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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

The Publication of the Home Furnishings Association

An Original Idea Local art moves from the

gallery to the furniture store

HFA member Carol Johnson — Johnson Furniture Co., New Braunfels, Texas


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TAKEAWAYS 1 2 3 4 5

Selling local art. 10 Purpose-driven sales meetings. 28 Expanding the family business. 30 Pad gross margins. 32 Establish job descriptions. 38

10 WHAT’S INSIDE 2. 4. 14. 18. 22. 26. 30. 36. 38. 42. 44.

HFA President’s Letter Editor’s Letter Member Profile: Lisa Keyes and Naturwood Product Focus: Made-in-America Market Trends: High Point and Casual Market Take 2: Brown Squirrel Family Matters: Growing Your Family Business HFA@Market: Highlights from High Point Market Member Benefit: Job Descriptions Manual Government Action: New Formaldehyde Rule HFA Community

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DEPARTMENTS Cover Story 10. Selling local art (and your story)

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Operations 28. Meaningful Meetings 32. Pricing for Profits 34. Road Warrior: Shop Your Competition

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President Jeff Child RC Willey President-Elect Steve Kidder Vermont Furniture Galleries

Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Sheely Sheely’s Furniture Chairman Marty Cramer Cramer’s Home Furnishings

Jeff Child

Executive Staff

—Alfred de Musset

What are you waiting for? Get involved in your HFA!

Vice President Jim Fee Stoney Creek Furniture

HFA President

Sharron Bradley Chief Executive Officer sbradley@myhfa.org Mary Frye Executive Vice President mfrye@myhfa.org Membership Staff Jana Sutherland Membership Team Leader jsutherland@myhfa.org Jordan Boyst jboyst@myhfa.org Sherry Hansen shansen@myhfa.org Michael Hill mhill@myhfa.org Dianne Therry dtherry@myhfa.org Kaprice Crawford Director of Education kcrawford@myhfa.org Please call 800.422.3778 for membership inquires.

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s the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. This is my last letter to you. My term as the president of the Home Furnishings Association concludes at the end of this year. Having worked in this association and the NHFA for almost 20 years, I’ve learned how important it is to have an association that’s working for the benefit of all the retailers in our industry. Often the work goes unnoticed but not only does it impact the 1,400 retailers who are members of our association, the HFA works to make our whole industry more viable. This year was no exception. We had a wonderful annual conference in Long Beach, Ca. I’m sure everyone who attended learned something that improved their businesses—I know I did. We implemented our new buying program that will be a big advantage to retailers of all sizes, and our members lobbied in Washington D.C. on a range of pressing issues. It was a busy year. I would like to thank the board for their direction. We have a wonderful board of some 30 individuals from all aspects of our industry; we have large and small retailers, manufacturers, and service providers. It’s a healthy cross section of the furniture industry, and they all want to do the right thing for our members. I would also like to thank Sharron Bradley and her dedicated team in California, Texas and North Carolina. They do an incredible job in membership, marketing, lobbying, finding services and just keeping things rolling along. It’s a challenging time for associations, but Sharron is keeping us relevant; it has been an honor working with her and her staff. I’m optimistic about the future of both our association and our industry. The board is looking at all aspects of our association. Just as we saw changes this past year, we’ll continue to see more changes as our industry evolves. Steve Kidder, our incoming president, is just the person to move this association forward. He is dedicated, smart and has a great sense of humor. The future looks bright! Lastly, I would just say to those members who haven’t gotten involved in the association to consider doing just that. I can honestly say, one of the highlights of my career is getting to know and develop friendships with fellow retailers across the country. We have wonderful people in this industry and getting to know them is a treat. If you don’t get involved you’re missing out on a tremendous experience. It’s been an honor to work with and for all of you. Keep up the good work.

Jeff Child

jeff.child@rcwilley.com 2

The return makes one love the farewell.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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AUGUST | 2016

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What people say behind your back is your standing in the community in which you live.

RETAILERNOW STAFF Dan McCann Publisher dmcann@myhfa.org

—Edgar Watson Howe

Mattresses as a fundraiser? Why not? And why not you?

Lisa Casinger Editorial Director lcasinger@myhfa.org Robert Bell Editor rbell@myhfa.org Tim Timmons Art Director ttimmons@myhfa.org Lynn Orr Advertising Sales Lorr@myhfa.org

Robert Bell

Cassie Wardlow Digital Marketing Coordinator cwardlow@myhfa.org

Editor, RetailerNOW

Jordan Boyst Copy Editor jboyst@myhfa.org RETAIL ADVISORY TEAM Carol Bell Contents Interiors Tucson, Ariz. Dick Andrews Dick’s Furniture Abilene, Texas Andrew Tepperman Tepperman’s Windsor, Ontario This Month’s Contributors

Pat Bowling, Ginny Gaylor, David McMahon, Gerry Morris, Connie Post, Wayne Rivers, and Jonathan Schulman Contact Us RetailerNOW 3910 Tinsley Dr., Suite 101 High Point, NC 27265 800.422.3778

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n a recent Saturday morning, I took my son to a baseball game and came thisclose to buying a mattress. Let me explain: The high school where my son’s team was playing was holding a fundraiser for the school’s ROTC program. Remember when schools sold popcorn or wrapping paper to raise money? That is sooooo 2006. These days they’re selling mattresses. That’s right: mattresses. Southerland, Simmons, Beautyrest, Restonic. We’re talking comfort gel, adjustable—you name it. Custom Fundraising Solutions was handling the sale at the school I dropped by. Clint Stovall says his sales crew can help a high school raise $10,000 on a Saturday just by selling mattresses. “Think about it,” Stovall told me, “a lot of fundraisers these days ask parents to buy something like popcorn or wrapping paper or something else they don’t need at a huge premium. Here, they’re buying a mattress—something they need—and they’re getting it for less than they would at a store. That’s a win-win for everybody.” Stovall says his company does not have any advertising (that’s left to the schools) or building expenses (product is ordered direct from the manufacturers). Those savings are passed on to customers. A few weeks ago, Stovall said Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., sold 36 mattresses on a Saturday. Ask yourself this: When’s the last time your home furnishings store sold 36 mattresses in a week? A month? Now ask yourself this: What’s stopping you from partnering with your local high schools? Your local animal shelter? Your local youth baseball group? Don’t you think shoppers are more likely to buy a mattress (or sofa, or recliner) from you rather than someone else if they know their child’s school will earn part of the proceeds? Besides being a nice way to give back to your community, it’s another story for your store to share about itself. I wonder what other opportunities are out there?

