Freeform is a commercial interior company with locations in Spokane, Boise, and the Tri-Cities. Fernando Jauretche bought Contract Resource Group in 2018 and in 2019 rebranded to Freeform. In January 2022, Freeform merged with Boise-based Business Interiors of Idaho, owned by Jeff Heath. Recently, Freeform has acquired Brutzman’s in the Tri-Cities giving them now 3 locations to serve the Inland Northwest.
The company merged with Business Interiors of Idaho in January 2022 and recently bought a commercial furniture dealer in the Tri-Cities.
Freeform offers comprehensive interior design services for clients who desire a full-service experience. This includes furniture products, design consultation, project management, delivery, installation, and financing. In addition, they offer customized restroom and conference room signs in the client’s preferred colors and fonts, decorative plant arrangements, printed wall coverings, and acoustic wall materials that function as both art and sound absorbers. With Freeform’s “white glove” approach, clients can expect top-notch service and attention to detail for every aspect of their interior design project.
Fernando said, “If you take a blank slate of an office space and just put furniture in, it still feels a little blank without all those little touches. When you add in that last 10%, that really makes it feel thoughtfully designed.”
Fernando came up with the name “Freeform” due to the approach they use when helping clients design their ideal spaces. “It’s the opposite of the traditional way,” Fernando said. “Most furniture vendors and even some architecture firms have very fixed definitions of what a break room or a meeting room should look like…We strive to get to know our customers and the context of their needs and use a freeform approach for their commercial spaces.”
Freeform recently relocated to a new address at 715 E. Sprague for two primary reasons: their need for an attached warehouse and their desire to be closer to their clients. Fernando emphasized the importance of having a cohesive team culture by having everyone close to each other, making it easier to discuss and collaborate on projects that come into the warehouse.
Like most other product-focused companies, Freeform was greatly affected by the Covid period and the supplier bottlenecks and shortages that followed. Even if one component of, for example, an office chair was missing, it could not be shipped at all. The standard 8-week lead time for manufacturers to ship became 20 weeks.
And these issues compounded when it came to company financing. As Fernando said, “If we had a $100,000 project, and 20% of the components couldn’t get to us for an extra two months, while 80% of it did get to us in time, those manufacturers wanted their money. But we couldn’t bill our customer until we had 100% done. Sure, we took a deposit. But usually, the deposit was not enough to cover our costs. So these situations definitely stretched our finances for a while!”
Recent Trends, New Opportunities
The emergence of remote work as a result of the Covid pandemic and the subsequent transition back to office work has presented Freeform with new opportunities. Organizations want a more inviting and homier feel to their workspaces. So there are now more meeting rooms, huddle rooms, and even small living rooms with TVs, making it easy for people to collaborate face-to-face and remotely.
“It used to be people came to the office to do their heads down work,” Fernando said. “That heads-down work can now be done at home, so the purpose of the office has radically changed. Now it’s to collaborate with co-workers or to meet with customers. The culture of the space is driven more by interaction. When designing newer spaces, we include more spaces to meet – that’s why they come to the office.”
Achieving B-Corp Status
Freeform’s website states that their main goal is to create culture, build community, and enrich lives. The company is proud to have become a certified B-Corp last year, making them the only commercial furniture dealer in the world to receive this recognition.
B-Corps take a comprehensive approach to ethical business practices, focusing on five key areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. For instance, Freeform dedicates a third of their profits to compensating and providing benefits for their employees, which helps them attract and retain the best talent available.
Valley Chamber Kudos
Fernando has a lot of positive feedback about the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber and the help given to promote his business: “I appreciate how much they’re champions of local business. It’s harder and harder to compete with either large outside entities that plant their flag in Spokane and maybe have a big Seattle organization behind them or large national brands. I enjoy how they spotlight what everybody’s doing, including the news about our B-Corp certification. Being a Valley Chamber member, I’ve discovered a lot of businesses that I wasn’t aware of”.