How One Columbus Business Beat the Recession

HFI knew the secret to emerging from the recession stronger than ever.


First established in 1954 as House of Foam, central Ohio-based HFI is a supplier of automotive interior products. Today, the company employs 3,500 people across eight North American locations,footnote 1 and its products can be found inside the vehicles of major manufacturers, including Honda, Ford, Subaru, Nissan and Toyota.

HFI is an integral part of the central Ohio economy, as well as the automotive manufacturing market. With hands-on component production and assembly line needs, HFI provides well-paying jobs to more than 380 Columbus area employeesfootnote 2 some of which have been with the company for over 30 years.

“We've been doing business with JPMorgan Chase for decades. We know the folks there and they know us. All of our banking is with them.”

HFI President and CEO W.E. ‘Walt’ Dennis, Jr.

“HFI really did a phenomenal job dealing with the previous economic challenges in the automotive market,” says Cris G., Chase commercial banking vice president.  “The level of commitment they have to their customers leaves no doubt to the value they place on relationships – it is nothing short of amazing.”


When the economy started to downturn in 2008, HFI saw a decrease in overall orders. But management approached JPMorgan Chase, explained their situation, and together they brainstormed a solution. For nearly two years, financial experts from the bank worked closely with HFI to find and pursue financial solutions that would provide the capital needed to make sure the business would emerge from the recession stronger than ever.

headshot of Walter E. Dennis Jr. Walter E. Dennis Jr.

President & CEO, HFI

"If it had been any other bank, it would have taken months longer. I do things best in life with partners, and with our history with Chase, they’re probably one of my greatest partners. It’s about trust. Trust isn’t something you can ask for, it’s earned, and they’ve earned mine."

“We did what we needed to do to get back on track, and JPMorgan Chase was there all the way,” Dennis says. “Knowing there’s a bank you can go to when you have an issue, whether it be about your business or your own checking account — that’s what it’s about. I’ve had a lot of experience with a lot of banks, but JPMorgan Chase has a history of hiring and retaining quality people.”

In October of 2014, Dennis decided to bring the business back into the family after nine years of a productive private equity ownership.  When he needed to move quickly to take advantage of the opportunity, Dennis says JPMorgan Chase was ready.

Since then, HFI has continued to grow as a result of its fruitful partnerships and innovative spirit. In 2016, they opened their fifth manufacturing facility in Mexico and added a sales office in Detroit.

For more information about HFI, LLC, visit

According to Kurt Stuckenbrock, HFI Vice President of Sales, Dec. 16 2014.