The Delivery Deal
Is it Time to Outsource?
HFA Member, Dennis Dieter Walker Furniture
Find Your Uber Moment
Keep the Family Business Together
Finely-crafted top of bed designs, from basic to luxury price points. Diverse selection of styles, fabrics, textures and colors. Sold as sets or individually for easy mixing and matching. THE BEAUTY OF EASY.
TAKEAWAYS 1 Outsource deliveries? 10 2 Compete with online mattress companies. 24
3 4 5
Welcome the family. 32 Update work policies. 38 Disrupt competition. 36
10 WHAT’S INSIDE 2. 4. 16. 22. 24. 27. 28. 32. 38. 40. 42. 44.
HFA President’s Letter HFA CEO’s Letter Member Portrait: Mark Flegel HFA@Work: Retro Retreat Product Focus: Mattresses Next Generation: Travis Turner Take 2: Store Re-Design Family Matters: 10 Reasons Kid’s Don’t Join the Family Business Member Benefit: Employment Policies Government Action: ADA Compliance HFA@Market: Highlights from our Las Vegas Retailer Resource Center HFA Community
DEPARTMENTS Cover Story 10. Is it Time to Outsource Delivery?
Operations 34. Words of Wisdom or Worthless Words? 36. Finding the Uber in Your Business
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
Once you have sold a customer, make sure he is satisfied with your goods. Stay with him until the goods are used up or worn out. Your product may be of such long life that you will never sell him again, but he will sell you and your product to his friends.
President Jeff Child RC Willey
— William Feather
President-Elect Steve Kidder Vermont Furniture Galleries
Take a fresh look at your operations
Vice President Jim Fee Stoney Creek Furniture Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Sheely Sheely’s Furniture
ell, the holidays are over. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season both personally and with your business. There’s something about the holidays that makes me realize even more so the importance of the operations end of our business. I know I spend most of my time making sure we have the right product on the floor, making sure the store looks clean and inviting, making sure product looks the best it can, the pricing is right and our employees are knowledgeable and friendly. This is the fun part of the business. We work hard to make sure the shopping experience is pleasant and fun. Our customers have come to expect this when they walk into one of our stores. There is something else customers expect when they do business with us. They expect their product to be in perfect condition. If they are having it delivered, they expect it to arrive when we tell them it will arrive. If they take the furniture with them, they expect it to look exactly like it did in the showroom. To a customer, this may seem a simple request, but in reality we know it takes a lot of work to make the final part of the transaction seem smooth. The customer doesn’t see the logistics of getting the product to the warehouse, sometimes coming from thousands of miles away. Since their purchase is packaged they don’t understand why we need to make sure the product is handled and stored correctly. They don’t understand why some product needs to be “touched up.” They don’t understand the complexity of making hundreds of deliveries every day. Yet we know when our delivery people (the last people from our company they see) leave and the customer is happy, selling the product was the easy part. The operations of a company is so important and yet is often overlooked because the customer doesn’t see what happens in the warehouse. I would encourage everyone to take a fresh look at their warehouse, their systems and their operations as a whole starting with this month’s cover story on home delivery. It will be time well spent and although your customers won’t verbally thank you, they will appreciate it as much as they appreciate what you do in the front of your store.
Chairman Marty Cramer Cramer’s Home Furnishings Executive Staff Sharron Bradley Chief Executive Officer sbradley@NAHFA.org
Jeff Child HFA President
Mary Frye Executive Vice President mfrye@NAHFA.org Dan McCann Director of Marketing & Communications dmccann@NAHFA.org Membership Staff Kaprice Crawford Membership Team Leader kcrawford@NAHFA.org Jordan Boyst jboyst@NAHFA.org Sherry Hansen shansen@NAHFA.org Michael Hill mhill@NAHFA.org Jana Sutherland jsutherland@NAHFA.org Dianne Therry dtherry@NAHFA.org Please call 800.422.3778 for membership inquires. Contact Us RetailerNOW 3910 Tinsley Dr., Suite 101 High Point, NC 27265
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
We’re working harder to make your life easier RETAILERNOW STAFF
elcome to 2016, another year certain to feature significant changes in how we sell home furnishings and how consumers find us and purchase our product. I find the changes swirling around us exciting and invigorating, challenging all of us to be on top of our game and always be the best at whatever comes next. In fact, let’s not describe our industry as changing because that implies an end point, a goal reached. Here at the Home Furnishings Association, we like to think our industry is “evolving” because it’s an “evolution” we’re talking about, something constant and never-ending. And if there’s a perfect group of people to help lead this evolution, it’s your HFA. Take a look at what we accomplished in 2015:
Lisa Casinger Editorial Director firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Bell Editor email@example.com Tim Timmons Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org Lynn Orr Business Development email@example.com Cassie Wardlow Digital Marketing Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharron Bradley CEO, HFA
Next Generation Mentoring. The HFA created exclusive mentoring programs for NextGen members with RC Willey and El Dorado Furniture. We also hosted Lunch with Leaders programs at markets to connect NextGen members with our industry’s biggest and brightest.
RETAIL ADVISORY TEAM Carol Bell Contents Interiors Tucson, Ariz.
Online Seminars. We know you’re busy. Our 2015 webinar series was designed to help you learn on your time and your terms.
Travis Garrish Forma Furniture Fort Collins, Colo.
Government Relations. Our first HFA fly-in gave retailers access to some of the nation’s most influential congressional leaders.
Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings Boca Raton, Fla.
Networking. Everyone needs to get away from the store. Our 2015 regional events brought together retailers just like you to share a laugh and learn from one another.
Mike Luna Pedigo’s Furniture Livingston, Texas
RetailerNOW. Our magazine continues to meet your needs with new columns on family businesses, member portraits, and more. New Website. We’re developing a new association website, including a members-only section that will feature resources on best practices, in-depth training, consumer information for your website, and more.
Andrew Tepperman Tepperman's Windsor, Ontario
Best of all, we’re not done! We’re committed to serving you by adding more benefits in 2016. You’ve asked for more training so we’re planning to add more NextGen Leadership Immersion Mentoring Programs. We know the importance of a rich website so we’re developing even more relevant content. We’re also enhancing our partnerships with many other industry associations such as the American Home Furnishings Association, the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association, the Sustainable Furnishings Council and others.
This Month’s Contributors
Tom Bentley, Marty Grosse, Karen Hornfeck, Sue Masaracchia-Roberts, Gerry Morris, Wayne Rivers, and Martin Roberts.
Subscription: $70/year RetailerNOW, ISSN# 2166-5249, is published monthly (except March and December) by the North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville, CA 95678. POSTMASTER: Address changes to: RetailerNOW, North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville CA 95678. If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to RNOWunsubscribe@nahfa.org.
Twitter.com/retailerNOW Facebook.com/retailerNOW Pinterest.com/retailerNOW
Financial Benchmarks. The HFA revived the Retail Performance Report—free to participating members—enabling you to measure your success and growth against your peers.
Speaking of evolving, North American Home Furnishings Association was a mouthful so we’re now the Home Furnishings Association. Our mission hasn’t changed: We want to help grow your business. So for everyone from the HFA, thanks for your support. No matter what 2016 brings, we’ll keep evolving with you.
Sharron Bradley email@example.com
© 2016 North American Home Furnishings Association. Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association. Material herein may not be reproduced, copied or reprinted without prior written consent of the publisher. Acceptance of advertising or indication of sponsorship does not imply endorsement of publisher or the North American Home Furnishings Association. The views expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the publisher, editor or the North American Home Furnishings Association, and North American Retail Services Corp. Content herein is for general information only; readers are encouraged to consult their own attorney, accountant, tax expert and other professionals for specific advice before taking any action.
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
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z GOOD TO KNOW What makes a digital marketing cloud? With stores in 11 cities and an e-commerce operation to boot, HFA member Room & Board knows the importance of meeting its clients’ needs across all channels. The Minneapolis-based retailer relies on a cloud-based marketing platform that folds in data from physical and virtual channels allowing it to connect with shoppers on a seamless, omnichannel level. As STORES Magazine reported recently, as increasingly digitally savvy consumers—and their reliance on disruptive technology—change the pace of retail, Room & Board has to work even harder to meet their needs across all channels. “The customer is the customer,” says Kimberly Ruthenbeck, the company’s director of web customer experience. “They don’t care if they’re shopping in a store, on the web or on the phone. It’s really important that as a retailer, we know that.” Revamping communication to enable a retailer to connect with its shoppers on a seamless, omnichannel level is hard enough to fathom, let alone accomplish, which is why many brick-and-mortar retailers are turning to cloud-based marketing (or marketing automation) platforms for help. There are tons of cloud-based marketing suites out there—some have even been developed with industryspecific needs in mind—so choosing one that fits your needs will require research. Follow these four steps before purchasing marketing-automation software: 1. Devise a comprehensive plan. Before you buy a tool to solve a problem, you should know the best process for solving that problem. Define what each campaign means to every invested department by asking: What will it cost? How will we track its performance? How will we associate leads and opportunities with the campaign? Decide what matters first, then find a platform that will help you measure it.
Room & Board wants its customers’ experience to be consistent and relevant whether they’re in a store or online.
2. Map your marketing funnel. Ask yourself, who are we speaking to? What information do they need? Are we going to measure their interest and response? These questions can help you define each phase of the marketing funnel and create targeted content you can use to nurture relationships as well as warm leads. 3. Choose a comprehensive tool that can serve multiple departments. Using one platform—instead of customerrelationship management for sales, a content platform for marketing, etc. —will keep everyone on the same page. Map out exactly what each leg of the buyer’s journey looks like so you know how every point of contact should be handled. 4. Keep it simple. New technology can be exciting, but it can also be more than a little overwhelming. You want to track it all because more data is always better, right? Not necessarily. Too much data can detract from the meaning behind your key metrics. Boil your tracking needs down to the essentials. Keep it simple so you can more easily identify the value behind your metrics.
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As many basic productivity apps do, smartphone camera scanner apps come and go, which is why we keep you up to date on the most current industry-leading tools for those everyday tasks. CamScanner is an app for quick scanning, sharing and collaborating on important work documents across your operation. With CamScanner, any documents can be digitized and saved with your mobile phone. Access, edit, and manage documents anytime and anywhere as you need and send via email.
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FEBRUARY | 2016
How do you create a more enjoyable shopping experience?