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.

Robert Bell

rbell@myhfa.org

POSTMASTER: Address changes to: RetailerNOW, NAHFA, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville CA 95678. If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to RetailerNOW@myhfa.org.

© 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.

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RETAILER2.0 Move over, desktop

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Google’s latest search index will start focusing on your mobile device In an unprecedented move for the company, Google announced at digital marketing conference Pubcon in early October that it’s going to deploy a mobile-first search index, a change that’s expected to take place in the coming months. The new mobile index will be the primary index the search engine uses to respond to queries. Google will still offer a desktop search index, but that version won’t be updated as frequently as its mobile counterpart. This means your business will need to move beyond just mobile-friendly to keep up with your mobile-first customers. Although the desktop index will remain in place, results will not be as fresh or as relevant and up-to-date as the mobile index. Online product search plays a powerful role in retail, but search is struggling to keep up with the rate of consumer migration from desktop to mobile. According to a new study by omni-channel personalization company RichRelevance, search is still the primary way consumers navigate—not just to your store’s site, but once they’re on your site. Thirty-five percent of American shoppers surveyed said they are dissatisfied with search results they receive on their mobile device. Thirty-eight percent complained they receive worse search results when shopping on mobile versus desktop. There are still lots of questions Google needs to answer head on. What will the less-fresh desktop experience look like in practice? Will the mobile index be completely sepa-

rate of desktop searches? How outdated will the desktop index be? In the meantime, we can infer a few preparation tips from the information provided: • Mobile-only m. sites will be impacted most, and you should consider one responsive website solution instead. • Third-party mobile-optimized sites created by “scraping” desktop sites for minimal content to display on mobile will probably do very poorly in a mobile-first situation, since those sites are stripped of most elements that signal relevancy and quality (i.e. content, images, bread crumbs). • Even sites using responsive design will have to consider which elements they’re eliminating on mobile, such as bread crumbs, in order to balance ranking signals with design.

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Howard Haimsohn Lawrance Furniture San Diego, Calif.

Dave Cavitt

Furniture Enterprise of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska

Kirk Casemore

In addition to High Point and Las Vegas markets, I attend the Milan market annually. This furniture show is held just once a year allowing the manufacturers to spend quality time creating a beautiful new collection. There is far more anticipation and excitement in a show of this caliber held but once a year.

We go to Las Vegas and High Point. We also go to mattress manufacturers’ open houses. That’s about it for us. Long ago we shopped markets in Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas and Atlanta but some of those are gone. We did shop Tupelo a few times.

We attend the High Point markets in the fall and the spring. We’ve always felt it was the best market for us. Bassett is always open for pre-market, so one of us tries to attend that at least once a year.

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WHY I CHOSE HFA

There’s so much out there that’s available to help me, through the HFA. The networking, the learning from others, the training the association offers are things you can’t put a price on. Just getting access to so many other people, and the knowledge and experience they have, made joining the association a no-brainer. Cynthia Heathcoe, Owner Contemporary Living, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. — Member since 2014 —

WE MAKE CONNECTIONS HAPPEN! HFA peer-to-peer networking can make a world of difference in your success. Give us a call to learn other ways we can improve how you do business.

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Would you like an original with that sofa?

These days the furniture might be from Asia, but the painting above it is from down the street. More retailers are selling wall décor, sculptures and other pieces of art from local artists. By Robert Bell

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HEN IT CAME TIME TO BUY A sectional sofa, Michelle Taylor didn’t take any chances. The Ashley piece sitting in her living room is a muted brown she unblushingly acknowledges you’re likely to find in any home furnishings store in any town.

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But when it came time to decorate her living room walls, Taylor was a little more selective. She stumbled across a local artist whose southwest paintings she admired for more than a year. She bought two of his paintings—both framed and double-matted under glass—to complete her makeover. “I wanted something different, something that would stand out and not make the room look like

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my neighbor’s house across the street.” Now here’s the rub: That conventional Ashley sofa and those one-of-a-kind paintings came from the same store—HFA member American Furniture Warehouse in Glendale, Ariz. Taylor’s investment in local art—wall décor in industry parlance—mirrors a small, but growing trend by consumers wanting art that not only complements their furniture purchase, but also stands out from all those mass-produced autumnal landscapes, sun-splashed beaches and still lifes keyed to whatever the on-trend upholstery is at the moment. Many home furnishings retailers are more than happy to capture that sale while offering yet another story to their brand’s identity. American Furniture Warehouse was one of the first retailers to exhibit local artists in its stores. West End, a division of Williams Sonoma, has been hosting “Pop Up” sales for local artists for years. But the strategy isn’t limited to Top 100 companies. HFA member Carol Johnson has been selling local artists’ work off Johnson Furniture Co.’s 80-year-old walls in New Braunfels, Texas, for years. “First and foremost, I think the local art we sell is beautiful and unique,” Johnson says. “It’s a good business decision because it’s setting us apart from the big boxes who just can’t or don’t have the interest to market local artists.”

ART DEALER Carol Johnson of Johnson Furniture finds success selling originals from local artists in her New Braunfels, Texas store. She says the local art stands out from the commercial art that is mass produced.

