COFCO: A History of Passion, Pride and Relationships

1946

1946

With a trailer-load of government surplus furnishings and a passion for furniture, David Einstein founded Commercial Trading Company. Through his integrity and hard work, David successfully transitioned the company into an office furniture dealership selling exclusively pre-owned solutions and changed the name of the company to Commercial Office Furniture Co. David also got married that year.

David Einstein with a very young Alan Einstein circa 1950

1948

David rents multiple floors, including the first-floor showroom, at 1017 Race St the Chinatown district of Philadelphia.  He would ultimately purchase the 5-story building from his landlord and go on to buy four additional buildings in Chinatown. While starting to build a formidable customer base, David finds the need to add new furniture lines to round out his package. Son Alan is born in June.

1953

David becomes a dealer for Allsteel Equipment (ASE), a formidable desk, file, and chair manufacturer located in Aurora, Illinois.  Later rebranded as Allsteel, a new and lasting partnership was formed which still exists today.  COFCO is the longest tenured Allsteel dealer in the country. Today Allsteel is a HON Industries brand manufactured in Muscatine, Iowa.

1970

David’s son, Alan, joined the company and by the mid-70’s was heading up the sales and marketing. This allowed David to concentrate company growth, facilities, real estate, and other non-furniture related duties. This “divide and conquer” approach was a great formula. Sales grew as did the company. David and Alan had great confidence in each other and they formed a great team. Alan became President of the company in 1976 and David the Chairman of the Board.

1985

David sells all the buildings in Chinatown and the company moves its headquarters to a brand-new building at 475 N. 5th Street. The company is rebranded as COFCO.  Logistics improved with a high-ceiling warehouse and sales benefitted from a beautiful new showroom.  COFCO absorbs three smaller Philadelphia office furniture dealers shortly thereafter.

1988

COFCO purchases a 70.000 sq. foot loft building at 2400 North American St. when sales exploded and logistics demanded more warehousing.  COFCO added to their fleet of trucks to handle the growth. When an opportunity to by a significant dealer in Norristown, PA arose, COFCO saw the growth potential and made the purchase.  Joan Waters, who had industry experience in Maryland and New York City, was hired to run the new branch. Little did any of us know that we had just hired the future owner of the company!

1999

Joan Water’s dynamic impact on COFCO resulted in her rising to the position of sales manager for the entire company. Joan transitioned the company from a mid-market dealership in to a major contract force while co-branding with Allsteel. To handle spiking sales volume from large orders. COFCO acquires a new headquarters with a larger high-ceiling warehouse and expanded office and showroom space. Coincidentally, the building is located at 2200 N. American St.—just two blocks south of the building we had purchased in 1988.

2001

COFCO acquires Sagot Office Interiors of Moorestown, NJ and gains some major New Jersey clients to go along with existing anchor client Lockheed Martin—also located in Moorestown. Joan Waters is promoted to Vice President of COFCO and a shareholder in the company. 

2009

COFCO makes a long-term commitment to their Philadelphia heritage by merging Norristown and New Jersey locations into American Street.  With more than 125,000 square feet of warehouse space, and 24,000 square feet of finished office space and showroom, this consolidation brought the COFCO team under one roof and centralized the office, warehouse and showroom into one full-service operation. This move provided much valuable synergy for our group and the cost efficiencies resulted in COFCO being more competitive in the marketplace.

2014

We lose our beloved founder, David Einstein at age 95.  He loved COFCO and really never officially retired. Joan Waters is named CEO and Alan Einstein, Chairman of the Board.  Joan continues to acquire more stock in the company.

2016

COFCO’s majority ownership now belongs to CEO Joan Waters, who has partnered with Alan Einstein in leading the organization. This designation of Joan as majority shareholder officially makes COFCO a Woman Business Enterprise–a status that is very important to Joan and COFCO as an organization. Joan’s experience and passion for the business and her commitment to hiring the best people to support their clients will carry forth seamlessly as the next generation owner. Joan champions a new corporate vision which honors COFCO’s longstanding traditions and legacy and embraces the future and the dramatic changes that will occur in the way people work.

2019

COFCO acquired PBI in Annapolis, MD (January 1) and CHL in Washington DC (May 1), establishing new partnerships. All three certified Women Business Enterprises, aligned with the same values, culture, and commitment to integrity provide innovative office furniture solutions and an elite customer experience to clients throughout the government, healthcare, and commercial sectors across the Mid-Atlantic region. These acquisitions will allow both organizations to increase their influence and reach across new markets and client bases, while providing customers with improved solutions.