Brian Flegel Flegel’s Interior Design & Distinctive Furnishings Menlo Park, CA “We are a full-scale interior design and furniture business with a 20,000-square-foot showroom that’s really about inspiring people. We essentially give a design consultation for free for anyone who walks in. We really like to make people feel at home and show things as people live. In fact, if they want to continue the conversation in their home, we’ll go to their home. It’s really about relationships. We have designers with us that go back 10 or 15 years and they have long-term relationships that go back that far. Our advice comes almost as a friendship.”
Lynn Schwebach Uncle Jake’s Furniture Greenville, SC “We have hundreds of pieces of solid wood furniture that our customers can purchase in more than 100 different colors of stain, paint, two-tone or distressed finish. The issue was being able to show the various colors on the piece a customer selected. Now we have a finish selection kiosk that allows the customer to see any piece of furniture in any finish or combination of finishes. The customer can print the image, send it to social media, or email it to their personal file for reference when they get home. It has greatly reduced the stress of choosing the ‘right color.’ ”
Nelda Rambo Rambo’s Furniture Clute, TX “We are family-owned and operated, so customer service is No. 1 with us. We are friendly and laid back— and people come back to us because they like the atmosphere here. We’ve been here since 1952 and are a small, hometown store. We treat every customer the same, no matter what they look like or how they are dressed. It doesn’t matter. We try to go above and beyond. People tell us, ‘Our parents shopped here, our grandparents shopped here and we will only come to Rambo’s because of the way they treat us.’ They know we will take care of them.” 8
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
TOPSHELF Tap into the Power of Your Employees' Collaborative and Creative Powers Yes, And (Harper Business, 256 pages) In their book Yes, And, The Second City executives Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton describe how the fundamentals of great improvisational comedy can be applied to business. Tapping into their years of experience running the theater troupe responsible for some of today’s biggest comedy superstars, Leonard and Yorton provide leaders with a guide to using improv skills to increase their employees’ engagement and innovation output. To master successful improvisation, leaders must enable their employees to say, “Yes, and…” to new ideas and work as ensembles by eliminating their fear of failure. Despite all of the planning and rigid processes, business is an act of improvisation. According to the authors, leaders can get a handle on the often unpredictable reality of organizational management by looking to the three pillars that uphold The Second City: creativity, communication, and collaboration. It is by adhering to these pillars that The Second City was able to become the renowned comedy enterprise that introduced the world to performers such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. To build these pillars, leaders must first understand these seven elements of improvisation: 1. Yes, And: The bedrock of improv, Yes, And requires leaders to gives all ideas an opportunity to be acted on without judgment. 2. Ensemble: To build and maintain an ensemble is to reconcile the needs of individuals with those of the broader team. 3. Co-creation: Just as improvisers take suggestions from each other and the audience, organizations must tap into the power of co-creation by involving their customers in the creative process to produce everything from new products to marketing campaigns. 4. Authenticity: In improv, performers project authenticity by not taking things too seriously. Organizations can follow suit by learning to question their own beliefs, processes, and products instead of treating them with reverence. 5. Failure: Improv performers incorporate failure into their narratives, as it is a powerful source of new creativity. Organizations must learn to stop fearing failure and instead look to it as a necessary step toward success. 6. Follow the follower: This principle embraces the idea that because everyone brings something different to the table, ensembles should allow leadership to shift depending on what expertise is required for the situation at hand. 7. Listening: Deep listening, or the ability to stay in the moment and truly understand what speakers are trying to communicate, allows listeners to broaden their perspectives and enrich the creative processes. Yes, And would be beneficial to managers and executives looking to improve the collaboration and creative output of their organizations. Book review: summary.com RetailerNOWmag.com
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
DELI Do it yourself or find a second party? 10
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
IVERY By Sue Masaracchia-Roberts
Driver turnover. Increasing federal regulations. Neverending maintenance. At some point, home furnishings retailers need to decide if itâ€™s best to keep the job of home deliveries under their roof or turn it over to someone else. Fellow Home Furnishings Association members share their stories.
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
o create customer confidence and greater visibility, selling a piece of furniture is only the beginning. That furniture still needs to be delivered and set up in your customer’s home. Just the thought of that makes some home furnishings retailers cringe, given deliveries are often handled by someone other than themselves. A furniture store’s delivery process depends largely on its sales and delivery volume, its geographic area and service radius, as well as customer needs. Owners should consider a number of issues as they determine the best course of action. When a retailer decides to employ an outside vendor for delivery, they’re trusting that company with a huge part of their business, says Patrick Cory, CEO of Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery, an 81-year-old delivery firm. “Make sure there is a cultural alignment and internal expertise,” he says. “For example, what is their Department of Transportation compliance record? What does their regulatory department look like when it comes to making sure the fleet is safe? What is their maintenance record?” Delivery companies range from independent, small local moving companies, to large, global logistics companies, to those that specialize in “last mile logistics”—those that deliver only in one area or have just a few trucks. Outsourcing to a delivery firm can cut costs and provide efficiencies of scale. However, David Grass, a consultant with DLG Furniture Services, cautions there might be other problems. In these days of e-commerce, the delivery staff may be the only human contact a customer has with a company. “Because those delivering furniture may not be the best paid or most highly educated, some who make the deliveries may not project the best image,” says Grass. “White-glove service is a false word that involves a driver doing what he is supposed to do. It’s all about image.” Logistics executive Rob Davis of Diakon says, for “small or new retailers, it comes down to volume.” When it comes to doing their own deliveries, retailers with more than four to six trucks will see the economic benefit of outsourcing, as well as the risk tolerance and increased service level. “It’s our specialty. We take away the risk and liability. Smaller retailers should track and consider the number of truck stops, the miles covered, the average pieces per delivery, the length of the day, the time between stops, fuel costs, HR, recruiting, etc., to understand how much the equipment costs to run. If it’s too high, you should consider a company like mine or change service providers. For those who will never have more than four trucks, find ways to motivate your teams to be quick, talk to customers and provide quality customer service.” Davis adds that services may hire people who may not be well-trained or familiar with the business. “All it takes is just one
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delivery accident or incorrect installation to impact your business.” When HFA member store El Dorado Furniture in Miami opened 50 years ago, “We had our own trucks,” says CEO Pedro Capo. “After a few years, we [sold] the trucks to employees and made them independent contractors, paid the same way we would a salesperson— by volume instead of by stop or by piece. We gave them an incentive to make more deliveries within a certain period of time instead of paying them by the hour. As the business grew, we realized the need to concentrate more on warehousing and not the delivery part of the business.” This led first to hiring a third-party delivery company, then to using outside companies starting with Cory Delivery. Two years later, Capo added Diakon Logistics as a second company to accommodate its growth. Both companies specialize in the furniture retail industry. Capo says there are advantages to hiring an outside service. “We needed more trucks to be available when necessary,” he says. “After investigating our options, we chose (to add) Diakon.” Both companies Pedro Capo, have asked for all of El Dorado’s business, El Dorado Furniture but, Capo likes the idea of the companies
Thinking of Outsourcing?
Here are five questions to ask:
Are drivers experienced with delivering and setting up furniture?
How will you measure customer satisfaction on deliveries?
Will your savings equal or surpass the cost of a second party?
Are you willing to give up that face time with your customers?
Can a second party work around your customerâ€™s schedule?
competing with one another. â€œThis makes them both better,â€? he says. â€œThis gives them a vested interest in making things better. One has more trucks working for us, but both use similar systems, are great companies with a lot to offer.â€? Drivers with higher completion rates receive greater incentive pay, so â€œeach driver has a great reason to make sure each delivery goes well the first time.â€? â€œThere are times during the year when you have highs and lows and need either more or fewer trucks; [These services] provide the flexibility to get more trucks when you need them, like on a weekend,â€? Capo adds, while, â€œIf you had your own, youâ€™d have to pay their salaries.â€? HFA member Lee Goodman also uses a second party, Diakon, to handle all of the deliveries for Jeromeâ€™s Furniture in Orange County, California. â€œIt is a better use of resources to focus on our business and allow them to continue the home deliveries,â€? says Goodman, Jeromeâ€™s CEO. Having inherited Lee Goodman, Diakon when he joined the company Jeromeâ€™s Furniture 10 years ago, Goodman notes, â€œIf you
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try to make a change, it is incredibly disruptive.” Jerome’s has its drivers and customers phone into a call center after each delivery “to make sure the customer is completely satisfied, that they’ve looked over their product and are happy, that the trash is out and that we’ve done all we can to make the experience what they wanted and expected,” Goodman says. Problems are immediately resolved. “Calling them allows us to ensure that kind of satisfaction.” Goodman says, “The use of outside companies provides an economy of scale, by taking care of what needs to be done efficiently and by bringing best practices to the table, and allows for the flexibility of being able to expand or shrink more easily than by using your own people. As long as you can connect your strategy with the customer experience and with the drivers, and give the drivers the tools, training and resources they need, there are few negatives.” On the other hand, fellow HFA member Jim McIngvale, owner of Galley Furniture in Houston asks, “Why outsource a core competency?” Gallery offers a delivery training class every Jim McIngvale, Monday and McIngvale is proud of Gallery Furniture his staff. “They do extraordinary things every day,” he says, which helps build his company’s brand equity. McIngvale says some customers even request a specific person to make a delivery. “That’s pretty good,” he says. “It’s about standing out in a crowd.” Walnut Creek Furniture, an HFA member in Walnut Creek, Ohio, delivers to customers within a 50-mile radius. Manager Galen Swartzentruber uses a local delivery service he hired based on recommendations and an interview process. He outsources other deliveries. “The company is local and we know and trust them and their work Galen Swartzentruber, ethic,” says Swartzentruber. “It’s much Walnut Creek Furniture like delivering the furniture ourselves. If any delivery issues arise, they call us right away. We also check with the customers to make sure things go the way we want them to. If a company represents you, the customer does not know [their] name, they only know yours.” In Wausau, Wisconsin, HFA member Nigbur’s Fine Furniture owner Linda Nigbur says it has never crossed her mind to outsource delivery. “There is a benefit to keeping our name out there,” she says. “If it is our truck, the neighborhood knows; it’s additional advertising you don’t need to put in Linda Nigbur, your advertising budget.” She uses Nigbur’s Fine Furniture store staff to “allow them to see more
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
from beginning to end, to follow-through the whole customer experience. [They are] involved in moving things, prepping the merchandise for delivery and inspecting it,” says Nigbur. “We go through a pretty stringent process prior to delivery [which makes them] more knowledgeable with a better level of understanding about the capabilities of, say, a reclining piece of furniture or what characteristics are acceptable or not in case there are problems.” For example, Nigbur’s staff learns to navigate crown molding to ensure there are no sharp or rough edges, as well as look for fabric flaws and know the mechanics and functions of things. She often sends her crew to the manufacturers to rehearse how they will work and act with customers in homes. Nigbur’s staff “is the final contact with our store; that is huge, as they are the ones to leave a lasting impression—good or bad,” she says. “They reflect our name.”
