Touch of Class Catalog, a leading home furnishings accessories company based in Huntingburg, Indiana, made a decision to outsource its logistics needs and found the solution in John S. Connor, a third-party-logistics provider headquartered in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Touch of Class has recently named John S. Connor as primary freight forwarder for the company’s busiest shipping lanes of traffic - the China ports of Hong Kong, Yantian, and Fuzhou. “We started using Connor two years ago as one of our secondary freight forwarders,” stated George McCahey, purchasing agent at Touch of Class. “We’ve made them our primary forwarder because of their excellent service. We work with Connor’s Louisville office and their staff is very knowledgeable and responsive.”
Touch of Class was founded in 1978 by Carla Parke-Bell, Fred Bell, and Warren Parke. The first catalog was a small 16-page booklet that listed approximately 200 items. The whole operation—buying, writing, proofreading, packing, and shipping,—was done by Carla Parke-Bell from her home in North Conway, New Hampshire.
Today, Touch of Class has a work force of over 250 employees, and operates from its new 315,000 sq. ft. building in Huntingburg. The first catalog produced a total of only 550 orders; currently an average of 1,800-2,000 packages ship daily. Circulation of the catalog has skyrocketed from 70,000 to 33 million copies annually. The business was incorporated in 1980 under the name Parke-Bell Ltd., Inc.
Touch of Class uses John S. Connor for air and ocean shipments, Customs clearance, and truck shipments from the US ports of entry to the company’s warehouse in Huntingburg. The products consist of many types of decorative home furnishings, such as bedding, rugs, lamps, wood and metal furniture, and wall hangings. Connor handles all products, from the most rugged to the most fragile. The annual value of product that Connor ships for Touch of
Class is approximately $3 million.
Normal delivery time for the ocean containers of Touch of Class products is approximately 30 days. “During peak periods we can get into some time binds due to port congestion on the West Coast,” McCahey said. “Connor has done a very good job of working through these problem periods for us, including moving the containers to alternate ports of entry.
“The service we get from Connor is excellent. They are always on top of every shipment. Their people are consistently attentive and responsive to our requirements. They arrange to get our merchandise to our warehouse on time, in good condition, and at competitive prices.”
McCahey added, “Connor handles the shipping for us for a lot less than it would cost to do ourselves. They’ve been in business since 1917 and have developed good relationships with the ocean carriers, which helps us to get preferred treatment when needed. They also have an excellent network of agents at each major port in China.”