1948

David rents multiple floors, including the first-floor showroom, at 1017 Race St the Chinatown district of Philadelphia.  He would ultimately purchase the 5-story building from his landlord and go on to buy four additional buildings in Chinatown. While starting to build a formidable customer base, David finds the need to add new furniture lines to round out his package. Son Alan is born in June.

1953

David becomes a dealer for All Steel Equipment (ASE), a formidable desk, file, and chair manufacturer located in Aurora, Illinois.  Later rebranded as Allsteel, a new and lasting partnership was formed which still exists today.  COFCO is the longest tenured Allsteel dealer in the country. Today Allsteel is a HON Industries brand manufactured in Muscatine, Iowa.

1970

David’s son, Alan, joined the company and by the mid-70’s was heading up the sales and marketing. This allowed David to concentrate company growth, facilities, real estate, and other non-furniture related duties. This “divide and conquer” approach was a great formula. Sales grew as did the company. David and Alan had great confidence in each other and they formed a great team. Alan became President of the company in 1976 and David the Chairman of the Board.

1985

David sells all the buildings in Chinatown and the company moves its headquarters to a brand-new building at 475 N. 5th Street. The company is rebranded as COFCO.  Logistics improved with a high-ceiling warehouse and sales benefitted from a beautiful new showroom.  COFCO absorbs three smaller Philadelphia office furniture dealers shortly thereafter.

1988

COFCO purchases a 70.000 sq. foot loft building at 2400 North American St. when sales exploded and logistics demanded more warehousing.  COFCO added to their fleet of trucks to handle the growth. When an opportunity to by a significant dealer in Norristown, PA arose, COFCO saw the growth potential and made the purchase.  Joan Waters, who had industry experience in Maryland and New York City, was hired to run the new branch. Little did any of us know that we had just hired the future owner of the company!

1999

Joan Water’s dynamic impact on COFCO resulted in her rising to the position of sales manager for the entire company. Joan transitioned the company from a mid-market dealership in to a major contract force while co-branding with Allsteel. To handle spiking sales volume from large orders. COFCO acquires a new headquarters with a larger high-ceiling warehouse and expanded office and showroom space. Coincidentally, the building is located at 2200 N. American St.—just two blocks south of the building we had purchased in 1988.

2001

COFCO acquires Sagot Office Interiors of Moorestown, NJ. and gains some major New Jersey clients to go along with existing anchor client Lockheed Martin—also located in Moorestown. Joan Waters is promoted to Vice President of COFCO and a shareholder in the company. 

2009

COFCO makes a long-term commitment to their Philadelphia heritage by merging Norristown and New Jersey locations into American Street.  With more than 125,000 square feet of warehouse space, and 24,000 square feet of finished office space and showroom, this consolidation brought the COFCO team under one roof and centralized the office, warehouse and showroom into one full-service operation. This move provided much valuable synergy for our group and the cost efficiencies resulted in COFCO being more competitive in the marketplace.

2014

We lose our beloved founder, David Einstein at age 95.  He loved COFCO and really never officially retired. Joan Waters is named CEO and Alan Einstein, Chairman of the Board.  Joan continues to acquire more stock in the company.

2016

COFCO’s majority ownership now belongs to CEO Joan Waters, who has partnered with Alan Einstein in leading the organization. This designation of Joan as majority shareholder officially makes COFCO a Woman Business Enterprise–a status that is very important to Joan and COFCO as an organization. Joan’s experience and passion for the business and her commitment to hiring the best people to support their clients will carry forth seamlessly as the next generation owner. Joan champions a new corporate vision which honors COFCO’s longstanding traditions and legacy and embraces the future and the dramatic changes that will occur in the way people work.

2019

COFCO acquired PBI in Annapolis, MD (January 1) and CHL in Washington DC (May 1), establishing new partnerships. All three certified Women Business Enterprises, aligned with the same values, culture, and commitment to integrity provide innovative office furniture solutions and an elite customer experience to clients throughout the government, healthcare, and commercial sectors across the Mid-Atlantic region. These acquisitions will allow both organizations to increase their influence and reach across new markets and client bases, while providing customers with improved solutions.

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