“It’s hard to find (drivers) fully insured who have a good reputation, something that really counts.” — Dennis Dieter, Walker Furniture
EMPOWER Unique in the business, HFA member Allentown Interiors in Bethany, Oklahoma, furnishes mostly model and spec homes, and offers home building and decorating services. Covering only about a 30-mile radius, they don’t have the volume to justify a full-time delivery person. As a result, owner Scott Edwards has three employees with appropriate drivers’ licenses to drive his truck. “Delivery is not a profit center for us,” he says, “but we are big on service and getting a good name. We work around customers’ schedules and plan it out pretty well.” In business for about five years, Allentown Interiors assigns charges based on the number of items, with a $50 minimum delivery charge, and adjusts prices according to the number of pieces and distance to cover costs. HFA member Walker Furniture in Las Vegas serves Nevada, California, and Utah customers. General manager Dennis Dieter says they use one out-of-state shipping service for transporting long-distance items, but lease trucks for local deliveries. “We’ve had bad experiences when using outside sources locally,” says Dieter. “They lack proper insurance and you become liable if something goes wrong. It is hard to find people fully insured who have a good reputation, something that really counts.” He says the shipper they use “is very efficient, white glove, and gives us extra business we might not otherwise be able to get. He’s been with us for years and his role has evolved over time.” Another HFA member, family-owned Morris Furniture in Albert Lea, Minnesota, has been handling its own deliveries for more than 40 years. “Our geographical location determined it,” says owner Michael Kenis. “We have a small demographic, but deliver in about a 50-mile radius.” Morris employees make deliveries. He says he won’t consider using an outside service because his store sells “a lot of power-lift merchandise, like chairs and beds so we do a lot of emergency deliveries. We have more dexterity by using an in-house delivery service.” One of the downsides to Morris handling its own deliveries involves government regulations. “We run three, 20-foot box trucks and cover two states,” says Kenis. “With all the ICC [Interstate Commerce Commission] and DOT [Department of Transportation] regulations, there is a lot we’ve had to get into to follow government regulations.” However, he has not found a good delivery service in his area, making the positives outweigh the negatives. “Retailers are really good at retailing, buying furniture, sourcing it, displaying it, and selling it,” adds Cory, “that is why they are successful. They may not, however, be good at transportation and delivery, as that is a completely different business and mindset. If you are happy with what you are getting and have your eyes open, you can keep doing what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing and are struggling to find qualified drivers—a big issue now—you need to outsource to a third-party company.” Grass advises those considering different delivery options do their homework. “Look at your (current and projected) needs and expenses before making a decision to determine if a company fits the bill, especially for the smaller scale retailer,” he says. Consider “what the players offer, their specialty and where can they provide service.” For those who do their own deliveries, Davis added, “You have to have the stomach for this.” Sue Masaracchia-Roberts is a freelance writer, editor and public relations consultant in Chicago. Her specialties are the fields of manufacturing and small business. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Building Relations Flegelâ€™s Home Furnishings has been building and nurturing its customer base for more than a half century. By Robert Bell
TONY CLIENTS Mark Flegel, right, and his son Brian have a client list that includes some of the biggest technology executives in Silicon Valley.
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ark Flegel has been a part of the home furnishings scene long enough—45 years if you’re counting—to be affected by all the upheaval forced on the industry: Off shore manufacturing, the rise of big box stores, the fall of family stores, the downsizing of Baby Boomers, the indifference of Millennials, Internet sales. “Trust me,” says Flegel, “I’ve seen and survived it all. But if there’s been one thing that’s been consistent about this business, it’s that we’re still an industry that lives and dies by relationships.” No wonder, then, that Flegel’s Home Furnishings in Menlo Park just outside San Francisco (an area that has seen its share of change over the years, too) is not only still around, but continues to grow. Flegel believes there are two reasons behind his store’s success. First, is his ability to see and adapt to the changes in the industry (more on that later) and second are the relationships he’s built over the years; not just with clients, but with manufacturers and reps. On this, Flegel is certain: “If you lose those relationships, that’s when you’re going to find your job just got harder.” For a man who never intended to be part of the home furnishings industry, Flegel knows of what he speaks. His parents, Arthur and Cleo, started Flegel’s in 1954 in Menlo Park, at the time a tiny middle-class bedroom community of San Francisco. Family and friends begged the couple not to open a furniture store; there were already 13 within a five-mile radius of Flegel’s. “They told my dad, he’d be out of business within six months and suggested he try another field,” Flegel says. Family and friends were a little off. Those 13 other furniture stores have long since moved, folded, or filed for bankruptcy. Flegel’s, on the other hand, is entering its 62nd year. And while there’s still healthy competition—Flegel’s is one of a dozen furniture stores wedged into a seven-block radius of downtown—few have the loyalty and customer service that Flegel and his staff
boast. Indeed the store is often the first stop for some of the Bay Area’s biggest, most influential executives at Apple and Cisco. “They expect a certain level of service and expertise that’s hard to find in our industry these days, but they know they can find it here,” Flegel says. In 1965, Arthur Flegel was one of the first retailers in the Bay Area to bring high-end interior designers and retail sales associates together under one roof, the first of many moves Mark Flegel says his father implemented to position Flegel’s as the area’s preeminent store. “At the time designers and furniture stores were like oil and water,” Flegel recalls. “Nobody got along because they were all looking out for themselves. Dad saw the advantage of bringing (designers) in and treating them well.” Flegel’s also made a name for itself by selling only high-end furniture. For years, Flegel’s focused on Drexel Heritage in its showroom, but added more lines when Mark Flegel joined the company in 1971. He was a philosophy major who had hoped to teach on the university level, but with few schools hiring at the time, he traveled through Europe before joining the family business. “When your last name is on the building and you know the boss, I figured I had a good chance of getting a job,” jokes Flegel. Flegel studied design and selling. He made frequent trips to High Point to learn the industry. His impact was immediate. “I had a five-year program in mind to really raise the level of business and service we were offering,” he says. “Business was already going well, but I thought we could take it up a notch with some changes.” Flegel started with the store’s inventory. He brought in more high-end lines such as John Whitcomb, Karges, Baker, Henredon and Kindel. Flegel didn’t stop with the inventory. He upped Flegel’s customer service to a new level, too. Part of that push was making sure his employees were taken care of. Flegel says his
OUT OF ASHES Fire destroyed Flegel’s original store in 1983, but within seven months a new store was built and a second floor added. RetailerNOWmag.com
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employees are well paid and they respond in kind when dealing with the customers. “We treat people the way people should be treated— with kindness and respect,” he says. “That starts with our employees by paying them a good, fair salary. When your employees know they are valued and cared for they treat their customers in the same way.” Flegel says the sense of loyalty his employees feel by being paid well is shared by his customers, who return again and again when it’s time for a new sofa or to freshen up a room. He’s not about to go into financial specifics, but his operations department is testament to that loyalty. Four of Flegel’s warehouse delivery employees—an area of retail known for its high turnover—have been with the company an average of 24 years. One of them has been with Flegel’s for 40 years. “A lot of my people feel a sense of ownership and I love that about them, about this store,” Flegel says with pride. “Everyone comes to work knowing we’re all in this together. Some days we make mistakes and I hope we learn from them, but most days I think we leave
WHAT HFA MEANS TO ME
It's about being part of something bigger than just my store. The association supports the home furnishings industry, of which I'm a member so I want to support them. The HFA is watching out for us in Washington, educating us at markets and making life easier for retailers, no matter how big or little they are. That's why I'm a member.
knowing we’ve done a good job in helping our customers. We’re proud of those relationships we’ve built.” Flegel is just as proud of the relationships he’s built with his manufacturing reps. When a customer received the wrong ottoman and chair from Drexel a few Christmases back, Flegel called the manufacturer in North Carolina. The next day, chair and ottoman were on a plane bound for California. When a customer received the right Henredon bedroom set with the wrong finish, Flegel was on the phone Monday morning. The right set was in the customer’s house by the end of the week. Flegel knows that not everyone has that rapport with their manufacturers. And, truth be told, he’s picky when it comes to those relationships. “There are a lot of manufacturers and owners who I love as friends, but don’t like the way they treat the retailer so I stay away from them,” he says. “If they don’t treat you right, it makes it hard for you to give your customers the service they deserve.” Forty-five years in the home furnishings business doesn’t come without its trials. Mark Flegel’s biggest came in 1983 when some bored teenagers set fire to his store. The building was destroyed leaving Flegel and his employees unemployed. That’s when things got even worse. Builders told him it would take almost two years to clear the debris and rebuild the store. Flegel couldn’t wait that long. “We had employees who needed a paycheck—I needed a paycheck,” he recalls. Five days after the fire, Flegel’s was back in business, this time
– Mark Flegel Flegel's Home Furnishings, Menlo Park, Calif.
HIGHER LEVEL Mark Flegel joined the family business in 1971. He’s been taking it to new heights ever since.
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BIG CHANGE Flegel added more high-end lines to the mix, including Baker Furniture, top, and Italy’s Rho Mobili D’Epoca, middle and bottom.
in a vacant building behind the store. The old building wasn’t exactly first class or designed for selling high-end furniture, but Flegel’s high-end service was the same as it ever was. While the store struggled to maintain its clients’ needs, Flegel negotiated with builders and shaved the two-year rebuilding project down to seven months. He even added a second floor to his new store. That’s what building relationships can do in business, he says. These days, Flegel’s biggest challenge is not unlike other high-end stores: How
to engage and educate Millennials who have no problem investing in smartphones and laptops, but balk at investing in furnishing their homes. “We’re really trying to educate them when they walk into the store,” Flegel says. “In this area they can afford quality furniture, but getting them to see the value is what we’re trying to do. So we talk to them about quality and buying a sofa from us that will last 20 years as opposed to three years from somewhere else. When they leave our store, they may or may not have bought something, but at least I’ve created an educated consumer.” And who knows? Maybe Mark Flegel has created another relationship.
