Furniture brand Room & Board began as a part of a family business called Gabberts, but over the past 35 years, it’s grown to become a dominant player in the contemporary furniture market, with collections inspired by the Shaker, Arts & Crafts, and Modernist movements. The company stands out from competitors such as Ikea and Crate and Barrel because 90% of its products are made in America, using family-owned factories. It also focuses on sourcing products ethically and is a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
In 2018, Room & Board collaborated with the USDA Forest Service to pilot the Urban Wood Project, which improves inner cities by hiring hard-to-employ workers, such as former inmates, to reclaim wood from abandoned, condemned homes in Baltimore, Maryland. These workers are then trained to treat and mill the wood, then turn it into furniture that is sold at Room & Board stores. The land on which these homes once stood is turned into parks, which gives the local community access to green spaces.
Room & Board has made a name for itself as being a good employer. While protesters nationwide have been urging the federal government to establish a minimum wage of $15, Room & Board decided to establish its own minimum salary companywide to an annual $38,500 to $45,250 (determined by region), plus benefits that include a three-week paid vacation, healthcare, life insurance, and profit sharing. In 2019, it raised this minimum salary to $40,000 to $47,000. This new salary minimum applies to every person who works at the company, including cleaning staff and delivery service workers.