Buying FF&E domestically

There are many reasons for the hospitality industry to choose purchasing companies, like Aspen Purchasing, that buy their products in the United States instead of China. But what are the benefits to buying FF&E in the US instead of China?

The general goals of hotel renovations are to deliver a finished product, as specified by the owner, on-time and on-budget. In the past Chinese products were cheaper and faster to deliver to the United States. This is no longer the case.


Lead times on products purchased in the United States are significantly less, compared with lead times from China. Aspen Purchasing Associates recently came into problems with a vendor ordering glass from overseas and delaying the project. All renovations are time sensitive, especially recently as the economy is slowly moving out of its slump .

The extra time to get the product isn’t the only concern, however. With lag time comes quality control issues. If it takes longer to get a product, there’s more exchanging of hands and more time for the product to get damaged along the way.  If problems do happen the response time is inevitably longer because it takes so much longer to get the product in the first place.

Products from China aren’t necessarily cheaper either. China holds down the value of their yuan so their products appear cheaper to the US. But the cost of goods is a small fraction of any project. According to Alan Benjamin, president and founder of Benjamin West, in his article Bloom, Gloom, Recovery: Current Trends in FF&E he states “On average FF&E product is about 35 percent of a renovation, the majority of cost being made up of labor, freight, tax, fees, demolition, installation, etc.” Greg Sleter of Hotel Business Design affirms, “Combining shipping costs and other factors, there is far less difference in overall price between the US and China today than in past years”

Don’t be persuaded by a low upfront cost presented by China, US manufactured products are better for the overall financial health of a FF&E project.

Aspen Associates Works with Thayer Lodging Group on JW Marriott San Francisco Renovation

Aspen Associates FF&E Procurement for JW Marriott San Francisco

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After developing a successful working relationship with Thayer Lodging Group on past projects, Aspen Associates has been selected to oversee FF&E procurement, logistics, and installation for a public space renovation for the JW Marriott San Francisco.


Thayer announced the acquisition of the 337-room JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square from Ashford Hospitality Trust in Q1 2011; the deal totaled $96 million and followed a .  While the JW Marriott underwent a $22 million renovation in 2008 and is in excellent condition, Thayer saw additional opportunities to improve the natural flow of the lobby, and to improve the downstairs meeting rooms and fitness center.


Aspen will be working closely again with Richmond, Virginia-based Baskervill as the interior design firm on the project.

CapEx Increase Follows Hotel Transaction Increase in 2011

Hotel Cost Estimating Guide 2011 provided a rosy picture of the capex recovery for 2011 and beyond. Hotel transactionsIncrease in percentage were up 250% in 2010 compared to 2009, with select service brands showing the most improvement, according to Lodging Econometrics. Lodging trends in 2009 saw a decrease in hotel transactions of over 55% from the prior year (2008)—a bleak time that we all remember too well.

More transactions in 2010 have also meant more due diligence surveys and property condition assessments in the first half of 2011, indicating that the distressed hotel that weathered the storm of the last few years is in for that much needed renovation or conversion.

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FF&E and OS&E Procurement

Coordination, procurement, expediting, warehousing, and installation for all of clientsAspen provides coordination, procurement, expediting, warehousing, and installation for all of its clients’ FF&E and OS&E needs.