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Retro Retreat Long Beach, California (site of this year's Home Furnishings Networking Conference)
is riding a wave of renewal By Tom Bentley
here’s a thick swirl of sea salt and nostalgia in the air along the coastal towns in Southern California. The glamorous aura of old Hollywood and bygone eras has seeped into places both grand and seemingly ordinary. Take Long Beach, for example, where, in May, retailers like yourself will gather for the Home Furnishings Association’s annual Home Furnishings Networking Conference. The Long Beach waterfront area has enjoyed a renaissance, and, from atop the Westin Hotel where you’ll be staying, you'll see the city in all its retro glory: Stellar views of Rainbow Harbor, the new/old Pike grounds and her majesty, the Queen Mary liner, sitting in fine repose. Beneath you, downtown glitters. And when the skies are polished, you can even catch a glimpse of Los Angeles, throwing back its shoulders. In the spring, the downtown and waterfront area of Long Beach jumps and jives, with lively clubs, galleries, public art and performances. Wander down that waterfront to the Aquarium of the Pacific, a saltily entertaining venue on the grounds of the crusty old Pike, an amusement park built by Charles Looff, of Coney Island fame, in 1902. The aquarium includes a penguin habitat, shark lagoon and tropical Pacific exhibit. You’re close enough to walk from
there to the Promenade area in the heart of downtown, where you’ll find outdoor entertainment, art and eclectic dining and shopping possibilities. The Queen Mary is a 1,000-foot stroller’s fascination: There are marvels to see on all eight decks, from the preserved officers’ quarters on its upper level to the high-ceilinged Grand Salon for Sunday brunches well below. It’s great fun to wander the passageways and peer into the various salons and stations, and then pop out to the outside decks, with their sunny views of the Long Beach harbor front. There’s a cluster of shops and restaurants in the Shoreline Village-aquarium area. Ditch the chains, and head to the Promenade area for pizza, beer and barbecue. Looking for something more upscale? Maya is a casually hip, waterfront hotel, and its Fuego Restaurant has expansive coastal views and savory dishes. Enjoy fresh seafood, as well as some tasty Mexican and South American selections—and a broad assortment of premium tequilas.
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Tom Bentley is a freelance writer who can be reached at email@example.com
AFTER HOURS THERE’S MORE TO LONG BEACH THAN THE HFNC EAT Fuego at Hotel Maya 700 Queensway Drive hotelmayalongbeach.com/fuego. Entrees $16 to $26. Congregation Ale House 201 E. Broadway congregationalehouse.com. Burgers, sausages and pizzas, $7 to $12. Beachwood BBQ 210 E. Third St. beachwoodbbq.com. Barbecue fare, entrees $9 to $22.
PLAY Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way www.aquariumofpacific.org. Adults, $28.95, Children, $14.95. Queen Mary 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach queenmary.com. Restaurants, tours and attractions.
High Point Market App to Debut in April The North Carolina company putting together the High Point Market app is promising market attendees who use it an easier, less stressful week at the April market. Neil Marritt, director of strategic services at Greensboro-based Emisare, said the app will be available to retailers, manufacturers, and vendors in early April. “I think a lot of folks are going to be very pleased with their experience,” Marritt says. “It’s going to make getting around a lot easier and a lot simpler.” The app is a direct result of Home Furnishings Association members having their voices heard by market officials at the Association’s biannual lunch with High Point Market Authority staff. Each market, HFA members are given exclusive access to High Point Market Authority members to discuss ways to improve the market experience for retailers. Two years ago, HFA members urged authority officials to make it easier to navigate market’s many buildings and showrooms. Unlike Las Vegas, the nation’s other main furniture market, the High Point market is spread out over more than 150 buildings throughout the city. For this market, the app will only apply
A new app is expected to help High Point Market attendees navigate the IHFC building in April. More buildings will be added to the app in the coming months and years.
to the International Home Furnishings Center. With nearly seven million square feet of showroom space, the building is easily the largest, and most difficult, to navigate. “If we can make the app work there, we can make it work anywhere in the market,” says Marritt, who adds that more buildings will be added in the coming months and years. Not only will the app triangulate a user’s position and steer them to the showroom they want, but it will also let them set their
calendar and appointments with manufacturers and vendors. Sharron Bradley, CEO of the HFA, says the app came about because of the concerns and frustrations many HFA retailers have expressed when trying to get from one showroom to another during market. “We’re always striving for ways we can better serve our members,” says Bradley. “Giving them a chance to have their voices heard at market is just one of those benefits.”
Our industry moves at a rapid pace. You need to move with it. RetailerNOW is the only association magazine dedicated to helping retailers like you move and stay ahead of the curve. Each month we bring you expert analysis, industry insight and interesting stories to move your business forward. Subscribe now. Visit Retailernowmag.com.
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
The Changing Face of the Mattress Industry Online retailers shouldn’t keep you up at night. Here’s how to compete with them in your store.
CUSTOM FIT Using Kingsdown’s BedMATCH system, retailers can have a mattress tailormade for their customers.
By Karen Hornfeck
en years ago, mention the possibility of consumers buying mattresses online and people would have likely looked at you as if you were crazy. But, as with so many product categories today, online mattress retailers promise lower pricing and easy returns. And it looks like the trend is here to stay. Companies like Casper, Keetsa, Leesa and Yogabed are leading the way among online startup manufacturers. So-called “bed-in-a-box” companies sell mattresses that lack springs and can be folded up into a box about the size of a clothes dryer. Many of the online companies offer free returns for up to 100 days after purchase, an appealing benefit to consumers who often find shopping for a new mattress overwhelming. Should brick-and-mortar retailers be worried about this newest
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trend? Worried, no. Aware of the trend, definitely. A recent Furniture Today study reported that 20 percent of consumers say they would never buy a mattress online. But how many consumers said that same thing about buying shoes a few years ago? Or groceries? Or even cars? Today, consumers can buy all that and more. Forrester Research reports that in the United States alone, online sales accounted for $248.7 billion and they predict a compound growth of 10 percent over the next five years. “Consumers are pre-shopping online, ordering products and having them delivered to their homes without having to tolerate busy stores and unprofessional or pushy sales people,” says Kevin Damewood, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kingsdown, a bedding manufacturer based in North Carolina. “It’s
simply more convenient.” Competing against online mattress companies offers a challenge to retailers but one that is worth the investment. Based on numbers for 2015, the International Sleep Products Association’s latest forecast, released in October, predicted a solid year for the U.S. mattress industry, with mattress sales increasing by more than two percent last year. Michael Silverstein, senior partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group puts it more bluntly: “America has a lot of old mattresses out there and a lot of people who are unhappy with their night’s sleep.” Silverstein notes that the average mattress in America is about 15 years old. He points out, based on research, “that is about three years too old.” Sleep and sleep deprivation are part of the American conversation about healthier living habits, but investing in a mattress often isn’t the first thing a consumer looks at buying when they think about disposable income and big purchases. “No one sees a mattress,” explains Silverstein. “You can’t invite friends over to see it and enjoy it like a big screen television, but I think a mattress purchase is probably the single most important capital investment a consumer can make, even more important than a car.” Sleep is important. It affects physical and mental health and can even influence productivity at work. Silverstein believes that storefront retailers have competitive advantages they can maximize when competing against online retailers. He says salespeople have to be educated about sleep and must know how to pass that information on to the consumer. “Ask
the consumer about their sleep behavior and what they are looking for in a mattress,” Silverstein says. By listening to the consumer, salespeople can more carefully guide them to a mattress that will meet their needs. Knowing what research says about the importance of a good night’s sleep and how a good mattress can contribute to that can also help persuade consumers that an investment in a good mattress is wise. That $2,000 price tag for a mattress doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you consider that, when broken down over the course of the recommended 10 years a mattress should last, the cost comes down to only $200 a year—55 cents a night!—for good sleep. Sales staff need to help consumers understand the reality of their investment. Kingsdown has taken pairing consumers up with the right mattress a step further with its BedMATCH system. Originally developed as a therapeutic support surface for patients with decubitus ulcers, this diagnostic system can be set up in stores to match consumers with a mattress that is best suited for their specific body type and preferred sleep position. Using a combination of 18 statistical measurements, more than 1,000 scientific calculations, and information provided by the consumer, the system directs consumers to a Kingsdown mattress that gives optimal posture support and proper alignment. “Consumers who have experienced BedMATCH have repeatedly mentioned that they feel assured that they have been properly fitted to the best mattress on that particular sales floor and that this mattress will provide a good night’s sleep,” says Damewood. Installing a BedMATCH system requires retailers to make a com-
NEW LINE: Serta’s 2016 collection of iComfort gel memory foam mattresses includes both foam and hybrid models.
