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Updated: February 15, 2022

Hussey Seating sells off portable chair line to focus on other market segments

rows of folding chairs Courtesy / Hussey Seating Co. Hussey Seating Co. of North Berwick sold its portable seating line to a similar California company.

Hussey Seating Co., a seating designer and manufacturer headquartered in North Berwick, has sold off a product line of portable chairs in order to focus on growing the company's telescopic and fixed seating business.

The Clarin portable chair line sold to Rancho Dominguez, Calif.-based Spec Seats for an undisclosed sum.

Hussey said the step would free resources for the company's telescopic platforms, telescopic bleachers and fixed seating products, which hit double-digit sales increases in 2020 and 2021, according to a news release.

Sales year-to-date through the end of the third quarter were up 25% over 2021. By the end of its fiscal year, Hussey anticipates sales will rank in the top-five biggest years in its 187-year history.

“This growth has forced our business to reevaluate where both our manufacturing and human resources should be focused — and that’s with our core business in telescopic and fixed seat products,” Gary Merrill, Hussey’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“We identified Spec Seats as the best new owner for the Clarin brand knowing they would be able to provide the same level of customer service and quality products that Clarin is known for,” he added.

The company offered all Clarin manufacturing employees the opportunity to train for positions in the telescopic seating areas.

Hussey attributed its growth to the quality and longevity of its products throughout the K-12, college and university, performing arts and professional sports facilities markets, along with rising rates of renovation and construction in those markets.

The company has two facilities, one in North Berwick and one in Sanford that opened in 2019. Clarin was manufactured in North Berwick, so the additional space that results from the sale is considered key to continued investment in advanced manufacturing capabilities. Even with the absorption of Clarin employees to the other product lines, more hiring is expected.

Hussey acquired Clarin Seating of Lake Bluff, Ill., in 2011 and expanded the line in the school and professional sports markets since then.

“Despite selling the Clarin line, current demand from our core telescopic and fixed seating business allows us to retrain the current workforce and retain 99% of employees,” said Rich Hussey, a sixth-generation family shareholder and vice president of human resources.

“We have many cross-trained, long-tenured employees who are stepping up to help in the reskilling of their colleagues who were previously dedicated to this line.”

Spec Seats is a family-owned business. Its portable seating line was first established in 1993 and holds exclusive licensing agreements for seating with the NCAA, NBA, NJCAA, NAIA and many colleges and universities.

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