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Commercial Office Furniture (COF), 1835 Gervais Street: August 2012   21 comments

Posted at 1:50 am in closing





















Well, this is a shame. Although I never went there, Commercial Office Furniture was a fixture of my childhood, due to their long-running campaign on the old WIS AM 560. As I mentioned in the Ads & Jingles post, their most memorable commercials all had the throbbing tagline

Your Next Desk
Will Come From C-O-F!!

It doesn't look like much written out, but it was very distinctive.

Over the years, I had often seen the Gervais Street building as I went downtown, and recall thinking that the exterior didn't live up to the commercials as the design (necessitated by the lot, I suppose) was rather odd and the store-front was almost hidden away in the parking lot. LoopNet says the building was built in 1949, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were even older than that.

The closing sign says that they were in business for 50 years, which is a very good run. The last commercials I recall seeing from them, back when I still watched TV, had the spokesman opening a packaged office chair and having the parts all fall out on the floor, saying something like

See this?
This is what you get at our competitors.
At COF, we don't waste your valuable time,
Our furniture is assembled and delivered to your office.

I guess the implication at that point was that their competitors were the big-box stores like Staples and Office Depot which compete on price and volume rather than service. Perhaps in this economy that's enough, and bosses don't mind having the employees waste a few hours putting together their own desks and chairs..

(Hat tip to commenter Russ)

UPDATE 26 Feb 2013 -- A little coda:



UPDATE 6 June 2023 -- Commenter Kenneth has located the commercial I mentioned above. Here it is:

Also adding map icon and updating tags.

Written by ted on August 18th, 2012

Tagged with , , , , , ,

21 Responses to 'Commercial Office Furniture (COF), 1835 Gervais Street: August 2012'

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  1. I remember the commercial where the chair parts fell out of the box and that's what I most remember about this place.


    18 Aug 12 at 2:10 am

  2. Aren't they the guys that ran the ad where the desks were cut in half with a chainsaw to show solid wood vs. particle board?


    18 Aug 12 at 2:46 pm

  3. Curiously the best desk I ever had was as a grad assistant. It was being surplussed in the halls of LeConte, and my roomate and I carried it into my office and nobody ever said a word. Solid, polished wood -- really beautiful! In the private sector, I had a series of marginal desks over the years though they seemed to tend more towards sheet metal than particle board.


    18 Aug 12 at 4:40 pm

  4. I currently have my butt parked in a very nice high back office chair from COF. It came completely assembled and the quality beats every piece of furniture I have bought from Staples.

    The interior of COF was a rambling warehouse style. I guess the nice gentleman that owned the place could not wait on the grand kids to grow up to take it over.


    21 Aug 12 at 3:58 am

  5. Andrew I loved that commercial. "This is what you get for $100 from us." do the Vanna White hand motion look here. then "this is what you get from our competitors for $100" Then they drop the box full of parts on the floor


    23 Aug 12 at 7:59 pm

  6. I loved that store! I have been thinking about buying some new office furniture and am so sorry I missed buying it from COF. One of my partners has the most comfortable office chair I have ever sat it in and he got it from there.


    24 Aug 12 at 1:23 pm

  7. Did you save the poor plants?? :(

    Everything in St Andrews is changing. It's weird. Just like Ballentine has built up since 84 when I moved here. It's weird to watch it.

    Delle Sherer

    26 Aug 12 at 6:53 am

  8. I recall their commercials as well. Didn't one of them have an infant in a necktie? I always thought that was pretty creepy.


    26 Aug 12 at 11:43 am

  9. Haha I remember the place :D Nice Ads

  10. I remember driving by COF and seeing a man who I assumed at the time was the owner sitting perched on a swiveling rocking office chair up on top of a desk smiling and waving at passersby. He would be out there for hours at a time but I'm not sure how long that ad campaign lasted or exactly when it was...

    Ned Harkey

    5 Sep 12 at 12:51 pm

  11. Oh this is sad. I remember when I was young, me and my mother went to COF to buy an office table. The table my mom liked wasn't on sale so she had to flirt with the salesman to give her the discount. The table ended up in our pick-up truck.

    Mortisha Brown

    3 Oct 12 at 2:07 am

  12. I REALLY need to find out who COF's suppliers were. I work for Richland County School District One, and my boss has sent me on several quixotic quests for good furniture over the years that usually ended with me purchasing what I thought would be good, based on specs, but always ended up to be cheap crap. The big box stores are terrible at providing even merely decent furniture. COF never let me down. Their stuff was quality. Does ANYONE know where they got their stuff? I remember the lady who used to help me there, and I think I may have found her via the white pages, but I'd prefer to avoid bothering her at home in case there was some tragedy or misfortune that caused the closing.

    Alternately, I may try to contact the leasing company whose number your photos helpfully recorded!

    BTW, the commercials were a big part of my childhood, too. It was finally remembering all those TV gems from my youth that got me to try them out. I guess advertising really works--even if it took ten to twenty years!

    David Edwards

    25 Oct 12 at 10:09 am

  13. Andrew, I remember those ads as well.


    15 May 13 at 3:55 pm

  14. This property has sold...


    5 Jun 13 at 7:38 pm

  15. According to The State the Alfred Williams Company will open a furniture showroom in this location next January.


    6 Jun 13 at 4:19 am

  16. I used to work for their Augusta Georgia facility....1989. Filing cabinets were by HOHN, most of the chairs were manufactured by LAZYBOY...,the contract office division. Great quality furniture!


    7 Aug 16 at 9:04 pm

  17. I wonder what happened to the Alfred Williams thing -- the building is still empty four years later.


    9 Aug 16 at 12:51 am

  18. Alfred Williams lists the Gervais St location on their website as their Columbia office.


    10 Aug 16 at 12:56 pm

  19. I remember COF ads when I was a child!

    Stanton Dasan Rogers

    5 Jun 23 at 1:51 pm

  20. This one?

    But the absolutely weirdest local Columbia commercial that I know of was for Pistol Creek West.


    6 Jun 23 at 8:14 pm

  21. @Kenneth -- Yep, that's the one! I'll embed it.


    6 Jun 23 at 10:36 pm

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