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BOXED BED Online mattress stores like Yogabed can deliver a folded mattress to a consumer in a box, but many brick-and-mortar retailers can offer same-day delivery.
mitment of time and money. Kingdown offers three tiers of BedMATCH systems with equipment rental costs ranging from $100 to $175 per month for retailers. “As part of the BedMATCH system, we also offer an analytics package to the retailer that helps them better understand the demographics of their consumers, sets profile and financial goals, and shows how BedMATCH increases close rates, raises AUSP and increases profit margins,” explains Damewood. Kingsdown also offers sales staff additional training based on a sleep study conducted by the Research Triangle Institute International and Duke University. Kingsdown has also compiled research gleaned from more than 9.5 million consumers who’ve used BedMATCH and uses that data to develop new products. “Over 70% of all tested consumers are complaining of mid and lower back pain,” says Damewood. “In response to this information, Kingdown is designing a new line of diagnostic products called Back Smart that offers a fivezoned anatomically designed upholstery that will help with proper spine alignment.” Offering different types of mattresses is also important, as is having an inventory that includes some of the newest products on the market. “We are very excited to launch our all-new collection of iComfort gel memory foam mattresses in 2016, which will include both foam and hybrid models” says Andrew Gross, senior
vice-president of marketing for Serta, the largest mattress manufacturer in the U.S. Serta also recently announced that its flexible polyurethane foam, used in many of its most popular mattresses, is now certified through the CertiUR-US certification program, which means it meets rigorous standards for content, emissions, and durability. Serta is confident that today’s consumers are looking for more sustainable products throughout their homes and the certification will be meaningful. “Consumers can rest confidently, knowing that all Serta mattresses and foundations that are available for purchase in stores and online today contain flexible polyurethane foam that is certified,” says Gross. “The comfort of our customers has always been paramount and today comfort goes beyond physical properties to include feeling good about the products we bring into our homes.” Silverstein is quick to point out another advantage that storefront retailers have over their online competitors. “Retailers who offer same-day delivery can promise consumers a good night’s sleep that night,” says Silverstein. “I’ve yet to see an online retailer who can do that.” Couple that with a promise to dispose of the old mattress and retailers can make the purchase process even easier. In today’s busy world, convenience is always persuasive, he says. Another way to compete in today’s increasing connected world? Connect with your customers before they even come into the store by paying attention to your social media presence. Forrester Research points out that retailers with both a physical storefront and an online presence reported an average of 23 percent growth in 2014. By comparison, online-only retailers saw only a nine percent growth in the same year. Informative posts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a well-maintained website can help retailers showcase their inventory and offer a chance to educate and dialogue with consumers in new ways. “Serta has responded to the role of social media by driving ongoing conversations around our products and promotions, while also responding to consumers who want a one-on-one conversation with us,” says Gross. Serta, Sealy and other major mattress manufacturers have been on social media for several years and use consumer videos and stories to help educate and aid shoppers in their search. Independent retailers can mirror these same posts on their own sites to add impact and information that can drive business. Let’s face it. The Internet isn’t going away—neither are online retailers. Storefront retailers can have a competitive advantage in high-touch products like mattresses though, if they strategically think about who their consumers are and what they need. It all comes down to consumer education and customer service. When done right, storefront retailers will be happy with the results. Karen L. Hornfeck is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Greensboro, N.C. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured Manufacturers Serta | serta.com | 888.557.3782
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
Kingsdown | kingsdown.com | 800.354.5464
ANSWERS with Travis Turner
I was fortunate to be exposed to my family’s business at a very early age. My father wanted me to understand and appreciate all aspects of the business. Starting in middle school, I would work at the store and warehouse for a couple of hours doing anything from opening boxes to cleaning the showroom floor. After graduating college I had the opportunity to work with one of the nation's largest independent furniture companies to gain experience before rejoining Turner Furniture in 2003. In the Information Age, small independents have to work harder and smarter to stay competitive. Consumers have the ability to order our same product from e-commerce companies for what sometimes appears to be a better value. Where we win is with service. From having knowledgable, experienced designers to providing superior delivery services, that’s our niche. We have to get that message out that tells people we can offer the customer the opportunity to create their own room to their liking. If you go to a chain or big box store, the opportunity to find the perfect color or perfect sectional in the style you want, the chances of that become a lot less. On the other hand, we can deliver that perfect color and style—and we can probably do it in 30 days or less. That’s what we can offer that the bigger players can’t. The biggest challenge for small independents like ours relates back to the Information Age. Consumers today expect that they can visit your website and shop from the convenience of their home computer or phone. Most of our customers have already visited our website before walking into our store. The online experience has to match the quality of your in-store experience or your opportunity to gain that customer could be missed. Succession planning is key for continued growth in a family business. There has to be a plan in place to make sure the business continues for generations to come.
I enjoy hunting and fishing any chance I get. If I’m not at work, I’m with the family outside hunting, fishing, and playing.
Travis Turner Vice President, Turner Furniture Avon Park, Fla.
HOME FURNISHINGS A S S O C I ATI O N
Six Answers is a monthly profile of a Next Generation Now member. Next Gen NOW is an HFA-hosted community of young industry professionals whose mission is to give voice to the needs and goals of the industry’s next wave of leaders. Connect with members at nextgenerationnow.net or Twitter @ngnow.
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
A store’s makeover changes its bottom line, too By Martin Roberts
leaner, ers with a c m to us c e tomers welcom ssage to cus e ore front will m st e w th ne nd s y’ Rile also se d styles. d look. It will most update nd more update a st te has the la that Riley’s
iley’s Furniture and Mattress Store in Monroe, Ohio had a 30,000-squarefoot, two-story piecemeal showroom that had been remodeled and added to over the last 45 years, one area at a time, creating an inconsistent look and feel. Mattresses were tucked away in the far back upstairs corner. Furniture was arranged in brand galleries that, over time, had lost their identity making the floor look crowded and confusing. I was commissioned to create an overall vision for the store and then execute a cohesive remodel that would maximize sales and improve efficiency. That began by moving the mattress and recliner departments downstairs giving the entire first floor a relaxing, welcoming feeling. Neutral colors, tufted
Riley’s old store front before Martin Roberts Design began work greeted customers with a dated, narrow black awning entrance.
a relaxing rtment has pa de ss re tt neutral The new ma screen, and r e m im sh a h or signs. spa look wit le and vend sa g in m a re colors. No sc
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Rileyâ€™s showroom before the remodeling had furniture arranged in brand galleries rather than a similar lifestyle look.
headboards, capiz shell lamps and soft lighting created a calm, uniform look in the mattress area. Upstairs, the stationary upholstery, dining and bedroom furnishings were curated into lifestyle presentations redefining the shopping experience, making it easier for Rileyâ€™s clientele to find just what they needed. Wayfinding touch screens allow customers to move throughout the showroom floor with ease. I moved the design center to the second floor where Rileyâ€™s design team, along with other design professionals, have a full-service resource hub in which to work with customers to determine, specify, and order custom and in-stock items. The results speak for themselves. According to Rileyâ€™s, overall sales for 2015 increased 51 percent and the storeâ€™s gross margin has increased 60 percent compared to the same months in 2014 since its grand reopening last May. Mattress sales have increased 99 percent and the company has surpassed Rileyâ€™s new showroom has the furnishings arranged by lifestyle its goal of $200 per square foot in sales. Its sales staff pres entations with interactive touch screen reports that the newly remodeled space makes it much directional signs helping shoppers explore their style. easier to work with customers and customers concur, noting that the new environment is both relaxing and inspirational. With the interior renovations complete, the next phase of the revamp, which is currently underway, ine cludes an updated entrance designed to carry the new attresses, th floor with the m r st fo fir e e th ac aesthetic to the front of the building. The increased pl ing a Shar offers partment also de r revenue already generated by the interior improveine . cl up re w et ne their fe relax and put ments is funding the exterior renovations. Because customers to of their enormous success, Rileyâ€™s plans a second grand re-opening celebration for its customers upon completion of the new exterior. Named after the Ohio manufacturer, the Danielâ€™s Amish area, right, is where similar furniture is presented together showing all design options .
Martin Roberts, a retail and design veteran, has more than 40 years of design projects to his credit around the world. His company, Martin Roberts Design, includes an award-winning team of retail consultants, architects and graphic designers. Roberts can be reached at email@example.com.
The new Design 9J=9K Center >9:JA;K ;9L9DG offers consult everyth ?K ation ing to c ustomiz >AFAK@=K9F< EGJ= e selec tions. RetailerNOWmag.com
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
Top 5 reasons to come to the Canadian Furniture Show Take advantage of the exchange rate: your dollar goes
1 The Canadian Furniture Show is the only national furniture show in Canada and a must-attend event for furniture industry professionals looking for great new products! Come to Toronto from May 28 to 30, 2016 and expand your business opportunities…
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This show means business. Star speaker: David Chilton, former “Dragon” and best-selling author
Industry party, new exhibitors, awards, networking, gala, new products, trends, and more!
May 28-30, 2016 The International Centre — Toronto, Ontario canadianfurnitureshow.com
kids don't join the family business. By Wayne Rivers
ou have no doubt seen the statistic about how 70 percent of family-owned businesses fail to make it through the second-generation, and how even fewer make it beyond that. The assumption is that poor management and ownership succession planning is the culprit, and families in business together need to undertake more robust long-term planning in order to survive within the family. While poor planning is epidemic among family firms and more vigorous strategic planning would no doubt make them healthier and wealthier, there are quite a few other reasons why family businesses are not staying in the family these days. Here are 10: 1. Societal and family expectations for offspring have shifted rather dramatically resulting in a decline in the traditional extended family support system. We don’t take care of our parents and grandparents anymore when they’re old and infirm. Think of a family farm from 100 years ago; the family lived together in close proximity, worked side by side, and provided long-term care for one another. Today, families rarely live proximate to one another on the same 40 acres, and the mutually understood “contract” that children would assume responsibility for both the stewardship of the family
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business and parents’ long term care is no longer operable. 2. Patriarchal instruction from parents on career choice is a thing of the past. Parents scrupulously avoid demonstrating any pressure or expectation at all that their children will follow them into the family business—sometimes to the detriment of both generations. Admittedly, some guidance in the past was overly heavy-handed. Today’s family business parents, however, err on the side of providing little direction at all. 3. Many family businesses are in old-economy industries, and today’s young people prefer new economy or IT careers. Similarly, many family businesses are located in small towns, and potential nextgeneration successors are largely attracted to the excitement and opportunity of cities. 4. Education and career choices have exploded in availability, and successful senior generation family business parents have the means to pay for the best. Hence, there are more doctors, engineers and lawyers, and there is a sense of educational over qualification that can preclude an interest in working as a middle manager in the family business.
