HOW IT BEGAN: THE HISTORY OF ENCORE
Palliser Furniture has a long history of innovation, in design, materials and function. In the early 1980’s, Palliser’s upholstery division was one of the first in North America to embrace the use of motors in providing unparalleled adjustability in motion furniture. Following the introduction of electric motors to recliners and combined with the development of big screen TV’s a trend in home building developed to create a new space in the house “home theatres”. These new rooms were dedicated to watching movies and sports where friends and family could gather. The introduction of home theatres helped create a whole new category of furniture, Home Theatre Seating. Palliser soon introduced a complete line of Home Theatre Seating (HTS) providing comfort, adjustability and modularity to allow the seating to work for virtually any room size or shape. In the decades that followed, Palliser established a reputation for leadership in this growing category by offering a wide variety of styles and options designed to enhance the experiences, as well as a wide range of cover choices including leathers, fabrics, and high-performance polyurethanes in a rainbow of colour choices.
As more and more consumers had the choice of watching movies at home, technology disrupted the movie rental business with the introduction of movie streaming and Netflix. This along with lack of innovation and reinvention by theatres and their suppliers resulted in a decline in movie theatre attendance, as customers could wait for movies to come to them. Plus the experience in their home theatre set up offered much more comfort than the conventional movie theatre chairs. In 2008 a large movie circuit introduced the concept of power recliners to the commercial theatre market. This concept proved to be a winning formula. The new power seating combined with reinvention of concessions to include improved food and beverage quality and choices, in seat dining theatres and even reserved seating were able to counter the declining attendance. The results were a renewed enthusiasm for the theatre experience and a higher average gross sale.
In the fall of 2014 a major Midwestern movie circuit dissatisfied with the commercial recliners they had installed from several different manufacturers, contacted a Palliser retailer to investigate how they could offer the most comfortable recliners for their new flagship theatre in the Detroit suburbs. The retailer connected Palliser with the theatre owner and we discovered their specific needs:
- Quick delivery cycles (4-6 weeks)
- As well as ideas for packaging and ease of installation.
We then discovered these needs were not specific to this particular theatre owner but were actually common necessities to which many theatres needed a solution and weren’t available in the seating market at the time. Following this meeting, the Palliser team invited the customer to Winnipeg to see the prototype developed specifically for them, incorporating the comfort and function of our HTS seats, with the functionality and durability necessary for the commercial theatre setting.
The result was the Encore C1; which they invested in 600 of for the flagship location. Following the install and positive response from their happy customers, that circuit has gone on to invest in over 10,000 Encore seats. More recently, we worked with the customer to develop an innovative product aimed at filling their front row seats and offering a special intimate movie-going experience, unique Snuggle Lounger, which became a resident product in the Encore line.
Since our first customer in 2014 we have installed tens of thousands of Encore seats in hundreds of locations throughout the world. In 2017 we opened a new state of the art manufacturing facility to keep up with the demand for our comfortable and innovative seats. We continue to gain market share through innovations such as the Power Headrest,
which provides adjustability for the perfect sightline no matter which row of the theatre you are in. As well as new options like an under-table LED light helping drive revenue growth for theatres to support in seat dining.
Encore is a great example of a company listening to the needs of a customer to learn how an existing product can be modified and improved to serve the requirements of a new industry.