Johnson’s 9,000-square-foot building includes a raised ceiling, which only increases the real estate to sell local art. Johnson majored in interior design with a double minor in construction and photography. “I’ve appreciated good art for as long as I can remember,” she says. “I think our customers do, too.” It would be easy for Johnson to head to High Point or Las Vegas and return with a healthy supply of commercial art, pieces that have been consumer tested and ready to sell. In fact, Johnson does just that—she estimates 40 percent of the art she sells in her store is commercial—but the 60 percent that comes from local artists in Texas gives her something her big box competitors can never offer. “When a retailer partners with a local artist, it’s another story we can tell, another story we can add to who we are,” says Johnson. “I think people are tired of shopping the same old stores with the same old product. When they walk into my store they know immediately that something different is going on.” Johnson will approach some artists about showing in her store, but after so many years of supporting local artists, they now come to her, she says. The key to working with artists is finding those who understand retail. Johnson takes a 40 commission on every piece of local art she sells. Sometimes artists think that price is too steep. “I make them take ownership of the piece. I don’t want to be the one to price it, but I’m also the person who has to sell it,” she says. “(The artist) needs to know that I’m invested in their work, too. Every inch of a retail building has a dollar amount attached to it. If I’m using that space for something that’s not mine, there’s a price for that.” Johnson says it’s important for retailers to know that selling original art is different than selling a sectional. “You have to be knowledgeable about the piece and the investment people are entering into,” she says. Even if an artist’s work is not selling at the pace Johnson wants, the work still serves as a nice backdrop for her vignettes. “People walk in and they see our displays and they know before the door has closed behind them that they’ve entered a store that’s completely different than others they’ve shopped,” she says. “I’m not sure you can put a price on that.” HFA member Contents Interiors has been showing and selling the work of local artists in Arizona and the Southwest for 14 years. Tamara Scott-Anderson, the store’s vice president, says the store holds regular juried shows, allowing artists to submit their works. Scott-Anderson says the store’s sales design staff serves as the juried committee “because they know what our customers are looking for and what sells.” Scott-Anderson says her store in Tucson sells a wide array of paintings, sculptures and smaller locally made pieces such as cutting boards, fused glass and raku lamps, the latter, she says, “have been selling like crazy.” She estimates half of her store’s art inventory is production artwork, the other half is locally created. “We think it’s a win-win for both the store and the artists, who often lack the exposure to get their name and work out to the public,” Scott-Anderson says. Contents Interiors’ contract calls for a split of the sale price between the artists and the store. Scott-

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JURIED ART Tamara ScottAnderson sells art selected by her sales staff at Contents Interiors. Below, American Furniture Warehouse’s wall of local artists.

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Anderson says it’s important for the artists to be comfortable with the arrangement they make “so there are no surprises.” That’s not always easy, says HFA member Beth Claybourn. Her store, Beth Clayton Interiors in Baton Rouge, La., has sold the works of local and regional artists with mixed success through the years. “You have to find artists who understand retail and they’re not easy to find,” says Claybourn. “A lot of artists don’t understand my store only has limited space. That 12by-12 space costs me money. They don’t understand that you have a risk in showing their work just as they do.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

Every day you have someone’s painting on your wall is a day that you’re not selling something of yours.” HFA member Judy LaMontagne took a different route at American Furniture Warehouse. Six years ago Montagne was looking for wall décor that could exceed the quality she was getting from China but still be competitive in price. LaMontagne started talking with Circle Graphics, a Colorado company that produces billboard signs. The result is AFW’s Artists of the West program. The program allows artists to upload their work through AFW’s website for consideration. If LaMontagne thinks the art will sell, she will buy the rights to the work from the artist outright. All 14 of American Furniture Warehouse’s stores in Colorado and Arizona have carved out sizeable wall space for the Artists of the West program. “It’s the most successful program I’ve ever been a part of,” LaMontagne says. “Hugely successful, actually—and not just for the company, but the artists and (Circle Graphics) which produces the prints for us. When you think about it, every aspect of the program is made in America so everyone wins.” LaMontagne says she sifts through about 100 submissions every month from artists, photographers and graphic designers, looking for art she thinks will sell. She reaches out to about 5 percent of those artists and offers to buy their work outright.

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Montagne says she looks at the art with three criteria in mind. “It has to have mass appeal, sell in high volume and come from a local artist,” she says. “If it meets all three criteria, I’ll talk with the artist.” The wall reserved for the Artists of the West program in every AFW is jammed with prints of all sizes, shapes and scenes. There’s even a touch-screen computer that shoppers can use

Want to Sell Local

to learn more about the artist whose work they are thinking about taking home. “It’s a great way to engage, to connect with the customers,” says Montagne. “They’re no longer just buying a piece of art from China. They’re buying something from their community. They’re buying a story they can tell their friends about after they take that piece home and hang it on the wall.”

Celebrate your story “If you’re the only furnishings store selling local art, be proud of that! That means you need to let people know what you’re doing and how proud you are of your local art community.” Carol Johnson, Johnson Furniture Co.

Stand out “We like to have our local artists stand out. One way to do that is with our price tags. They’re different for our local artists. They let people know their story.” Tamara Scott-Anderson, Contents Interior

Nothing personal “Art is no different than furniture. It’s not what you like. It’s what your consumers like. If you don’t connect with it, but you think your customers will, it’s probably a good arrangement.” Judy LaMontagne, American Furniture Warehouse

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LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER

After his father died, John Keyes took over Naturwood Furniture. He was 18. Lisa Keyes knows about following in a father’s shoes. By Robert Bell

T

he first call came in the morning. It was from Stickley. Ever since he learned the manufacturer was looking for a new store in the Sacramento area to sell its line, John Keyes made it his mission to make that store his store, Naturwood Furniture. He’d spent the past year courting the company—even buying a new suit and flying to High Point to meet with Stickley officials at market. On the morning Stickley called the store, Keyes was away on a fishing trip in Canada so his daughter, Lisa Keyes, took the call. “When I heard they had chosen us, I couldn’t believe it,” Lisa Keyes recalled of that morning 10 years ago. “We opened our second store a few months earlier and all I could think about was how everything was coming together, and how excited Dad would be when he called and I told him the news. That day was going to change everything.” The second call to Lisa Keyes came three hours later. It was from someone who accompanied her father on the fishing trip. While reeling in a massive King Salmon that morning, John Keyes suffered a massive heart attack and died. Looking back, it’s a wonder Naturwood Furniture, the third-generation store in Rancho Cordova, Calif., survived the loss of its leader. It was 2006. Just a few months before his death, John Keyes had opened a second store in nearby Roseville. Sales were sluggish as the store tried to gain footing in a California economy that was already starting to crumble. Within weeks of John Keyes’ death, the bank raised the interest rate on the store’s loan by five points because the loan guarantor was now dead. “It was like they were kicking us when we were down, when we needed them most,” Lisa Keyes says. Lisa Keyes didn’t think it could possibly get any worse until the store was sued because one of its bathrooms did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. On and on

