RI’s Cool Startup Greycork Closes

Monday, April 17, 2017
GoLocalProv Business Team

John Humphrey, CEO
It was billed as the better Ikea — better product, better assembly and better service — but after just two years of operation, Rhode Island furniture startup Greycork has closed.

The closure was first reported by the trade magazine Home Accent Today. Greycork had raised more than $1 million in venture funds.

At the time, John Frankel of ff Venture Capital said, “The furniture industry is ripe for creative disruption.” 

“Greycork is doing this through simple assembly and disassembly of beautifully designed, high-value pieces; all at a reasonable price. They remove middlemen, retail markup, delay, and the generally unpleasant experience inherent in the traditional furniture shopping process. Greycork appeals to a millennial consumer base that has higher expectations, and as they operate a leaner business model they can deliver a superior product and experience at lower prices,” said Frankel, a partner at ff.

Featured in GoLocal

In an interview with GoLocalProv in 2016, John Humphrey, Greycork's CEO and founder said, “The company was started because we believe legacy furniture retailers offer an outdated customer experience that hasn’t kept pace with the needs and demands of the modern consumer.”

“So, we’re reinventing the way consumers are able to purchase furniture, which starts by designing furniture that is durable, high quality and can be assembled or disassembled in about five minutes in case people need to move to a new home. We couple our product design platform with innovation that makes our furniture easy to purchase online while removing risk from buying,” added Humphrey.

Humphrey was named one of Forbes’ 2016 30 Under 30 in Art & Style.

  • Big Bankers

    Kevin Tracy and Oliver Bennett— There are deals and there are BIG DEALS. In Rhode Island, with all of the changing players and banking relationships, one reality is pretty much the same. If you have a big deal that needs sophisticated financing, the community banks may not be able to handle it.

    Bank of America may have abandoned the Superman Building, but they are still in Rhode Island and still doing big deals. Kevin Tracy, the former Brown golfer and Oliver Bennett — long ago Fleet Bank trainees — are now the guys you bring in for a $50 million deal.  The more things change - the more they stay the same.

  • Lookout

    John Hazen White, Jr. — White has taken Taco to new levels as he has made a series of strategic acquisitions to bolster the Rhode Island manufacturing company into a global firm.

    He continues to be a leader in American manufacturing investing in worker retention and employee training.

    Behind the scenes, White is a combination of an adviser and moral compass to many in Rhode Island. Despite taking a lower profile than his Lookout RI days, White is still a force pushing for ethics reform. 

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    Joe Paolino — Once the young Mayor who took over in the 1980s when Buddy Cianci was forced to resign (the first time), now the leading corporate voice in Providence if not Rhode Island.

    While others complain at lunches at the Hope Club and University Club about the plight of the Capital City, Paolino has rolled up his sleeves and taken on issues like panhandling and homelessness.

    With a real estate empire that includes much of downtown, some of the top properties in Newport and Hasbro’s campus in Pawtucket to name a few, Paolino has close ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and even closer ties to the Clintons - could a federal appointment be in the works in 2017?

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    Steve Kirby — No one dominates commercial real estate in Rhode Island like Kirby does on Aquidneck Island. His red “Kirby Commercial” signs are literally everywhere across the island and in Newport proper -- they are more frequent than street signs.

    Want to open a clothing store in Newport? Go see Steve Kirby. Looking to launch a startup tech firm? Call Kirby. Developed cool technology and want to start producing for the Navy? Email Kirby.

    Kirby maybe the most influential in business on Aquidniick Island. (PS He will tell you which bankers to talk to).

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    George Nee — President of the AFL-CIO, Nee is one of the most influential players in business in Rhode Island. 

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    Helena Foulkes — Two of the biggest decisions CVS ever made were the brain children of Foulkes. The Extracare card and the removal of tobacco from its stores were both influenced by Foulkes.

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    His recent acquisition of the ProJo building has further solidified his dominance, which has not been without intense scrutiny, given his ability to continually secure -- and extend -- tax stabilization agreements at a time when the city's dire financial straits are close to reaching a head. 

    Wealthy, influential, and active in the community, Chace has chaired  the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Providence Foundation, and is a director emeritus for GrowSmart RI and a trustee emeritus of Trinity Repertory Theatre.



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