The Global Group celebrated its 50th anniversary last month with a monumental party that not only served as a thank-you to the company's many loyal dealers and partners, but also set the stage for the Toronto-based furniture maker's next half century as it opened a sparkling new headquarters-based showroom.
The event and the revamped headquarters reflect Global's growing importance as a designer-driven brand. The celebration night was filled with touching anecdotes delivered by the Feldberg family and reunions as the company and founding family hosted many of those who have turned Global into a top five industry brand. It's one CEO Joel Feldberg says is “poised to move up that ranking.”
Global is “inspired and committed to do great things,” he says, noting the company had its best-ever national sales meeting in the “amazing masterpiece” of its newly renovated headquarters. The party included three generations of Feldbergs — founder Saul Feldberg, Joel Feldberg and Teknion CEO David Feldberg. David and Joel Feldberg's children were also there.
“I always dreamed our children would join me in the company,” Saul Feldberg says. “My dream has come true. Maybe I'll be around to see my grandchildren join Global.”
Regardless of the Feldberg at the helm, Global's growth and success is a remarkable story. Saul Feldberg started Global in 1966, strictly as a seating company. The company's goal was to build a chair the average person could afford, and Global grew rapidly from its manufacturing roots with just eight employees. “We faced many obstacles, but we didn't give up,” Saul Feldberg says. “Instead, we developed close relationships and worked long hours.”
The growth was fueled by the relationships Saul Feldberg built and the goodwill his new company fostered among dealers and its customers. The time, he says, went by in a blur. “As I look back, it seems unbelievable that it has been 50 years,” he says.
His children, Joel and David, both helped out in the factory when they were growing up. David Feldberg says he remembers putting linings in the cushions of chairs when he was eight years old. Joel Feldberg worked there in his teens. Both sons left to pursue other careers in law before being brought into the family business — David at Teknion and Joel at Global.
“Global's story is one for the ages. Global and Saul were leading at the speed of light,” says David Feldberg, who says he learned countless lessons from his father over the years, though he notes that his father built the business on respect, honesty and dignity. He says no one worked harder than his parents to build Global into the company it is today.
David Feldberg says employees lovingly called Saul Feldberg “the Godfather” because he cared about them, gave them loans when they were down on their luck and put them first. He says Global was offering profit sharing when it was virtually unheard of in the business world. Saul Feldberg knew what was right or wrong in any situation, and people would question their motives in the company by asking: “What would Saul do?”
David Feldberg calls it a “remarkable ride” and congratulated his brother Joel on the newly renovated headquarters and showroom. The renovated Global headquarters is a remarkable space with a soaring atrium that easily held the 750 or so guests who gathered there last month. The floors of the headquarters and new showroom are linked by open stairways that extend off the side of the wall, giving visitors a great view of the floors below. The floors are open and inviting, filled with the best Global has to offer: modern, stylish furniture that won't blow up the budget.
As guests mingled, munching on appetizers and sipping wine, a jazz group entertained them, music echoing through the atrium. Many were struck by the modern, beautiful space that surrounded them. Global might be 50 years old, but its young, energetic management team, new headquarters that rivals any in the industry and its products focused on design, are poised to take it rocketing forward into its next 50 years. Though Global is middle-aged, it looks and acts a lot younger, which bodes well for the next half century.