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it went. One setback following another.There were days when Lisa and her mother Virginia Keyes spent many a lunch break in their warehouse office wondering if it was all worth it. But every time Lisa and Virginia thought about giving up, they thought about their father and husband. John Allen Keyes was well known in the industry, and was named Retailer of the Year by his peers posthumously. “He was always willing to help somebody out with advice or suggestions,” Lisa Keyes says. “It didn’t matter if your store was in Southern California or across town. He wanted to help others.” Lisa Keyes remembers the time and energy her father invested in making his store a success. She remembers falling asleep late at night with her brother in the bunk beds the store sold while her

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FAMILY Five generations under Naturwood Furniture’s roof. From bottom left, clockwise: Lisa Keyes, her youngest daughter Kimberly Chord and granddaughter Brooklyn, Lisa’s oldest daughter Jessica Thompson, her mom Virginia Keyes, the store’s owner and CFO, and grandmother Rose Skamnes, who retired after more than 25 years as Naturwood Furniture’s bookkeeper.

parents worked in the back of the store staining unfinished furniture to make a little extra money. She remembers the late-night truck rides made together as a family to deliver furniture after hours. “Dad never stopped working,” she says. “So whenever I let (quitting) enter my mind it was easy to push it out because he and my mom put their blood into this business. I couldn’t see it fold.” Bringing Naturwood Furniture back from the brink required tough decisions from mother and daughter. The Roseville store closed after never generating enough business, reducing what was once a 170-employee payroll to about 70. The company sold off one of its two warehouses and used every square foot of the remaining building for product. It meant 60-hour weeks were now 70-hour weeks and vacations were put on hold. “The only thing I can compare it to is you’re at the edge of drowning and you just keep on treading water,” Lisa Keyes says. “You’re not swimming to safety. You’re treading

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water just to keep from drowning.” It wasn’t until two years ago—when California’s dreary housing market started its own resurgence—that the Keyes felt like they could stop treading and start swimming. Today Naturwood Furniture is not only strong, it’s growing. Sales and design services are increasing at a near double-digit pace annually. Keyes attributes that to her father and her grandfather, the founder of the store. Treat a customer right, and you’ve made a customer for life, she says. “They taught us to stand behind our product no matter what,” Lisa Keyes says. “Dad told me if there was an issue with something someone bought, we needed to go out and fix it. That’s the only way we know how to run things around here. We must be doing things right because we’re seeing older customers’ children coming in here to buy furniture. They tell us this is where their parents came when they went shopping. I really believe we’ve built up a trust level, a level of comfort with families in the area, because of how we treated their parents years ago.” In many ways, Lisa Keyes and her father had a fiery baptism into the family business. In 1957, John Keyes had left to train for the Coast Guard when his family called. His father, Walter Keyes, was ill and the family needed John to come home. Walter Keyes died soon after, leaving John to run the family store for his mother. He was barely 18. “I know it had to be hard on him, but he really grew to love the business,” Lisa says. “You could see that in him every day. He enjoyed coming to work and being around his family and the people who work here. He loved working with customers. Everything about the business he loved.” Like father, like daughter. Lisa Keyes grew to the love the business, too. Once, when her mother went out of town for the weekend, Lisa Keyes was tasked with writing out the week’s payroll checks. She added up the employees’ hours, used a state tax chart to calculate withholdings and gave the checks to her dad to sign. She was 13. “That’s a family business,” she shrugged. “Everybody pitches in. Everybody does a little of everything.” Today the same could be said about Naturwood Furniture, which does a little bit of everything for its customers in Northern California. In addition to Stickley, Naturwood—nobody’s sure why Lisa’s grandfather dropped the “e” when he started the company—carries a large line of American-made product

TOUGH DECISIONS Virginia Keyes and her daughter Lisa

faced many difficult decisions after Virginia’s husband died in 2006. Closing the store, however, was never one of them.

such as Robert Michael, Flexsteel, Simply Amish, Whittier Wood and Omnia. The store does a brisk business in home design and special orders as well. The store is still very much a family business. On any given day you might find Lisa and her mother, 78-year-old Virginia, in the warehouse office. Lisa’s grandmother, Rose Skamnes, worked in the business for more than 30 years until she retired at 88 after a bad fall in the warehouse. She’s 96 now and still shows up for big events. Even Lisa’s daughters, Kimberly and Jessica, have put in time at the store. Kim Chord, 23, and Jessica Thompson 26, have assigned roles within the family business and also started working at the store when they were children. “I guess it’s hard to get us out of this place,” Lisa Keyes says. “Dad taught us what it’s like to commit to doing something and doing it right. We’re just following his lead.”

WHAT HFA MEANS TO ME The best thing about the HFA is the networking—not just with other retailers but within the Association. There are so many government regulations, especially in California, and the Association helps me stay ahead and on top of things. When we know we can go the Association with our questions about a regulation or piece of legislation and get a quick answer, that’s one less thing we have to worry about. Lisa Keyes Naturwood Furniture, Rancho Cordova, Calif.

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AMERICAN MADE Like all of Gat Creek’s furniture, this bedroom set is made in America—West Virginia to be exact.