5. Next-generation family members are educated rather than skilled. What’s the difference? Their knowledge is well-rounded, they are fluent in a number of different areas, and their knowledge is general rather than specific. They are whitecollar rather than blue-collar, and working with one’s hands as a craftsman is considered disdainful. 6. Today’s smaller families mean there are fewer viable candidates to enter the family business. 7. Family-business parents and grandparents do a horrible job of “marketing” family business opportunities to next-generation candidates. Every night at the dinner table they grouse, “Those darn employees/customers/bankers/sisters! There’s never enough money! There’s never enough time! Woe is me!” The young people hear these daily laments and think the family business must be a horrible place to be if it creates this level of frustration and torment for their parents. 8. Senior-generation leaders believe only aggressive entrepreneurs can be successful, and they impose a “my way or the highway” system of operating the business. Successors tend to be more managerial and less risk-taking in their approach. This leads to well-documented conflict in managerial styles in family firms, and, conflict being the rule rather the exception, where’s the attraction in that? 9. As Bo Burlingham documented in his book Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top, senior generation business owners have a strong concern for the welfare of the non-family employees who helped build the company. Sometimes they even go so far as to favor non-family managers as successor leaders rather than their children. While there is nothing wrong with this meritocratic approach, it is another potential deterrent for next-generation candidates. 10. Next-generation achievers are impatient to advance their own careers and make their own marks on society. They are, therefore, unwilling to put in the necessary 25 or more years toiling in the family firm so that, upon the senior generation’s departure, they can become genuinely individuated adults making their own stamps on their family businesses and communities. In the past, family business succession occurred ever so gradually as the next generation came into the business, worked and learned there at the knees of their parents, eventually took over from them, secured the senior generation’s retirement, and inherited the business upon the parent’s demise. In today’s world, both senior and junior generations have a plethora of choices, alternatives and opportunities that in many ways serve to decrease the odds of a family business’s long-term sustainability and have little, if anything, to do with the quality of their succession plans.
Wayne Rivers is president of The Family Business Institute. He has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, and is an expert panelist for The Wall Street Journal. Email your questions to Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
My wife and I hope to retire in five years. My two daughters and son run the store with me and I’m starting to think about how to transition the store over to them. For years my son has said we need to sit down as a family and talk, but I’ve put him off. I’m ready to talk now. Where do we start?
Congratulations! In addition to all the daily hard work the five of you put in, you each now have another vitally important project on your hands. First, you and Mom have to stop behaving as doers and start teaching, encouraging, and mentoring. The five of you should meet, talk, and determine— as objectively as you can—where each of your potential successors has strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. Determine where each of them need additional training in order to be successful (hint: successor family members are almost always weak on business finance). Determine as a group how the next generation will communicate together as peer business partners—not siblings—after you and Mom aren’t around anymore to break up fights and soothe hurt feelings. Decide on specific roles and responsibilities for each of the successors. In addition, discuss how they’ll hold each other accountable; true accountability among sibling partnerships is virtually nonexistent. Inevitably, one or more feels they carry their less capable or less hard-working sibling(s).
The biggest challenge? Decision-making. Family businesses that have grown beyond the founding generation stage have immense problems when making decisions—sometimes even very minor ones. Consensus decision-making—in reality, for most family businesses this means unanimous decision-making—won’t work. They will need a concrete decision-making process that allows for full, free, and fair discussion, clear identification of problems and challenges, discussion of a range of viable solutions, and—finally—a businesslike decision supported by all. Good luck!
Have a question you'd like Wayne to answer? Send it to Wayne.email@example.com
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Words ofWisdom? Those witty sayings handed down over the years can help or hinder your business depending on how you read them. The proof’s in the pudding.
By Gerry Morris
ost of us from time to time have used proverbs, sayings, quotes, truisms, rules of thumb, and clichés as guideposts or at least as consideration to help us determine our actions. “If at first you don’t succeed…” —you know the rest. What’s “funny” about them is that even the wisest sayings often have a contradictory saying that seems perfectly plausible. How can truisms have contradictory truisms? Not sure, but they do. For example, if “nothing ventured nothing gained” is true then why are we told “better safe than sorry?” And if “actions speak louder than words” then why is “the pen mightier than the sword?” Is one false? If so, which? While some sayings can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin, Confucius, Plato, Zig Ziglar, Redd Foxx, and Mom, many are anonymous, created by “they” as in, “You know what “they” say.” So who is the mysterious “they”? I’m not sure, but over the years “they” have been a powerful voice for influencing behaviors. Many sayings are familiar to most of us and can be applied to businesses, like retail home furnishings. So let’s consider some of these words of wisdom and I’ll put in my two cents in, validating some, challenging others. “To every rule there is an exception and an idiot ready to demonstrate it. Don’t be the one!” —Vera Nazarian. Thanks, Vera, whoever you are. I guess I’m the one. Here goes: Nothing happens until something is sold. Sorry, not true. A lot happens to bring finished products to the marketplace. Think about all that goes into manufacturing, advertising, and merchandising. OK, stop. Your head will explode. But, it is true that every penny generated for retailers and their manufacturers comes from the interaction of one RSA and one shopper at a time when the shopper chooses to buy. If you build it, they will come. No, they won’t come if they don’t know about it. Retailers must find new ways to get their
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messages out. I was amazed to find out that Adams Furniture, one of my retailer friends in East Texas, was doing more business than ever by focusing all their advertising on Facebook. Who’d have thunk it? The squeaky wheel gets the grease. While this may be true, it isn’t fair. Rude shoppers who get better deals than polite ones, and customers with warranty or return issues who won’t take no for an answer and get what they want, erode retailers’ credibility. Principlebased policy and procedures are the best bet. The customer is always right. Wrong. While similar to the above adage, rude customers can run roughshod over customer service reps. I’ve seen many mattress customers return beds with no defects. Holding firm to your principles pays off in the long run. Don’t fix what ain’t broken. Oh yeah, that certainly hasn’t stopped people from trying. I’ve seen lots of successful companies fail by trying to reinvent the wheel. Think about Coke changing its formula, JC Penney’s everyday low pricing; Jack in the Box getting rid of Jack; Heilig-Meyers upscaling Rhodes; Foley’s throwing away 50 years of Sanger Harris’ brand building. Changing names is a mistake department stores repeat over and over again. RB Furniture and others centralized purchasing and lost touch with regional market differences. These are blueprints that we’ve seen companies use to their demise. But as times change, some successful things do need fixing. Just ask Kodak and Polaroid, Jiffy Pop, Pontiac, Blockbuster, Montgomery Ward, Woolworth’s, Levitz, and Atari. “That’s just how we’ve always done it.” Retailers must be vigilant walking the fine line of keeping with tradition while adapting to change when necessary. “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.” Great quote Clement Stone, but I say RSAs must understand and adapt to the attitude of their shoppers, especially mattress shoppers versus furniture shoppers. These are two entirely different motivations requiring two entirely different sales approaches. Mattress shoppers are on “bang for the buck” missions.
So which is it? You’re never too old to learn. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Even top veterans make learning a top priority. I’m always amazed by the people who attend my seminars who could teach me more than I could ever possibly teach them. I always ask the companies that hire me for sales training, “What do you need me for, it seems like you’re doing everything right!” But it’s those companies that recognize that improvement is a never-ending quest. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight out of mind. Rest assured, if you’re out of sight your customers will be shopping at your competitors. Retailers must stay top of mind with their customers and shoppers. SEO, social media, and loyalty programs are just a few areas retailers must use in today’s new marketplace. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Nice guys finish last. Only one way to go here. Honesty, integrity, principle-based policies and procedures. Reputation and credibility are a retailer’s best assets for attracting quality customers and employees. The best things in life are free. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s no such thing as free delivery, free layaway or anything else free in retail sales, but, as the owner of business, I suspect you already know this. Everything has a cost that has to be accounted for in your home furnishings store. “Swing the door” marketing can certainly lure shoppers to come visit your store but at what cost to you and your bottom line? Unfortunately that
type of marketing too often comes in the form of lost profit and lost credibility. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Clothes make the man? Actually, in this case, both are correct. As it pertains to RSAs, clothes do make the man or woman. First impressions do count when shoppers enter your stores. “The devil is in the details.” But RSAs can’t judge the book by the cover. Everyone that enters your store should be treated the same. We’ve all heard the story of the hayseed in overalls carrying enough cash to buy the store. Finally, often there is value that can be found in witty words and phrases. J. Ray Weir, founder of Weir’s Furniture Village (1948) always said, “The two most important things people can buy are a good pair of shoes and a good mattress. You walk in the shoes all day and sleep in the bed all night.” To this day, these words have guided Weir’s to have one of the best mattress departments in the industry. Do you have any sayings that guide your decisions and actions? They can be a helpful tool, a hindrance or just a source of amusement. Careful consideration and application is what can make the difference. “Sleep well and help others do the same.”—Gerry Morris Gerry Morris has more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry. In partnership with The Furniture Training Co., he offers a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” To view the course, visit furnituretrainingcompany.com.
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Is your store in need of an Uber moment? Think the unthinkable to spark transformation in your business. By Marty Grosse
y wife and I attended an Irish heritage festival on a recent trip to Chicago for some beer, food and fun. Prudently we grabbed a taxi at the hotel and soon arrived, paid a $35 fare and noted the phone number for a return ride. After an evening of frivolity and fortified with beer, I called and received the “it could take an hour” message. Earlier in our trip we had talked about someday trying the Uber ride sharing service. Now with a familiar spousal nudge and my own impatience in waiting an hour, I downloaded the app, requested a ride, and waited to see what would happen.
Within seconds, a late model Toyota came rolling down the street and a driver shouted my name. Yep, the Uber driver was there in less than a minute, scooped us up and promptly dropped us back to the hotel in less than ten minutes. The fare was $12 with no tip required. No muss and no fuss. Suddenly my world had changed. I smelled the Uber coffee. I call it my Uber moment. It hit me that Uber was using innovation to fill customers’ needs while doing it in an efficient way and at a reasonable price. Uber is disrupting the traditional taxi cab business and my Uber moment made me an instant convert.
INNOVATION DISRUPTED: 3 IDEAS TO INSPIRE TRANSFORMATION TAILORED FINANCING
Ask your finance company how many customers pay off long before their 3-, 4-, 5- and even 6-year no-interest promotion. The data may surprise you. If Starbucks and Burger King can make your coffee and burger the way you want it, why can’t we have financing programs that are tailored to each customer’s needs? Wouldn’t it be nice to save on your financing costs while treating each customer in a special way?
No, we’re not talking about the standard house call and sketching of a room. Mortgage companies and even car dealers will bring their business to the customer. More and more customers are pressed for time to shop and more importantly the shopping experience with sales people is viewed as unpleasant. How about a process that gives the consumer the ability to preshop, pre-select, and pre-determine their needs to shorten the time spent at the store?
Everybody loves loyalty plans. Just ask the airlines, rental car companies, and your favorite restaurant, they understand the value in getting the customer to return again and again to purchase. You’ve written your mission statement to ensure a customer’s happiness and satisfaction. Isn’t it time to give the satisfied customer incentives to come back to your furniture store instead of all those new channels of distribution springing up all the time?
