Smith Brothers of Berne - experience with?

marys1000July 28, 2008

Apologies for the dual post - I'm sinking the other one because I forgot to mention the company in the subject.

In a search someone mentioned this company favorably in a post from a couple of years ago so I found the website which has very little information.

I had to call a number to find a dealer. I went there and it was a furniture store that carried Broyhill, Lazy Boy and Flexsteel.

I also found a different old blog/forum where some people complained about the fabric not wearing well.

I went to the store and a lot of the fabric I liked had a high rayon content and no information about durability (no rubs or grading) , nor did the saleswomen who had been selling furniture for 30 years have any insight.

The sales woman thought it had cushion options but wasn't sure, and she thought a sofa with a fabric on the more expensive end would run 1500-2000 - I think I can get CR Laine for 2000-2500 (but I can't seem to find a fabric I like in CRL) so I'm not sure whether this company is overpriced or not.

I hate to shop. I want something that lasts. I've been sort of haphazardly looking and posting on this for the last couple of years. (I'm very slow!:(

I've searched this board and it seems that many of the favorite high end to med/high end mfg don't do so many couches etc. (EJ Victor etc. limited selection) and I have to drive over an hour for stores like that.

So any input on this company in terms of how well built it is and about the fabric? All the sales woman kept saying is it was made in Indiana by the Amish as if that said it all. I'm not sure that's right. Made in Indiana yes, didn't see anything about Amish.

I did drive one weekend and sat on a Stickley and CR Laine. I liked the CR Laine seat feel better. Other mfg fabric just makes it too expensive. Of course, I'm so slow at decisions that if I keep dragging my feet they may change their fabric selection:)


Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Brothers of Bern

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This is a reputable brand. Rayon is very "in" at the moment as a fabric component. Just the way it is in 2008.

Indiana in general has a good reputation for furniture manufacturing.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 12:26PM
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I've been looking at sofas and one of our better stores carries Smith Brothers. It appears to be well-made. I read up on the history of the company and it's been around a long time.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 2:33AM
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I spent more time at a furniture store with SB.

Fabrics - they don't have rubs or durability listed for each fabric. Just a Yes or No on whether they will put it on their motion furniture. The theory according to the salesperson being that if its a Yes it must be durable.
I'm not sure that's good enough for me as most everything was a Yes and so I wonder how rigorous their threshold really is.
For FF and GG the August sale price of a 84" sofa was 1450 and 1475 respectively.

I have not considered leather before but was thinking maybe I should, so have not paid attention to all the leather lessons on this board - anyone with any ideas on SB leather?

Last - apparently they used to offer coil/feather cushions which I always sort of thought was the high end of cushions - but now only have Quallox or something - i.e. a dense foam. I was thinking I wanted the coil/feathers.
Essentially I want something that will support a herniated disc in my lower back and will last.

I did a search on Sherrill dealers, there is one in town but they have a very small showroom, no couches. CRLaine is 50 miles away.

For the record, the store that sells SB carries Broyhill, Lazy Boy and Flexsteel - so definately a high end low or solid mid-grade line carrying store. I think I would consider Sherrill or CR Laine a better line.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 7:37AM
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I am a furniture store owner,We carry Smith Brothers of Berne as our main upholstery source.Its sad that you went out of your way to shop at various stores that carry Smith Brothers and the salesperson was not educated about the quality of Smith Brothers.The Frames are made of solid Maple that has been glued,screwed,doweled,stapled and corner blocked at every joint.Smith Brothers uses a unitized coil spring system in all sofas and loveseats,which is superior to any 8 way hand tied coil spring.The cushions are Qualux Ultra.This is the finest cushions made.Qualux ultra cushion do not breakdown,Qualux does not lose its resilency and does not lose its shape.Smith Brothers Warranties Lifetime on the frame,springs and cushions.The stores you visited should have had a display of all of the features I have mentioned.As for fabric durability,Fabrics applied to motion furniture tends to wear because of the fabrics friction against itself, this is why some fabrics are listed with a yes or a no, But that does not mean that it wouldnt be durable for a sofa.Because of the methods used to construct Smith Brothers Furniture the farics will last longer than the same fabric on a lesser built sofa.As for leather I highly recommend any leathers that are Semi Aniline.Hope this info helps you in your search.

1 Like    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:17AM
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The sales person you spoke to seems to be uninformed and you may do better going back and speaking to someone else.
A good sales person should know or find out what options there are for any piece of furniture they sell. As to Smith Brothers website a redesign would be nice to see with more photos and such.

I bought Smith Brothers furniture both a sofa and a recliner about 8 months ago. I picked Smith Brothers for a few reasons: it really does seems higher quality than a lot of brands either at or below it's price range(laz-boy, broyhill, klausner, lane, basset, england). Flexsteel the only store in the area had the latitudes line which is made in china so I didn't really look it over. I did look at the higher end stuff (hancock&moore, henredon, sherril) which if budget would of allowed might of been an option but the prices I was quoted put them out of my league for the time being. Smith Brothers in my opinion offered the most for my money and had features that you seem to find only on the more expensive brands.