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Made in America (And Proud of It!) By Ginny Gaylor

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h what a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, many manufacturers believed keeping their production in the United States was becoming a liability. Retailers were focused on filling their showrooms with low-priced designs arriving in containers from Asia. However, when demand shifted, those same retailers all too often were left with too much inventory on their hands and no one interested in buying. Today consumers and retailers alike are focused on made-in-America items. Retailers like the homegrown products because these designs allow them to receive shipments in a reasonable time frame, while having the ability to offer products on a made-to-order basis. Consumers appreciate the option to customize their selections, while supporting local workers and communities. While this article focuses mostly on case goods, Patricia Bowling, vice president of communications for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, said “More than 60 percent of the upholstery sold in America is still made in America … a lot of folks don’t realize that.” Whether wood or upholstery, the tide definitely appears to be turning toward greater support of manufacturers right here in the good ‘ole U.S. of A.

Growing demand for Made in America For Gat Caperton, CEO of Gat Creek, the renewed focus on American-made furniture goes way beyond mere patriotism. “It’s about quality, how the furniture is made and what it’s made from,” he said. Caperton also stressed that many consumers like the fact that products made in the U.S. are manufactured under laws that reduce and minimize pollution, by employees who are not children and who make a living wage, and in communities that are sustainable and bring jobs and money to our citizens. Capertton is not alone in his view either. Anthony Sabatino, vice president for Arthur W. Brown, noted that the demand for American-made furniture is high. “And it has definitely grown in the last 10 years,” he said, so much so that he reports a top 100 retailer just flew his wood-buying team to Sabatino’s factory for a few days to consider carrying the

Arthur W. Brown line. Sabatino said the retailer’s interest was due to the fact the furniture was made in America. “Without that, he wouldn’t have considered us. Being made in America was nonnegotiable.” Another plus to American-made items in the eyes of consumers is the relative immediacy in which they can receive the products. Kelly McComb, marketing director at Homecrest Outdoor Living, has found this to definitely be the case in the world of outdoor furniture. For many spots around the country, outdoor furniture is not a need 12 months out of the year. As McComb explained when consumers shop for outdoor items, “they want it now, and when they’re ready to buy, they want it the way they want it. With imports, consumers have to buy what the retailer has on the floor or wait for when they reorder. However, a Made in America manufacturer, such as Homecrest, allows a consumer in the heat of the season, to special order something they have seen on the showroom floor in the frame and color they want and receive their customized design within a couple of weeks.”

Challenges for production in the U.S. All of the positive vibes surrounding American-made casegoods does not mean that manufacturers who produce designs domestically don’t face some challenges. For instance, there’s the issue of healthcare costs, which several manufacturers cited. Healthcare costs for a single worker can run $6,000 or more a year. Caperton explained, “If you work with people in Asia that per person cost goes away, or even if you locate in Canada, where there’s a national plan, that helps push most of that (cost) away.” He also cited the higher wages that American workers demand, although he does qualify that this is offset by the much higher productivity they offer. Regulatory hurdles can present another challenge to domestic furniture manufacturers, but one that presents an upside as well. McComb shared a conversation she had with a large Texasbased retailer last winter who had a great deal of enthusiasm for Homecrest’s U.S. operations. “Her comment to me was, we have all these rules and guidelines that we have to follow as manufacturers that factories in Mexico don’t have to adhere to,” she said.

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CLEAN LIVING Copeland’s Audrey Extension Table complements the sleek lines of the company’s cherry Estelle chairs. The retailer saw rivers contaminated because of factories in Mexico dumping chemicals, something that U.S. regulations prohibit. Caperton agreed that many of the so-called challenges associated with American manufacturing actually offered an equal number of positives. “We’re using materials wisely in a sustainable way, we’re working with people to earn not just a living wage, and we’re honoring and protecting the environment. For me personally, that is critical.” Ben Copeland, director of sales and marketing for Copeland Furniture, shared another interesting take on the challenges and benefits associated with American-made furniture. “We face steep regulatory hurdles as well as high labor and healthcare costs for our employees. Of course, these are borne of American values, and well-informed, conscientious retailers and consumers accept the higher associated prices as part and parcel of this basic American value set. That said, it’s always a challenge getting that message across to people who might feel tempted to look only at price. On the flip side, working in America for the American public allows us to be a more service-oriented enterprise, as well as more responsive to the ever-changing tastes and functional requirements of the market.”

Promoting patriotism in the showroom As more and more consumers gravitate toward U.S.-made designs for the customization they offer, the connection to their fellow Americans who produced the product and the concern for the environment built in to each piece, the issue then becomes how can retailers make it easier for consumers to find the U.S.-produced case goods. Sabatino has observed when visiting retailer’s showrooms that the more educated salespeople are on which items are Made in America, the more that fact becomes part of the story they share with consumers. “I’ve seen sales people with our product who say ‘It’s made in New York on Long Island.’ That’s part of personalizing the story, and consumers connect with that.” 20

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His opinion is that promoting America-made designs benefits retailers as well because it increases the retailers’ margins. “In many instances if a design is customized, it’s going to cost a little more, but the consumer places more value on getting something the way they want it, so in turn the dealer is making more. It’s win-win.” Copeland also stressed the importance of promoting the story of the manufacturer with the consumers. “One of my favorite campaigns is from a retailer who advertises “Imported from Vermont” in all ads featuring our product,” he shared. “The more retailers climb on board in marketing around this shift, the more consumers will come to expect their furniture to be Made in America, which, in turn, increases the retailers return on their marketing—a virtuous cycle.” Homecrest Outdoor Living’s CEO Tim Dejong added that U.S. products tend to be made from higher quality materials and are backed with better service and support. McComb backed that statement up. “We get calls all the time: ‘My furniture is 25-yearsold, and my slings just wore out.’ You don’t see that with items made outside of the U.S. We have moving mechanisms, so for that to last on a patio for 20 to 30 years and still work, only the fabric has worn out, that is huge. We’re not cutting corners.” McComb relishes how Homecrest addresses society’s tendency to be disposable by teaching people how they can redo their outdoor sets, from new covers to new powder coating. “We offer touch-up paint— good luck finding that with an import,” she added. Caperton summed up the growing interest in American-made furniture: “Patriotism has never been dead in this country, but today consumers understand that American-made is more than just a patriotic action, it’s an investment in the U.S. and in the communities in which we live.”

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Ginny Gaylor is an award-winning writer and editor based in Greensboro, N.C. She has more than 15 years of experience writing about the home furnishings industry. She can be reached at ginnygaylor@gmail.com.


