Chervan Logo - Simplicity Logo

We're not as young as we look!

DarwallThe story of Simplicity Seating begins in the early 1930's in Ravenna, Ohio. It was there that Frank Chervan, a Hungarian immigrant with a background in both woodcarving and the fine arts, started Darwall. The company filled an important niche in the growing furniture industry in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Close to hardwood lumber resources, Darwall quickly gained a reputation as the go-to source for high quality, well-engineered hardwood furniture frames.


Shortly after World War II the center of furniture manufacturing began to shift southward to North Carolina and Virginia. Darwall therefore opened a second larger factory in Bedford, Virginia. This new plant bore the founder’s name and became known as Frank Chervan, Inc.

Even before the current wave of Asian imports, overseas manufacturing posed a challenge to American furniture factories. Throughout the 1980s the industry facedtremendous pressure from Europe and particularly from Italy. Italian manufacturers had been early adopters of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining technology that radically improved efficiency and quality. This enabled them to flood the American market with well-made and reasonably priced frames. Fortunately Chervan, had a long established robust engineering discipline that uniquely positioned the company to adopt these advanced manufacturing technologies in its own operations. The company began using CNC machining, it replaced drafting boards with CAD terminals, and it installed some of America’s first industrial-scale woodworking machines adapted specifically to wood chair production.

finishing As import pressures continued to weigh on the domestic furniture industry, Chervan once again adapted. The company’s focus shifted from large-scale runs to just-in-time programs that allowed customers to order only what they needed—and get it with an unprecedented lead time. Chervan’s speed and responsiveness could not—and cannot--be matched by overseas manufacturers.

Eventually Chervan's customers wanted more than frames. They were looking for a complete solution. Chervan purchased a 350,000-square-foot plant in Roanoke, Virginia from another furniture company that had recently downsized its domestic operations. With an operable finish line and space to set up cut-and-sew facilities Chervan could finish and upholster its well-regarded frames.

Now after more than 80 years, the third-generation family owners of Frank Chervan, Inc. have launched a new company, Simplicity Seating, the company’s first-ever "direct to market" project. It’s been a long adventure getting to where the company is today – and through Simplicity Seating customers now have the ability to tap into that rich history of experience, skill and capability.