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Kittinger keeps White House ties with order for new chairs

Presidents come and go from the White House, but Kittinger Furniture Co. is a constant at America’s most famous address.

The Clarence-based manufacturer is continuing a relationship with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. dating to 1970. The company is about to ship 16 chairs for use in the Roosevelt Room, a staff meeting room just steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing.

The new chairs will replace the current 12-year-old set – also produced by Kittinger – in the room. “They really use the furniture a lot,” said Raymond C. Bialkowski, Kittinger’s president.

Kittinger employees built the chairs from scratch, with high-quality mahogany. They are upholstered with leather supplied by Garrett Leather, another local company. The White House opted to maintain the butterscotch color of leather the current set of chairs has, so staffers who use the room might not even notice a difference.

This is the latest in a long line of White House-related work for Kittinger. The company made furniture for the Cabinet Room when it was renovated, and for the majority of the West Wing offices. Presidential libraries have asked Kittinger to create duplicates of White House furniture.

Kittinger does not take its White House relationship for granted, Bialkowski said. “I fully believe it is a great honor and all our craftsmen here take a great deal of pride being involved in a project like that,” he said.

And of course, there is great attention to detail: the president’s chair in the Roosevelt Room is two and a half inches higher that the rest of the set.

Kittinger this year is celebrating 150 years of business history in the Buffalo area. About a year and a half ago, the company moved from the Tri-Main Building into its current home, off Transit Road behind the Eastern Hills Mall. The showroom of its new location includes a scaled-down version of the White House Cabinet Room.

Kittinger will deliver the Roosevelt Room chairs to the nation’s capital on Thursday. In the old days, Kittinger employees would bring new furniture directly into the White House. Nowadays, in a more security-conscious environment, employees will deliver them to a military base for inspection.