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MARKETTRENDS

High Point Market There’s a lot of ground to cover at the High Point Market, and no possible way to see everything. Here’s a snapshot of some of the product you might have missed.

The Centro Lift Desk from BDI is a motorized freestanding, heightadjustable sit-stand desk with a programmable digital keypad and an integrated cable management system that keeps wiring organized and out of sight.

Caracole’s Rose Cocktail is the perfect size for intimate conversations over a glass of wine. Its highly polished base showcases a Majestic Gold filigree of intertwined roses. Elegantly topped with black glass, this is a statement piece around which to entertain.

Anika, from Surya, is a medium pile run, machinemade in Belgium of 100-percent polypropylene. Shown here in magenta, saffron and burnt orange.

A.R.T.’s Nelson Side Chairs, from its Epicenters Austin collection, feature a wire-brushed finish and canvas slipcovers with distressed seaming and unique lace-up detail. The Westlake Dining Table has a white-washed finish and extends to 100 inches with a 20-inch leaf.

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The Belize collection from Najarian consists of bedroom and dining, shown here. It features a weathered gray finish over large grain ash veneers that provide texture and character.

The signature poster bed from Borkholder’s Madera collection is crafted in red oak with a dry grey/ beige finish, tall slender posts, and a floating headboard upholstered in a natural, Sunbrella linen accented with nail head trim.

Gilded Home’s Mae Hour Glass lamp is clean-lined mid-century modern married to sexy Hollywood regency design. The beautifully shaped glass body and antique brass cone base are capped with a sophisticated black shade with gold interior. The lamp is 37 inches high.

Paula Deen Home’s Dogwood outdoor collection, manufactured by Sunvilla and sold exclusively through Universal Furniture, is a fully woven collection with a beautiful Driftwood outdoor weave.

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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MARKETTRENDS

Casual Market Chicago The theme to the Casual Market Chicago in September? In a word: Comfort. As more and more consumers expand their living space to the great outdoors, manufacturers are all too happy to comply. Clean lines, deep seating and bold colors were popular product traits your customers will be asking for in the coming months. Here’s a sampling of new products introduced that already have us excited for warm weather.

Woodard’s inviting Montecito double day bed offers fully reclining chaises positioned under a canopy and features a rich coffee finish along with lush, all-weather cushions.

Unlike conventional umbrellas, Treasure Island’s version opens and closes from the top like the Lotus flower for which it is named. The perfect add-on? A blue tooth umbrella light, Luna, that syncs with smartphones. Available in bronze or black.

Gather the family and dine outdoors. Seaside Casual’s simple, youthful, modern SYM dining bench, with a slight back lip, offers a comfortable backless design perfect for maximizing seating around longer tables. Color combinations provide endless design options that will prove a hit.

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The centerpiece pillow of Elaine Smith’s Mariposa Azure Collection is a woven butterfly in a bold azure blue.

Warm and inviting, the customizable Creighton collection from O.W. Lee features a modern industrial design, inspired by trestle-style iron, with a mixture of modern and bygone era styling.

Winner of the Design Excellence Award for chaise lounge, the Coral Chaise from Jensen Leisure Furniture has five comfort positions and is made from all-weather handcrafted Virofiber incorporated into a traditional basket weave on a commercial grade aluminum frame.

Handcrafted with ultra-modern appeal, Castelle’s Solaris collection features durable extruded aluminum construction with multi-stage powder coat finishing and artisan antiquing. Each piece can be customized with tailored cushions. RetailerNOWmag.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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TAKE2

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Honoring its past with an eye to the future After 40 years, Brown Squirrel Furniture goes from warehouse to wow! By Connie Post

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ack in the early 1970s, Doug Matthews Sr., heard about a new concept in furniture retailing which would come to be known in furniture annals as the Levitz Furniture warehouse showroom, and he designed his store in Knoxville, Tenn., to emulate it. Some four decades later, Matthews’ son Preston turned to our firm for the first phase of that store’s major renovation, a project we completed last year. This fall, we embarked on phase two of the three-phase plan, which is now not just a business imperative, but the realization of Matthew Sr.’s dream orchestrated by Preston and his brother Doug Jr., who are determined to honor their father, a retail legend in the Knoxville community. Doug Matthews Sr., died this summer, but I’m proud he was able to experience the modernization of his unusually named store: Brown Squirrel Furniture, so named

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for an old story his grandfather used to tell about distant relative, Davy Crockett. (You’ll have to ask Preston to recount this gem the next time you see him at an industry gathering).

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“We wanted to create something unique, something that not only modernized us, but a store that would reflect the community and our position as the area’s hometown retailer, as well as the region

Part of the Brown Squirrel’s warehouse has been transformed into one of the nation’s largest Simmons Beautyrest galleries.

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we serve,” Preston says. We understood exactly what the brothers wanted to do and set about accomplishing it— beginning with the exterior and the entrance for the most impact. Today, when customers enter Brown Squirrel, they no longer encounter racks of furniture stacked to the ceiling a la Levitz. The warehouse side of the building has been transformed into a showroom. On one side is one of the largest Simmons Beautyrest galleries in the country. On the other, photos of Knoxville date back to the 1800s. “My grandfather was a doctor who delivered a lot of babies up in the mountains, and the pictures speak to our family’s long history here, as well as the history of Knoxville,” Preston says.

ll ized wa the outs an loft. s is m ’t can an urb Millennials at passes for h t graphic

shoppers path leads nd a ree t re c on c a The curving listic mountain cabin a re a h g throu ry. ngland galle imagined E

Brown Squirrel now has a department dedicated to Made-in-A merica solid wood pieces.