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Is it possible to have something like Uber in the retail furniture world? The essence of the Uber moment is innovation. How do you innovate your business to turn your customers into a “your furniture store” convert. Can you create Uber moments in your operation? Some of my naysayer furniture friends have told me that I am talking apples and oranges. Uber is technology, furniture is a different animal. I argue that furniture stores have been innovating and creating Uber moments for customers long before Uber was a glint in the eye of the founder. Note these industry innovators that disrupted or are currently disrupting traditional furniture retailing. •
Heilig-Meyers started by selling furniture from the back of a truck and setting up convenient payment programs. That was revolutionary at the time.
Remember the progressive furniture retailer Levitz Furniture that set up warehouse showrooms where you could see it, buy it, and take it home the same day? They even had customers enter the store through that mind boggling cleanas-a-whistle warehouse.
Who wants a room package? Rooms to Go pioneered professionally decorated and packaged room settings that made shopping and decorating easy.
Need or want it now? A fleet of pickup trucks on call at Gallery Furniture changed the furniture world into same-day delivery.
Have you seen the electronic price tags at the Nebraska Furniture Mart in Dallas that update pricing based on nationwide competitor shopping processes? Too cool. Regardless the size of your business, Uber moments are available in every current process in your store. A key to innovation is studying your customers and their needs, studying your competitors, studying your own operation and finding ways to be faster, better and more economical. All of this is designed to give your customer those Uber moments. The aforementioned furniture industry innovations were not the result of just wanting to be different but evolved as a result of unfilled needs in the market place. What are your customers’ unfilled needs and how do you innovate your efforts? Is it simply a matter of copying what others are doing? Even today Uber has multiple competitors offering similar services. Creating Uber moments for your customer may simply be doing what you currently do, just better, faster and for less. Customers today are increasingly expecting faster service and better in-store experiences. How do you innovate to speed up the shopping and selling process in your store? Could you innovate your merchandise layout to show a broader assortment and additional options? Is there a better way for consumers to go through the financing process? How can your customers take delivery faster and with fewer customer service issues? Are you looking outside of the furniture industry to see what other industries are doing to innovate? Have you asked suppliers to innovate processes that support what you want to achieve? The opportunities to innovate and create Uber moments go on and on. This retail world is spinning fast and seems to be speeding up. Online retailers are chipping away at brick-and-mortar and the distribution channels for furniture and home furnishings have grown dramatically over the last ten years. Change is inevitable and innovation is nothing more than changing with customers’ needs. Create Uber moments for shoppers in your store. Now as a self-proclaimed Uber professional, I use the service regularly. Every time I still have my Uber moment and often tell others about my great experiences. Find ways to create Uber moments in your store and your customers will talk about you too. So, what are you waiting for? Download that app and have your own Uber moment. It might just drive you and your store to places you have never been before.
Marty Grosse is an industry veteran having held executive positions across six top-tier furniture retailers. His website, Furniche.com provides furniture shoppers real, relevant and timely shopping advice while researching local furniture stores and manufacturer information. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Employment Policies Clean Up Your Compliance Act By Kaprice Crawford
he start of the New Year is the perfect time for employers big and small to review and update their employment policies. New regulations often go into effect in January. After you’ve confirmed your company’s compliance with new legal requirements, it makes good business sense to audit other employment policies and procedures at the same time. Make it your company’s first quarter resolution to take a look at the following three issues:
1. Review Your Employee Handbook An employee handbook should be filled with useful information that all employees need to know about their workplace such as compensation, benefits, rights, rules, and procedures. But even if an experienced employment lawyer drafted your handbook, don’t assume all is well. When was the last time someone reviewed it? A compliance trap that catches many employers off guard is the failure to regularly update their employee handbooks to reflect changes in the law or new policies that result from a merger or reorganization. If your handbook doesn’t include the new laws or if you haven’t taken a comprehensive look at your employment policies in more than a year, now is the time to sit down with your human resources department and HFA’s HR Employment Consultant, American Consulting group, for a review. Don’t get caught with a handbook that lacks critical policies or holds employees to standards that no longer apply to the workplace.
2. Protect Personal Information Where does your company keep its personnel files? What information do they contain? Who has access to the files? Is personnel data kept in electronic form encrypted and password-protected? How does your company maintain employees’ medical or health information, if it has it at all? How do you ensure that your employees’ sensitive information is not viewed, used, or even stolen by unauthorized users? If you answered these questions by consulting your company’s carefully-drafted, attorney-reviewed, file security policy, good for you. If instead you’re envisioning your office’s high-traffic, unsecured, human resources office with file cabinets and files in plain sight and accessible to anyone who walks through the door, or if you don’t know how your company keeps its files secure, keep reading. 38
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It’s time to draft a file security policy. With identity theft constantly on the rise and many companies moving their records to electronic form, it’s essential to have a plan in place to keep confidential personnel information safe. Not only does it make good business sense, but in some cases, it’s the law. Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) requires employers to maintain employees’ health information (if they have it) in a secure area separate from other personnel information. Many states have laws that further protect employee information, including what may be maintained in a personnel file, who may review it, and when and how an employee may access the information in their file. Retailers need to know that any violation of such a law can carry strict penalties. Don’t wait until your company suffers a security breach to prioritize the security of your employees’ personal information. It just makes good business sense.
3. Update Workplace Postings We’ve all seen them in the break room—those big posters announcing various employment rights such as minimum wage, equal employment opportunity, or job safety. Most employers know they are required by law, but simply posting them is not enough. Like employee handbooks, workplace postings need to be reviewed and updated on a yearly basis. Small businesses have different posting requirements than larger companies and it’s important to make sure your workplace postings are accurate and compliant. If you’re a small business without a large human resources department, it can be easy for a regular “poster review” to get overlooked. HFA offers an All-In-One State and Federal Labor Law Poster to make staying updated easier; it’s $39.95 and it comes with a 12-month update program if any law changes. Home Furnishings Association member benefits can help keep you compliant in 2016 and beyond. Contact, Kaprice Crawford, HFA membership director for more information on the free HR consulting service, employee handbook review service, or the labor law posters available.
Kaprice Crawford is HFA’s membership director and can help HFA members with any questions or problems they encounter in their jobs. Contact Kaprice at 800-422-3778 or email@example.com.
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State & Federal Labor Law Posters • Features ALL federal and state labor laws on one compact 38” x 24” poster. • FREE automatic compliance subscription service for 12 months from date of purchase. • Receive easily afﬁxed panel updates each and every time a state or federal change occurs. • Registered with the Library of Congress to help prevent ﬁnes. • Poster serial number registered verifying you are in compliance. • Printed on both sides and can be displayed either horizontally or vertically.
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Don’t Get Blindsided by ADA Compliance Issues By Lisa Casinger
nstances of retailers in our industry receiving demand letters from law firms alleging the companies’ websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities are on the rise. Within these letters, the same law firms graciously offer their services (for a fee of course) to bring the retailers’ websites into compliance. This has been an issue of growing concern since 2008 when Target settled a $6 million class action lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind because its website wasn’t accessible to blind consumers. There have been other settlements in this area as well involving the Department of Justice and other online retailers (Peapod.com in 2014). NFB’s key issues in the Target suit were: the lack of alternative text on the site; online purchases couldn’t be completed without using a mouse; image maps showing store locations were inaccessible; and many headings needed for site navigation were missing. Last year, the National Association of the Deaf filed lawsuits against Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology claiming the schools don’t caption all of the course content they make available online (like lectures) and some content relies on automatic captions that are either unintelligible or non-existent. Recently the DOJ ordered Carnival Corp. to make its website more accessible to people with disabilities as part of its investigation into the company’s overall ADA compliance. While there are currently no federally mandated regulations/standards that businesses can use as guidance in making their websites accessible to people with disabilities, the DOJ has officially endorsed guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium (a third party group that’s developed standards). The WWWC has in turn codified the Section 508 standards of the Rehabilitation Act from the U.S. Accessibility Board (a federal agency that promotes
equality for people with disabilities). In 2010 the DOJ announced it was revising the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (which gives comprehensive civil rights protection to people with disabilities). Title III of the Act covers access to businesses—in 1990 that was brick-and-mortar stores. Online stores weren’t even on the radar. The DOJ has delayed its own deadline for those revisions many times; the new deadline is sometime this year. The lack of government regulations is troubling as it leaves businesses unsure of exactly what standards they will be held to, however, the legal cases have given the industry a road map of best practices that should, in most cases, protect you from litigation. The Home Furnishings Association has compiled a checklist and suggestions here and we’re hosting a webinar on ADA compliance for websites this month. We further recommend discussing this issue and its ramifications with your webmaster and
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attorney, especially if you receive a demand letter. Because this area of law is quickly evolving, and the standards for compliance are complex, we suggest you seek counsel to determine your immediate obligations and options. Typically accessibility problems come from certain website features being incompatible with devices a person with a disability requires. Those devices include things like screen reader and voice interactive software and Braille output devices. Poor (or no) closed captioning is another problem as is requiring a disabled person to take an extra step to purchase a product or service (like having to call if they need assistance). You have to decide if you want to offer an accessible website even though compliance isn’t mandatory yet. Compliance may be expensive (because it not only includes new pages but all existing/archived web pages) but you may be losing business from people with visual or hearing impairments without even knowing it. Another consideration is
not all web designers are familiar with the standards and if those standards do become mandatory you’ll be one among thousands vying for those services. If you have job postings or other employee or employmentrelated information on your site you may already have obligations of accessibility for purposes of applying for jobs.
Make an informed decision. Lisa Casinger is RetailerNOW’s editorial director and HFA’s government relations liaison. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-784-7677.
ADA Compliance Checklist From the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
• Every image, video file, audio file, plug-in, etc. has an alt tag. • Complex graphics are accompanied by detailed text descriptions. • The alt descriptions describe the purpose of the objects. • If an image is also used as a link, make sure the alt tag describes the graphic and the link destination. • Decorative graphics with no other function have empty alt descriptions (alt= “”). • Add captions to videos. • Add audio descriptions. • Create text transcript. • Create a link to the video rather than embedding it into web pages. • Add a link to the media player download. • Add an additional link to the text transcript. • The page should provide alternative links to the image map. • The <area> tags must contain an alt attribute.
