said.

Con­versely, a Haynes bill­board with the name Oo­zlefinch got mom Ash­ley Beck of Nor­folk to stop by the Vir­ginia Beach store with her kids. Beck’s fam­ily en­joys hang­ing out at lo­cal brew­eries, in­clud­ing Oo­zlefinch. They also hap­pen to love fur­ni­ture shop­ping and dis­cussed their fa­vorite pieces.

“We love it. This is our style,” Beck said.

The Oo­zlefinch dis­play at Haynes fea­tures a “tast­ing menu” that lists fur­ni­ture items named af­ter ei­ther Oo­zlefinch brews or ref­er­ences to Fort Mon­roe. Nor­ris said she wanted to cre­ate the feel­ing of be­ing at Oo­zlefinch within the store.

Haynes’ Fur­ni­ture Hall evokes a mar­ket feel and is a throw­back to the for­mer 1869built Fur­ni­ture Hall build­ing at the cor­ner of Granby and Main streets in down­town Nor­folk, Stre­litz said. That build­ing, bought by the Stre­litz fam­ily, housed the flag­ship Haynes Fur­ni­ture store from the 1950s un­til the 1970s. Also known as the Ikon build­ing, the struc­ture was de­mol­ished in 2007. The hall fea­tures 10-12 man­u­fac­tur­ers or de­sign­ers, a list that cur­rently in­cludes Black Dog Sal­vage in Roanoke, Mex­i­can­na­tive brand Taracea and Giuseppe & Giuseppe by Ni­co­letti & Calia from Italy.

Fur­ni­ture Hall caters to to­day’s more dis­cern­ing and ed­u­cated con­sumers who may watch HGTV or de­sign shows and want fur­ni­ture that can’t be found else­where, Nor­ris said. While the Oo­zlefinch fur­ni­ture pairs eas­ily with en­ter­tain­ment spa­ces, she en­vi­sions the counter-height fur­ni­ture could also serve as kitchen is­lands.

Fur­ni­ture Hall is slated to come to the New­port News store on Jef­fer­son Av­enue early next year, Stre­litz said. The Den­bigh store is un­der­go­ing about a cou­ple mil­lion dol­lars worth of ren­o­va­tions, he said. Tara Boz­ick, 757-247-4741, tboz­[email protected]­ly­press.com, @Tide­wa­terBiz. Sign up for a free week­day busi­ness news email at Tide­wa­terBiz.com.

AN­GELA DOU­GLAS/FOR THE DAILY PRESS

Aletha Nor­ris and Russ Tins­ley sit at the Oo­zlefinch fur­ni­ture line in the Haynes store in Vir­ginia Beach on Nov. 12. Most of the prod­ucts come with the op­tion for a “blonde” or “stout” dis­tressed fin­ish.

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