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Directly ahead, a photographic mural indicative of the Smoky Mountains stretches 30 feet high, a fitting backdrop for the Natural Elements department, featuring reclaimed wood furniture. We painted the exposed ceiling white to make the 70,000-squarefoot space appear even larger than it is, and polished the concrete floors throughout for a hip look that is easy to maintain. Curving through the store, the stained concrete path leads customers through a realistic mountain cabin and a reimagined England gallery (producing $450-per-square foot!), as well as a Made-in-America, solid wood gallery that features huge, black-and-white photos of the Vaughan-Bassett factory. A leather gallery with a large-scale graphic simulates an urban loft and appeals to the tastes of Millennial shoppers. “Everyone always asks about the age of our customer, and I tell them that our market is really unique,” Preston says. “The mountains and the Tennessee River and the lakes attract a large retiree community at the one end, and we have the University of Tennessee at the other, with everybody in between, including thousands of highly intelligent people focused on national security in Oak Ridge. It’s a very diverse market and we wanted to create something that would appeal to all of those demographics.” And, it’s working, with the business growing from $6.5 million to $10.4 million in sales since the renovation was undertaken. Connie Post is a retail design strategist, trend expert, author and owner of Affordable Design Solutions Connie Post International. She can be reached at missconniepost@aol.com.

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Purpose-driven sales meetings Some sales meetings are where minutes are taken and hours are wasted. Here’s how to avoid those. By Gerry Morris

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his is the second of a three-part series on how to conduct more productive sales meetings. In this article, I’ve compiled ideas from some of the leading experts in the field of sales training. You don’t have to do a lot of research to find information about how to run a sales meeting. But that doesn’t mean the information you’ll find is always relevant. A quick Google search brought up these (un) helpful hints: Have an agenda, start and end on time, don’t let anyone do all the talking, be entertaining, informative and upbeat. This is actually good advice if you were thinking of having a meeting that had no plan, was going to start 10 minutes late and end even later, and the leader was hoping to be dominating, dull, uninformative and downcast. As I read them, I felt like I was in a Geico commercial saying, “Everybody knows that, but did you know that Old MacDonald was a really bad speller?” Take heart. There’s good information out there. I’ve done the legwork. Sit back and let me share with you.

The Purpose and Importance of Meetings I like what Mike Weinberg of newsalescoach.com says about sales meetings. “The goal is to create a sales culture,” says Weinberg. “Team meetings are a critical component of making that happen.” This may be the best goal for a retail sales staff. Merriam Webster defines culture as it applies to business as a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization. Having a sales staff on the same page and buying into the mission of making sales for the betterment of all involved may be the most effective way of achieving that goal. Weinberg loves to quote this verse: “Let us not give up

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meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” The latest business best-seller from Wall Street? Try Hebrews 10:25. So it seems the importance of meetings and the goal of a shared mission goes back to Biblical times. New York Times bestselling author Grand Cardone says, “the purpose of a sales meeting is to motivate your people and get them prepared to focus on selling.” Cardone recommends daily meetings that are short, engaging, and focused on solutions. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I know a lot of you might groan at the thought of a daily sales meeting, but in my next column I’m going to show you why they might actually be a powerful tool for your staff.

Suggestions for Effective Meetings Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay has some pretty good tips for meetings. I know, I was surprised, too, but hear him out. Ramsay believes it’s important to build up your sales staff—make them feel like they’re your most valuable asset. “Let your sales staff know you expect great things from them,” says Ramsay. “Make them feel like winners. Tap into their drive to excel. Everyone wants to feel they’re the best at what they do.” How do you do this? First, says Ramsay, you need to provide clear, simple instructions. Ramsay believes it’s important to define expectations. “Sell as if your life (livelihood) depended on it,” says Ramsay, “because it does.” That might mean investing in your staff financially. “Make it worth their while,” says Ramsay. “Offer and reward with bonuses to get your sales staff truly motivated.” John Treace, of JR Treace & Associates, has a few recommendations for running a successful sales meeting. First, he says, set a clear objective, establish it in advance and share it with all attendees. The objective should be specific and

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always relate to increasing sales. For example: “In this meeting, we’ll teach all sales representatives how to upsell.” Treace is also a firm believer in time management. He says sales associates should be given plenty of time to prepare for meetings. “If you’re going to cover new training material in the sales meeting, be sure to send some, if not all, of it to your reps ahead of time,” he says. Jeffery Gitomer, who travels the country speaking to retailers about sales, offers a great plan for a meeting agenda. Here’s an abbreviated version: • • • • • • • • • •

Morning mirth: A funny story to wake folks up (it better be funny). Success announcements: Praise and affirmation are good (and desired). Frustrations shared: One or two minutes of bloodletting (don’t let this drag on). Administrative details talk: The necessary evil of meetings (two minutes, tops). Product knowledge: Knowledge is good (five to 10 minutes is enough). Best practices: How someone succeeded (give examples). Sales subject/lesson of the week: This is the meat of your meeting (come prepared). Solutions to frustrations: You can’t allow folks to complain without possible solutions (you don’t need a solution that day, but you need to let them know it’s on your to-do list). Expectations of the week: Make sure it’s clear (and measurable). End upbeat: Something motivational (a recording, reading, story shared, video clip).

A few final thoughts: Don’t forget to open up your meetings to outsiders who might be able to provide fresh perspectives. Think about scheduling the meeting at least 15 minutes before your desired start time. This allows team members to chat informally over refreshments before the meeting begins. Having done that, you better start the actual meeting on time. Provide a meeting agenda to each participant at the start so everyone knows what to expect. Leave time for team members to ask questions, or share additional information at the end of the meeting. Create an open, non-threatening atmosphere that encourages everyone to present observations, ideas and questions. Finally, remember that meetings are only half the equation. Gitomer understands this well. “Management’s job is to convey leadership’s message in a compelling and inspiring way,” he says. “Not just in meetings, but also by example.” Are you leading others in a compelling inspiring way? 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

This is the second of a three-part series about improving sales meetings. — NEXT MONTH — Types of sales meetings and how to make them more effective.


