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Five tips for purchasing tables and chairs

By William Mahoney

For some churches, folding tables and chairs are as much of a regular feature as the choir. From Sunday School classes to ice cream socials and Christmas pageants to Scout meetings, church members certainly know how to put folding tables and chairs to the test. To pick the tables and chairs that will withstand your church’s diverse needs, look for these key features.

1. Durability
Look for folding tables and chairs that meet or exceed BIFMA furniture test standards to ensure they are commercial quality products.

2. Portability
Purchase lightweight tables to make moving and storing them easier. Blow-molded polyethylene tables are the lightest weight folding tables available with one person easily able to carry an eight-foot table. But don’t be fooled by the light weight — blow-molded tables that are constructed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), like those made by Lifetime Products, are actually stronger and more durable than wood and other laminate tabletops.

3. Stain and weather resistance
Look for HDPE products that are both stain resistant and easy to clean to keep them looking new. Since some events may be outside, also look for weather-resistant features that protect against harsh elements and water damage.

4. Comfort
Don’t just buy a chair that looks comfortable. Take time to sit and test several different chairs to see which one really is more comfortable. Larger contoured blow-molded chairs can actually be more comfortable and offer more support than a smaller padded chair.

5. Value
Avoid trendy colors and fabrics to ensure you will easily be able to purchase more matching pieces in the future. Affordable bulk sale solutions are often available directly through manufacturers. Warehouse clubs are also ideal to purchase large quantities and are a great place to see the products in person. Look for the right combination of quality and value: A quality product will save you money in the long run when you don’t have to buy replacement products as often.

William Mahoney is a product manager for Lifetime Products, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of polyethylene folding tables and chairs and inventor of the first blow-molded polyethylene tabletop. www.lifetime.com

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