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D.C.-based group honors Kittinger as a top American manufacturer

Kittinger Furniture Co. has been recognized as a top American manufacturer by the Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit MADE: In America.

The award, BEST: Made in America, is given out annually to the top American-based manufacturing business selected by the organization. The group's goal is to identify, honor and showcase America's leading manufacturers.

Ray Bialkowski, president of Kittinger, said he was "honored and grateful" for the award and attributed it to the company's dedication to quality.

"As a Buffalo-based business since 1866, Kittinger demonstrates the tenacity required to achieve excellence in furniture design, manufacturing and economic sustainability," Bialkowski said in a news release. "We have been consistently dedicated to American craftsmanship and the American worker for more than a century."

Bialkowski started with Kittinger in 1979 as an apprentice cabinetmaker before running the company's cabinet design and production department. He purchased Kittinger in 1996.

Ten or 12 other companies were considered for the award, which comes at a great time for Kittinger, according to Bialkowski. In September its products will be featured in Tokyo at Sala Azabu, a famous showroom that has featured global imports of specialty furniture since 1974.

Kittinger is a custom-designer and manufacturer of hand-crafted furniture and makes all of its goods and products in Buffalo. It has 20 employees in its Buffalo base and has been here for 146 years.

The products produced by Kittinger are displayed locally at the Kittinger Gallery and Design Studio in Williamsville, as well as at showrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Ohio and Washington, D.C. Kittinger has built furnishings for the West Wing and the Cabinet Room of the White House.

Bialkowski said the award shows that an American-based furniture company can compete with imported goods.

The company will receive its award at a ceremony July 4 in Washington, D.C.