Overall I'm very satisfied but I did have a few issues after delivery. The issues were because of the fabric choice there was some knots that needed cut and also the sofa cushions were overly firm to my tastes and there was a slight metallic sound when sitting on the sofa in one spot only. I contacted and worked through my furniture store and they setup a return to Smith Brothers. The store picked up my peices and less than two weeks later it was back and new cushion cores installed, noise gone and the fabric was corrected and you can't tell it was ever touched otherwise. I want to say that reading this and other forums finding a Furniture store and company that wants to work with the customer to make things right is a major plus and not always easy to come across.

As to the other brands from what I have read flexsteel is a mid-level furniture brand that their US made lines seem to be decent. La-z-boy from my research is a name only and has gone away from the quality and materials that made them famous. My research consisted of talking to people on this and other forums, talking to furniture store employees, and also a reupholstery/repair shop.

Of course whatever brand you buy you want it to look good and feel comfortable so don't choose on just reputation because you have to live with it everyday.

Also you might want to try for your questions and research.

1 Like    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 10:36AM
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I live in Woodstock Maryland 21163. Is there an easy way to locate a SB of BERNE retailer near me ?

Thanks much, ed :o)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Ed, they used to have a search on their website to locate dealers.

As far as I know, they're pretty much a Midwest organization.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 4:27PM
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They may be updating their website soon, keep checking since it may have a better design to locate dealers.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:11AM
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I called the SB of BERNE customer service # 260-589-2131 and a very helpfull associate directed me to a retailer "oak tree furniture" ten miles from my home.

Thanks to all, ed :o)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:03AM
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To Woodstock, MD poster

Oak Tree Furniture 9199 Red Branch Road Columbia, MD 21045 Phone: 410.997.4209 Toll Free: 888.292.1349.
Was there 2 weeks ago and they have Smith Bros.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 10:13PM
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I am new to this site, but checked it out while making my decision to order Smith Brother Furniture. Two weeks ago the local furniture store delivered our sectional - Right arm sofa, wedge, Left arm sofa. It arrived only 3 weeks from the day we ordered. My reasons for chosing this company were; it is made in our home state of Indiana, it has a life-time guarantee (some exclusions, such as fabric), the quality was obviously wonderful, and they had fabric choices we liked. After 12 years with a saggy, cheap set from Lazy Boy we were ready for some real furniture. Yes, it was more expensive than most, but it is so solid! The fabric under the seat cushions wraps all the way to the back so when the cushions are off, you see a completely finished piece. Our other set had matching fabric about 4" in then just cheap, thin cloth that ripped in two places within the first month. It also had a hard plastic cord poking out from the trim around one cushion. We will have this sectional for a very long time. If you want quality, good looks, and something that will last many years, I think this is a good choice. Buy American!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Sally Brownlee

I have a Smith Bros sofa that is about 8 years old. I really love it. It is the best piece of upholstered furniture I have ever owned. It is holding up beautifully. Even though they say the cushions will not wear out, I still rotate/flip about every month.
If it weren't for the fabric showing a little still sits like new.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:04AM
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I absolutely adore my Smith Brothers sofas. We will have our sofas two years this January. They. are. beautiful. The leather quality is excellent -- and it was their midgrade leather. I cannot say strongly enough how happy we were with these sofas. Beautiful inside and out. Sturdy. Well made. Perfect. They met my expectations exactly -- and I ordered them from a catalog, having never actually seen them in person. Don't hesitate to buy. Despite the fact that we're in Illinois, we traveled to Milwaukee to buy them from Biltrite, an excellent Smith Brothers dealer. Much better price than we could get locally, and really good people there.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Does anyone have the model 411 reclining sofa? We are very interested in buying one, but we have only seen the pictures (we have tried the equivalent stationary sofa and it is a great piece). Our concern is that the picture shows a bar across the front of the sofa and it seens to be visible when the recliners are in the "down" position. Can anyone offer their experience with this?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:59AM
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All my living room furniture came from Smith Brothers in Berne. I have been very pleased with all of it. Very high quality furniture. I would buy from them again and again..

Another note, I am from Geneva that is a few miles south of Berne. I have relatives that work in the Smith Brother's factory

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 11:04AM
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I have a Smith Brothers couch that I bought 25 years ago! I plan to buy a new one -- only because I cannot find someone who does reupholstering well near me. I HIGHLY recommend them. The quality is guaranteed. I am extremely picky and have had no problems.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I purchased Smith Brothers sectional back in may. The unit is very nice and built solid. However, I have had issues with it since day one and still attempting to have them resolved. The pull cord on one of the middle recliner was broke upon delivery and finally I'm getting a new one installed tomorrow. another problem is the leather on the back side of this very high end recliner is wrinkled at the bottom corner of which should be a very easy fix. They want to have the unit shipped back to the factory and giving me 4 to 6 weeks to get it back. I live 3 hours away from the factory and when contacted the factory for explanation the factory rep was the least friendly nor helpful.
The quality is good but be aware of any warranty work. hate to think how long it would take to do warranty repair if you live on the west coast.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Christine Begley

I have a question about the fabric. I bought a Smith Brothers sofa & Love seat last April. I have not been thrilled with the fabric. Less than 1 year & it looks worn. Has anyone else had an issue like this? I think the quality of the structure is good, but I'm disappointed in its looks after only 10 months.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:26AM
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