Today, Landscape Forms, the leader in outdoor furniture for contract environments, announced its acquisition of Loll Designs. The former, a giant in its sector that was founded in 1969 and reached $1-billion in total product sales a few years ago, is based in Kalamazoo, Michigan (with facilities both in that city and in Phoenix, Arizona). The latter, a steadily growing firm known for its recycled-plastic residential furniture, is based in Duluth, Minnesota. Both are design-led companies, producing vibrant outdoor collections each year in their factories in the United States.
Marjorie Simmons, Landscape Forms’ CEO, explains that her company is focused on expansion, with a goal of doubling every six years, for reasons beyond the simple purpose of growing. “It makes us better: It challenges us and makes us focus on innovation. And we think it results in growth opportunities for our team members within our companies,” she says. While it has nurtured internal pillars organically – from its outdoor site furniture and advanced LED lighting to structures and custom environments – the company has recognized that in order to meet its ambitious goals it needs to embrace acquisitions. Loll Designs is the biggest one yet.
Simmons makes note of the current global situation as an influence on the acquisition’s timing. “To some extent, the pandemic brought us to this place. There is a tremendous focus on the outdoors now. We saw this as a way to find the opportunities in the difficulties. Not to hunker down and survive the storm, but to take action.”
It’s also a great creative and cultural fit. The two companies already have a strong relationship, having regularly collaborated on collections in recent years. One of their biggest mutual successes has been the Harvest table, designed by Loll and made with its trademark recycled high-density polyethylene along with Landscape Forms’ metal components. This collection was followed by the Glide bench and the Americana chair. “What we’re really known for is our Adirondack chairs, and the Americana is a true collaboration between Landscape Forms and Loll Designs,” says Loll Designs founder Greg Benson. In regards to the acquisition, he says, “The core values of the companies aligned: we’re both made in the USA, we both care about design as a paramount value and we both care about the people in our companies.”
While both brands will remain intact, the acquisition will increase their individual and joint capacities. Benson, who started his industrial design career as a way to make use of the excess material from the sculptural skate ramps he was building, will continue to run Loll Designs – with a major investment from Landscape Forms aiding in the creation of his new design studio in Duluth. “We’re throwing fuel on a really wonderful fire and leveraging what Greg has already built,” says Simmons.
The deal also provides the resources for Loll Designs to focus on new product development and to fulfill orders for its direct-to-consumer e-commerce business on a tighter schedule – trimming lead times from upwards of three months to just six-to-eight weeks – as well as the possibility for Landscape Forms to explore Loll’s retail partners (Design Within Reach and Room & Board) for its more residential-focused collections.
“There are so many opportunities here to leverage what both companies do well and use that to create something new that’s never been done before,” says Kirt Martin, Landscape Forms’ VP of Design and Marketing, adding, “Landscape Forms’ cool factor just increased.”
The outdoor furniture company Landscape Forms expands its exterior terrain by investing in the Duluth, Minnesota-based Loll.