Leather manufacturer, new to Las Vegas Market, has a connection to a Beatles song


SAN DIEGO — GTR Leather, a leather upholstery manufacturer based in San Diego, leased a temporary showroom at the most recent Las Vegas Market. With a permanent showroom at the High Point Market, GTR wanted to see if the Las Vegas Market would build an even larger audience for its products.

“We’re here to test the waters,” said Larry Simon, vice president of sales and marketing, noting that as a West Coast-based supplier, growing business in the Western part of the U.S. is “low-hanging fruit.”

But that’s only half of the story. GTR’s sister company is Eleanor Rigby Home, a stationary and motion leather upholstery and case goods producer that offers custom-made products for high-end retailers, designers and hospitality clients.

Christopher Thorpe and Peter Robinson, two British entrepreneurs, launched Eleanor Rigby Leather in 2011. Thorpe was no stranger to the furniture industry. His grandfather started a furniture business in the U.K. in 1954, and Thorpe followed the family business tradition by branching out in the U.S. with Robinson in the late 1980s in San Diego.

“When Peter and I were starting the company, we took a journey back to the U.K., and while we were on a train, the song, Eleanor Rigby popped into my head,” said Thorpe. “And by happy coincidence, Eleanor is also my mother’s name.”

What started as Eleanor Rigby Leather became Eleanor Rigby Home in 2018 to reflect the company’s growing offerings and categories, including power motion and case goods.

For Thorpe and Robinson’s GTR Leather business, the focus is on quality, value and style for its retail partners. With production based in a 50,000-square-foot, vertically integrated facility in Tijuana, Mexico, GTR uses 100% top grain leather from North American hides. With 60-day shipping for special orders, the company supplies its retailers coast-to-coast with seating in the price range of $1,999 to $2,999 MSRP.

“A lot of retailers are now searching for the lowest possible retail prices. Those are the ones who are not our target customers. Our profile customer is a retailer who wants to sell higher quality furniture, upholstered in better leathers, that offers superior comfort and all of that produced by a quality supplier based in North America,” said Simon, who added, “We’re making a Lexus, not a Kia.”

At GTR’s Las Vegas showroom, the company featured one-third of its sofa frames. The company also has a factory-direct program and a warehouse program in North Carolina for quick-ship and e-commerce businesses.

“At GTR, our build integrity is paramount. We focus on quality and a user-friendly customer experience,” said Thorpe.

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