Wood works: Tennessean Hotel shows off custom furniture – Knoxville News Sentinel
Hackney Furniture employees view their work at downtown Knoxville’s Tennessean Hotel on Friday, June 9, 2017.
Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel
In the governorâs suite at the new Tennessean Hotel, Sheila Williams saw her handiwork.
The spray operator at Sneedville-based Hackney Furniture was one of many Hackney employees to tour the new Tennessean on Friday, seeing in place the furniture they built.
Williams pointed out the nightstand, credenza, wardrobe and bed frame; she did the final lacquer work on them all. Other workers on the tour handled all other parts of construction, she said.
“I think everybody at Hackney did an awesome, awesome job,â Williams said. âThis is everybodyâs work at Hackney. Everybody.â
She has worked at the furniture maker for nearly two years, but Friday was the first time sheâd seen the companyâs products in their final setting. Building furniture for the Tennessean took about seven weeks.
Seeing the fruits of their labor
Nick Cazana, president of Commercial & Investment Properties, is behind the $28 million renovation of a former state office building, turning it into the 82-room Tennessean. He arranged the 70-mile bus trip for Hackney employees, giving them tours of several guest rooms and providing lunch.
Hackney custom-made all furniture for the Tennessean. Cazana said he visited the factory about six months ago, and watched skilled workers turn blank pieces of wood into finished products.
“These guys and gals were so enthusiastic about building this furniture that we felt this was a payback,â he said.
About $2 million of the total cost went for fixtures and furnishings, Cazana said, but he wasnât sure how much of that went to Hackney.
He had always heard there would be a huge price difference between Chinese-made furniture and domestic manufacture, he said.
“Well, there’s not,â Cazana said. Shipping and storage costs offset the base price difference, and it was far easier to discuss design changes with a local company, he said. Cazana said he looks forward to buying from Hackney on future projects.
Hackney Furniture President Mike Magill said about 35 Hackney employees took the bus trip from Sneedville. Cazana said around 55 people total took Fridayâs tours. Makers of the hotels other details are welcome too, but since the manufacturers of items such as woodwork and drapes are local, itâs easy for them to stop by, he said.
Perks of going local
Magill said the company approached Cazana on hearing about the Tennessean project.
“We contacted him and said âWe would like an opportunity to put together a proposal for Hackney to do the work,ââ Magill said.
Since Hackney is local to East Tennessee, the firm could offer what others couldnât: on-the-spot design and engineering, furniture shipped fully assembled, and delivery as needed instead of requiring warehouse storage, Magill said.
Hackney has sold hotel furniture all over the country to major lodging brands, but decided to develop its own line, he said. The company just finished furnishing a Hampton Inn in Gatlinburg, started on a Fairfield Inn there, and is delivering to the new Margaritaville Resort now, Magill said.
The hotel at 531 Henley St. opened April 1, next to Worldâs Fair Park and connected by a covered walkway to the Knoxville Convention Center. Announced in late April 2016, the Tennessean is expected to create 60 to 75 permanent jobs.
Knoxville has several midrange hotels downtown, but Cazana aimed for the upscale personal luxury market.
“There is not another high-end hotel in downtown Knoxville,â he said.
While the governorâs suite goes for $3,000 a night, other rooms start around $190 to $225, depending on the time of year, Cazana said.
âWe have maybe eight different room designs,â he said.
The hotelâs top two floors hold a dozen condominiums, ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 square feet.
Cazana said heâs âvery pleasedâ with hotel bookings so far. Over the next two years he plans to renovate the adjacent Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown, starting with a couple model rooms.