Just Lean back
Originally called Nikita Convertibles and founded by Nikita Grigoriev, Just Lean Back Convertibles knows a few things about futons, being the company that designed the first patented convertible futon sofabed in 1982. This patent established a new product category in the US patent office, the futon frame.
Nikita Grigoriev, an aeronautical engineer and airline pilot, quit the airline industry and began making Convertible Furnishings in 1983. The early convertibles were elaborate contraptions more akin to moveable beds with wheels, springs, storage boxes and even self stowing headboards. They were made of solid maple and cherry and were beautifully finished. They sold for about $900.. As product recognition and demand for futon convertibles grew, Nikita opened a second store in 1987 in Oneonta, NY under the name of Simple Design. Based on market feedback and accumulated design insight, that year Nikita completely redesigned the convertible sofabed frame. The new generation convertibles were then known as G-2, for Grigoriev second generation convertibles.
The new futon convertibles were revolutionary in many aspects. They were much simpler, had a lighter frame with sloping seats that automatically leveled for bed position and shipped in compact boxes. Quite possibly the most important aspect was that they sold for half the price of the earlier ones. These changes significantly helped expand the popularity of western style futons and broaden the market base.
In 1988 Nikita was approached by Shaffield Industries Inc. for a license to manufacture and sell the new G-2 design. Shaffield, a Tennessee based corporation, acquired the license from Simple Design and began marketing the new futon convertibles under the name of EZ Convertibles, because of the ease with which they converted from sofa to bed and back to sofa.
Shaffield quickly grew to become the world's largest futon manufacturer and distributor. Nikita was paid a royalty on all G-2 futon convertibles sold but due to contract restrictions, he was prevented from designing and manufacturing convertibles on his own. The contractual obligations that prevented Nikita from being able to design convertible futon frames resolved itself after a few years with the liquidation of the company that owned the contract. Although Nikita had lost his royalty income with this liquidation, he was free again to design and build convertible furnishings.
Under the new company name of NIKEA (which stands for Nikita Engineering and Art), Nikita redesigned the Convertible Sofabed again, taking its evolution to the next level. The new mechanism of these frames was based on a simple four bar linkage allowing the sofas and chairs to Just Lean Back into perfectly flat and stable beds. This design was granted a US patent # 5,722,101 on March 3, 1988.
In 2003, Nikita developed a new outdoor line of unique, self-adjusting convertible loungers and deck furnishings for the rapidly growing "outdoor room" market sector. The company was renamed Nikita INDOOR OUTDOOR in order to better describe the new products that were developed. A new website was launched to present the new "convertible seating for den and deck" and a brick and mortar showroom was also opened in Saratoga Springs, NY. The invitational phrase to customers to "come in and Just Lean Back" became so appealing that it was not long before Nikita decided to call this whole new line of Indoor and Outdoor convertibles and all future showrooms displaying it, Just Lean Back.
In the mean time, Nikita had renovated the manufacturing facility in Richfield Springs and designed a new, production system that operates at nearly 100% efficiency in wood resource utilization. Each piece of rough lumber is carefully measured and then individually machined for incredibly high yield. The cut off waste is very low but even that is used for heating in high efficiency stoves. The remaining woodchips and sawdust are collected and provided to farmers for animal bedding, after which they are composted and returned to the soil. This is not only gratifying from an environmental perspective but also essential for economic survival in overwhelming global competition. It could only be done through great design innovation, ultra high production efficiency and a total dedication to quality.
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