GRAND RAPIDS — The new owners of office furniture dealer Interphase Interiors Inc. say they want to put their collective backgrounds to work to elevate client service.
Johnny Brann Jr., a third-generation restaurateur whose family owns Brann’s Steakhouse & Sports Grill, and Dave Shaffer, a former Grand Rapids city commissioners and commercial lender, acquired Grand Rapids-based Interphase Interiors at the end of January from former owner David Faasse, who bought the company in 2015.
Brann and Shaffer, who publicly announced the acquisition this week, have known each other for years and were exploring opportunities to work together. They connected with Interphase Interiors when an acquaintance who worked there told them the business was for sale.
Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
In focusing on customer service and better leveraging Interphase’s design capability and ideation for any sized business, the partners want to help clients address a key issue employers face today: recruiting and retaining talent in a tight labor market through the design of their workspace.
“We’re looking to enhance the service of the industry, meaning we’re willing to do whatever it takes to supply our clients with what they need to retain and attract the talent that is an issue right now,” Brann said. “Talent’s really the currency of the 21st century, so our desire is to utilize the innovative design team that we have and the rest of our team, as well as our own experiences, to bring that to the market.”
Brann, who remains active in the family’s restaurant business, serves as president of Interphase, and Shaffer is CEO. Shaffer previously spent nearly seven years as a commercial banker at Macatawa Bank and served eight years on the Grand Rapids City Commission before leaving at the end of 2017 because of term limits.
Addressing the talent issue was often a topic for Shaffer is his work on the City Commission, he said. In serving employers who are clients of Interphase, Shaffer and Brann want to get more involved with clients upfront when they are designing their space “and bring a new level of service to this industry,” Shaffer said.
A dealer for Holland-based Haworth Inc., Interphase has a showroom in downtown Grand Rapids and design and sales offices locally and in Traverse City. Interphase has been named a best-in-class dealer by Haworth for six straight years.
“Haworth dealers like Interphase are the direct lifeline to our customers and the backbone of our success,” Haworth CEO Franco Bianchi said in a statement. “Both Johnny and Dave bring a unique skill set that will not only ensure Interphase’s continued success, but also provide Haworth with a crucial conduit to a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs.”