• Tables used strictly for layout purposes do NOT have header rows or columns. • Table cells are associated with the appropriate headers (e.g. with the ID, headers, scope, and/or axis HTML attributes). • Make sure the page does not contain repeatedly flashing images. • Make sure the page does not contain a strobe effect. • A link is provided to a disabilityaccessible page where the plug-in can be downloaded. • All Java applets, scripts, and plug-ins (including Acrobat PDF files, PowerPoint files, etc.) and the content within them are accessible to assistive technologies, or else an alternative means of accessing equivalent content is provided. • When form controls are text input fields use the LABEL element. • When text is not available use the title attribute. • Include any special instructions within field labels.
• Make sure that form fields are in a • Data tables have the column and row logical tab order. headers appropriately identified (us• Include a “Skip Navigation” button ing the <th> tag). to help those using text readers.
Someone else were as passionate about your business as you are?
Your Success is our Business.
HFA will host a webinar
Website Accessibility and Usability: A Compliance Update February 18, 2016 — 11 a.m.-noon PT. Visit NAHFA.org/events for more information. RetailerNOWmag.com
nahfa.org | 800.422.3778 43
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HFA@MARKET Las Vegas Market HFA Highlights Hundreds of Home Furnishings Association members attending the Las Vegas market in January carved out time to take advantage of the seminars, networking, and vendor specials available to them at the HFA’s Retailer Resource Center.
The HFA’s RRC was packed with celebrities—including MicroD’s Jesse Akre.
Best Buy’s Kurt Althaus, left, shows retailer Victor Manuelle of Fiesta Furniture one of his company’s high-definition screens at the RRC.
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Retailers Lenny Kharitonov of Emma Mason, left, Joey Gunn of Knight Furniture, Jennifer Sova of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association, and retailers Jeff Kaser and Mike Barcenas of Emma Mason relax at the HFA-sponsored Next Generation Now party.
Incoming HFA president Jeff Child of RC Willey tells the board of directors one of his top goals for 2016 is to spread HFA’s message to every facet of the industry.
Outgoing HFA president Marty Cramer of Cramer’s Home Furnishings passes the gavel to RC Willey’s Jeff Child, his successor, at the Association’s Las Vegas board of director’s meeting.
HFA members Stan Pickett of Quality Furniture & Appliance and Knight Furniture’s David Gunn share a moment after an RRC seminar. The HFA holds more than a dozen educational seminars at the Las Vegas and High Point markets.
HFA membership specialist Jana Sutherland explains some of the many member benefits to a retailer.
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HFACOMMUNITY HFA Names 2016 ROTY Nominees The Home Furnishings Association is proud to announce the nominees for the 2016 Retailer of the Year awards. The ROTY awards recognize the excellence and outstanding achievements of home furnishings retailers across North America.
OVER $10 MILLION
UNDER $10 MILLION
IN AVERAGE ANNUAL SALES
IN AVERAGE ANNUAL SALES
American Furniture Warehouse, Englewood, CO
Del Sol Furniture, Phoenix, AZ
Sandra & Ronnie Skinner
Furniture Zone DBA Ashley HomeStore, Killeen, TX
Flamingo Furniture Corp., Brooklyn, NY
Alexandra & Codrin Coroama
C.S. Wo & Sons, Honolulu, HI
Furniture Divano, San Diego, CA
The Tubman/Burns Family
Dianne W. Ray
Circle Furniture, Acton, MA
Garden City Furniture, Garden City, SC
Greg, Beth, & Laura Crowley
Crowley Furniture, Lee’s Summit, MO
Garrison’s Furniture, Central Point, OR
Dunk & Bright, Syracuse, NY
Great American Home Furnishings, Bend, OR
Jamie & Jeff Winters
David & Joey Gunn
Furniture Mall of Kansas, Olathe, KS
Knight Furniture, Sherman, TX
Gorman’s, Southfield, MI
Reeds Furniture, Agoura Hills, CA
Fred, Josh, & Adam Hudson
Hudson’s Furniture, Sanford, FL
Saundra’s Furniture and Design, Colville, WA
Interiors!, Lancaster, PA
The Futon Shop, San Francisco, CA
Scott Larrabee Larrabee’s Furniture + Design, Littleton, CO
Kevin Rife Rife’s Home Furniture, Eugene, OR
Steve & Richard Rotman Rotman’s Furniture, Worcester, MA
Marc Schewel Schewels, Lynchburg, VA
Dale Emmert Simpson Furniture, Cedar Falls, IA
Winners will be announced in April and celebrated at the Retailer of the Year Awards Gala at the
Home Furnishings Networking Conference in Long Beach, CA
May 22-24, 2016 Do you have something for the HFA Community? Send your information and hi-res photos to Robert Bell, email@example.com. 44
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Welcome New HFA Members The HFA recognizes and welcomes the following new members:
Buddy Beyer Beyers Furniture, Lapeer, MI
Sandeep Gupta Carolina Furniture Concepts, Arden, NC
Darrell Erdos Speedy Furniture Corp., Butler, PA
Jamie Winter Furniture Mall of Kansas, Topeka, KS
David Sherdil Omega Floors & Carpet Inc., Danville, CA
Brian Gaines Wall 2 Wall Furniture & Mattress, Walla Walla, WA
ASSOCIATE MEMBER David Bugbee Codarus LLC, Dallas, TX
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INDUSTRYCALENDAR 2016 Tupelo Furniture Market February 25-28 Tupelo, Mississippi tupelofurnituremarket.com
Spring High Point Market April 16-20 High Point, North Carolina highpointmarket.org
International Contemporary Furniture Fair May 14-17 New York City, New York icff.com
Casual Market Chicago
June 5-6 High Point, North Carolina showtime-market.com
September 20-23 Chicago, Illinois casualmarket.com
Dallas International Lighting Market
Fall High Point Market
June 22-25 Dallas, Texas dallasmarketcenter.com
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market 2017 June 22-28 Dallas, Texas dallasmarketcenter.com
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market
Home Furnishings Networking Conference May 22-24 Long Beach, California thehfnc.com
July 12-19 Atlanta, Georgia americasmart.com
Atlanta International Area Rug Market
May 25-26 Louisville, Kentucky
July 13-16 Atlanta, Georgia americasmart.com
Summer Las Vegas Market
Canadian Furniture Show
July 31-August 4 Las Vegas, Nevada lasvegasmarket.com
Louisville Furniture Market
May 28-30 Toronto, Ontario, Canada canadianfurnitureshow.com
October 22-26 High Point, North Carolina highpointmarket.org
January 10-17 Atlanta, Georgia americasmart.com
Atlanta International Area Rug Market January 11-14 Atlanta Americasmart.com
Winter Las Vegas Market January 22-26 Las Vegas Lasvegasmarket.com
Tupelo Fall Furniture Market August 18-21 Tupelo, Mississippi tupelofurnituremarket.com
HFA-hosted events are highlighted in red.
ADINDEX Canadian Furniture Show (866) 468-4436 canadianfurnitureshow.com CanadianFurnitureShow @CdnFurnShow Page 30-31
High Point Market (336) 869-1000 highpointmarket.org http://tinyurl.com/ HighPtMarket @hpmarketnews Page 3
Connie Post (304) 736-7283 conniepost.com Page 37
Inwood Furniture (973) 564-4444 inwoodfurniture.net Page 45
Furniture Wizard (619) 869-7200 furniturewizard.com furniturewizard @furniturewiz Page 9
Myriad (800) 676-4243 myriadsoftware.com Myriad Page 35
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
NAHFA Products (800) 422-3778 nahfa.org NAHFA @NAHFA Inside Back Cover
STORIS (888) 4-STORIS storis.com STORIS.solutions @STORIS Page 5
Northwest Furniture Xpress (828) 475-6377 nwfxpress.com Back Cover
Surya (877) 275-7847 surya.com SuryaSocial @SuryaSocial Inside Cover
ProfitSystems (800) 888-5565 profitsystems.com PROFITsystems @PROFITsystems Page 7
TEMPOE 844-TODAY4U tempoe.com TEMPOEsocial @tempoe Page 15
Tidewater (800) 535-4087 x6553 tidewaterfinance.com Tidewater Finance Company @TidewaterMotor Page 13
To advertise in RetailerNow, contact Lynn Orr at (916) 757-1160.
NOWLIST Judging a "BOOK" by its Cushion The Invisible Design Project, created by Rodrigo Brenner, founder of the Brazilian Furf Design Studio, features products designed by visually impaired students—like BOOK, designed by Kleyton Maçaneiro. This chair was inspired by a swing and earned its name ďĞĐĂƵƐĞŽĨƚŚĞƐŚĂƉĞŽĨŝƚƐƐŝůŚŽƵĞƩĞ͘ Source: Furf.com
London-based designer Angela Mathis turns shredded paper bills into ĂŶƵƉŚŽůƐƚĞƌǇƚĞǆƟůĞ͘ VALUE is a series of stools that contain a combo of currencies (American dollar, English pound, Indonesian rupees, and the Euro).
The Value of a Buck
Designer Ninna Helena Olsen’s origami-like sculptural chair is called Power’Nap.
Without a Trace The chair is made of 1.5 mm steel plates and white spray paint with padding. Source: Ninnahelena.dk
By the end of this year, the number of contact-less payments since 2014 are expected to grow by 100%, and the number of consumers using mobile tech will reach 200 million. Source: Juniper Research
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
THE WAY WE WERE
hat’s a Harvester International truck my grandfather bought for our store sometime in the 1950s. We moved out of downtown and into the suburbs as Erie kept growing. That’s our original store. It’s a parking garage now. Eventually my dad took over the business, and my brother and I bought him out in 2001. Our trucks changed over the years but we still kept them black with the small Old English type. You would think black trucks would hide all the dirt, but they were always looking bad. We’ve gone from one to seven trucks over the years and they’re gray now, which means they hide the dirt a little better. But, man, the maintenance bills… John Schultz, Owner John V. Schultz Furniture, Erie, Pennsylvania
Share your old photograph and memory by contacting Robert Bell at 916.757.1169 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FEBRUARY/MARCH | 2016
Warehouse & Operations Products for the Furniture Industry Order today from our extensive product offering. We’re sure you’ll ﬁnd just what you’re looking for to help your business and boost your level of customer service.
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