The company and its products: Pavilion produces high-quality aluminum indoor/outdoor furniture at its plant in Miami Gardens for the hospitality sector and high-end residences in the United States and overseas.
“We make the highest quality casual aluminum exterior and interior furniture and have been in the business for more than 50 years,” said Michael J. Buzzella, the company’s owner, president and CEO. “We sell more than 30 lines of products — from mid- to high-end aluminum furniture plus custom designs — and they are 100 percent made in the USA.” He began working at the family company in 1973 (when it was Sunburst Outdoor Furniture), then took over as president and CEO in 1993 and as the owner in 2007.
Pavilion has 114 employees who work at two buildings in Miami Gardens totaling 107,000 square feet. In a tour of the plant, Buzzella proudly points to employees in different departments, some of whom have worked at Pavilion for decades. Workers cut, shape and weld the heavy-gauge extruded aluminum Pavilion buys for its products; apply a special powder coating in an environmental chamber; make cushions from a wide selection of materials; and assemble, finish and inspect each item before packing for shipment.
Prices range from about $400 to $1,000 or more for a chaise lounge, depending on the design and the materials used.
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Pavilion has no retail business but sells only to designers, procurement companies and representatives of hotel groups, resorts and cruise lines.
Pavilion products have been sold to Marlins Stadium (seating in the loge area and cushion sling furniture behind the Clevelander); the Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood (pool furniture); and Royal Caribbean International for its Oasis and Allure liners (furniture). A range of products also have been purchased by the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Ritz-Carlton hotels, Caesars Palace, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Marriott.
Outdoor furniture typically lasts five to eight years before a customer — a hotel or resort, say — either changes it for a new design or has it refinished, Buzzella said. “But I receive emails from customers telling me that their products have lasted for decades.” One client in the Grand Caymans said his complex has six metal umbrellas purchased in 1982 and asked for a quote on replacements — only now, after the furniture was under the Caribbean sun for 34 years, Buzzella said.
The company also has a subsidiary, Pavilion Global, that imports high quality furniture from Italy, Indonesia and China. More than 90 percent of Pavilion’s revenues come from sales of furniture and accessories made in Miami Gardens, while less than 10 percent is derived from imports.
Getting started: In 1957, Robert Buzzella set up Metal Tech Inc. to produce aluminum building products. In the early 1970s, Buzzella founded Sunburst Outdoor Furniture, which became Pavilion Furniture in 1996. Under Michael Buzzella, who is the founder’s son, Pavilion added new designs, expanded product lines and strengthened marketing efforts.
The difference: “We are one of very few quality U.S. furniture manufacturers, and we can customize our products when other factories cannot,” said Perry Solomon, vice president of sales and marketing. “We have an in-house designer, which gives us a fashion edge, and our consistent high quality allows us to offer a lifetime warranty on the integrity of furniture frames. Customers tell us our furniture sometimes lasts 30 to 40 years.”
Pavilion’s exclusive designer, Juan Quintana, originally from Mexico, develops new furniture lines for Pavilion's showrooms and works with clients' designers, architects and procurement companies to provide the custom styles they want for each project. Contemporary furniture lines Bleau and Novus, as well as its Greco-Roman themed Pallas Athene series, are very popular and have become synonymous with Pavilion over the years, Solomon said.
For example, the Fontainebleau and the Fort Lauderdale Hilton were two of the hotels that chose Pavilion's Bleau line, while Margaritaville, among others, bought Novus; Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. chose Ecowood; and the Toledo sports stadium opted for Olympus.
Sales: Revenue in 2015 was $9.4 million, a 25 percent increase over 2013. The company expects 2016 to close at about $10.3 million, and sales are projected to grow by 8-10 percent over the next few years.
Learning experience: During the recession, Pavilion had to make some tough decisions — reducing and cross-training personnel, cutting overhead and making management changes in sales and marketing, Buzzella said. A company has to understand what the financial numbers are telling you: “And once you do that, the numbers will tell you how to run and grow your company. The recession ended up being a blessing and a great learning experience for me personally. Today, Pavilion is a debt-free company, moving ahead and growing with new products and new markets.”
Outside view: Pavilion was commended by the U.S. Department of Commerce for its success as a manufacturer of U.S.-made products and its export record. In 2012, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Miami-Dade officials visited Pavilion’s facilities. Company executives also traveled to Panama and Hong Kong to help the U.S. Department of Commerce promote U.S manufactured goods. Pavilion has twice been nominated for the South Florida Manufacturers Association Manufacturer of the Year award.
What customers say: INSIDE/OUT Showrooms Inc., an important center for the furniture trade based in Scottsdale, Arizona, sells furniture made by a variety of companies to designers, architects and high-end commercial clients. “We’ve been working with Pavilion for over 20 years, and they are always our No. 1 or No. 2 vendor each year,” said Catherine Trevigne, the showroom manager and vice president. “They supply custom pieces and offer an extensive range of cushion options and specialty finishes. I value their workmanship and creativity, and their attention to detail is amazing. They’re one of a kind in the industry.”
The Parker Company is a Miami-based global purchasing agent and procurement company for hotel chains, resorts and sports arenas that has bought Pavilion’s outdoor furniture for hospitality clients for over a decade. “Pavilion is a great source for outdoor furniture and rates among the best,” said Mitch Parker, a partner at the company. Parker recently bought outdoor settees and bar stools from Pavilion for Cioppino Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. “Pavilion provides a quality product for a competitive price and they are very responsive and reliable,” he said.
Challenges and outlook: Sales continue to grow as the hospitality industry upgrades all over the U.S. and develops new projects, Buzzella said. “As a boutique U.S. manufacturer with a lot of talented employees, Pavilion has been most successful in accommodating a very demanding industry. One of our ongoing challenges continues to be creating cutting-edge, fashionable furniture for our hospitality and residential designers.”
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Business: Designs, manufactures and sells more than 30 lines of mid-priced to high-end aluminum indoor and outdoor furniture for the hospitality sector, cruise lines and wealthy private residences in the United States and overseas. The company, which also makes custom designs, has no retail outlets and sells only to designers and representatives of hotel groups, resorts and other large buyers. It has showrooms in Miami Gardens and High Point, North Carolina.
Headquarters: 16200 NW 49th Ave., Miami Gardens.
Founded: Pavilion had its origin in 1957 when Robert Buzzella established Metal Tech Inc., a manufacturer of aluminum building products. In the early 1970s, Buzzella founded Sunburst Outdoor Furniture, which became Pavilion Furniture in 1996.
Founder: Robert Buzzella
Leadership: Michael J. Buzzella, president and CEO, son of the founder; Perry Solomon, vice president of sales and marketing.
Employees: 114 in house plus 38 independent factory representatives.
Owner: Michael J. Buzzella
Source: Pavilion Furniture