FAMILYMATTERS

Survival of the fittest Here’s how to beat the odds and get your family business to grow

By Wayne Rivers

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ccording to Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up, there are about 28 million business firms in America. Of those, only about 4 percent, or 1.12 million, make it to the $1 million sales level. From there, only about 10 percent of that number, or 112,000, make it to the $10 million sales threshold. And only about 17,000 companies make it to the $50 million sales level—that’s .001 of all U.S. businesses and includes the roughly 5000 public companies! While we don’t know the source of his figures, they do roughly approximate Dun & Bradstreet which says that less than 1 percent of the private businesses in America ever make it to $20 million of revenue. For the purposes of this column, let’s stipulate that, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, 96 percent of the business firms in America are not sustainable. Either they are lifestyle businesses, small professional services companies, homebased businesses, mom-and-pop stores, or there was never any intention to grow the business to a sustainable level in the first place. Now, focusing on the 4 percent which are greater than $1 million in annual turnover, what are the barriers to growth and sustainability? There are a few big hurdles they have to get over to survive: No shared vision. First-generation family businesses have a great advantage; common vision is easy to achieve when there’s only one visionary! If a founder’s home furnishings store becomes successful, and others join him in his quest, things get a little more complicated. He must learn to share the vision and hire and train people whose personal beliefs are consistent with his. As the family grows and moves into the second and third generations, the need for common vision and ever-improving communication becomes paramount.

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If Sister A wants to double the size of the business over the next 10 years, and Brother B clings tenaciously to today’s status quo… well, you can see the inherent conflict between the two visions. If ownership consists of mom, dad, and their three children, and management consists of dad, one of the three children, and three key non-family managers, it’s apparent that the opportunity for competing or conflicting visions grows exponentially. While it sounds very consultant-centric to rail on about the importance of a common vision, it’s not! Lack of a compelling common vision sets up both family members and business participants for unending conflict. And leaders in conflict are rarely, if ever, achieving their full potentials much less maximizing their quality of life. Leadership. It’s quite common in family businesses to have an individual leader or a small leadership team made up of supermen or superwomen. That is to say they have unquenchable thirsts for hard labor and live to work rather than working to live. Usually more business generalists than specialists, they can delve into virtually any aspect of the enterprise and acquit themselves quite well; there seems to be nothing they can’t do. Having supermen and superwomen on the team is quite a blessing; however, the growth and sustainability barrier is that it’s unrealistic to assume the next generation of business leaders will also be super. NextGen leaders are much more likely to specialize and to, therefore, surround themselves with other specialists who can support them. A second leadership barrier is that, at some point in the growth of the family-owned business, leaders are faced with a lack of knowledge of what it’s like to be big (and bigger still!). The default behavior is to emulate previous generations of leaders who were, let’s face it, running companies that were smaller and much less complex. Once the company surpasses a certain point, all land-

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Planning starts from the bottom up

Q:

We’ve got six family members working for us— two children, two cousins and two nephews. In the past year I’ve concluded that almost all of them have shared with one another how much they earn and, even worse, discussions I’ve had with each about their futures with the business. As you can imagine, several have come to me privately complaining. How do I fix this and more importantly how do I make sure it doesn’t happen again?

A:

Congratulations! You’ve just learned that there aren’t any secrets in a family business! It’s not clear why you’d want to keep discussions about people’s futures secret anyway. Wouldn’t transparency about the future direction of the business and how your family members fit into it be better for everyone in the long run? How can you begin to plan the

marks and touchstones disappear into the rear view mirror, and managers find themselves in totally uncharted territory. No one on today’s leadership team has experienced the rarefied air of operating a $20 million, $50 million, or $100 million enterprise. Never having been there before and not knowing exactly what to do, leaders can then become chokepoints and barriers to sustainability if, in their search for solutions, they cling to yesterday’s ways of doing things. There are two potential solutions to this barrier. First, hire people from outside the organization who have been where you want to go. They can share their knowledge and expertise and dramatically shorten your learning curve. Second, seek out a peer group of companies of similar size, complexity, and growth orientation. They can provide an invaluable sounding board to help an entrepreneur deal with the challenges of breaking new growth ground. Complacency. The third leadership barrier is perhaps the most pernicious one. A gifted entrepreneur reaching age 60 or 70 can easily find himself looking back and saying, “We’ve created wealth, jobs, and opportunity! I never thought our company would be this successful!” At that point the hungry, aggressive, risk-taking entrepreneur can easily transform into a risk-averse defender of the status quo, and this may be either an individual or a group phenomenon. Where, after all, is it written that after you’ve crossed a certain threshold of revenue or net worth that you have to keep seeking more? That’s a valid question, but the reality of business is if you’re not seeking to improve in some area—if not sales, then customer satisfaction, employee morale, or other measures of effectiveness—you’re going backwards relative to your competition. Complacency is a sustainability killer.

futures of the company and six family members without everyone’s knowledge and participation? That’s the old way of doing things in a family-owned business. The top-down, hub-and-spokes communication method, as you’ve seen, has severe limitations. Try a new approach: bottom-up, collaborative business planning. Call a series of meetings–one a month for the next three months, each lasting not more than two hours–and talk bluntly and honestly about where people see the business going and what will be necessary to help it grow and prosper. If the seven of you don’t create a compelling, common vision, there’s no way for the business or any of the individuals in it to reach their potential. Most important: keep quiet and listen! Do not dominate the conversation! Let the six NextGen family members express themselves, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the outcomes.

Lack of infrastructure. A lack of infrastructure means a family-owned business lacks the systems, processes, and standard operating procedures necessary to facilitate future growth. Perhaps they have outgrown the capabilities of their controller, and they lack financial sophistication. Or they may not have a dashboard of select key performance indicators (KPI) that allows them to quickly and accurately measure the health of the business. Or they may have 10 different people managing projects in 10 different ways with 10 different customer experiences and outcomes instead of having one “best practices” methodology. Part of any successful infrastructure mix is people. More accurately stated, it is having the right people in the right seats on the bus. It’s often the case that family business leaders have too much loyalty and belief in the employees that have helped get them to where they are. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with gratitude and loyalty. There is something wrong, however, if family business leaders are willfully blind to the need to bring in better, smarter, more sophisticated talent when necessary. For more on this topic read What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. There are all kinds of clichés about the difficulty of creating a sustainably excellent company: “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves…,” “the seeds of the company’s destruction are sown in good times,” etc. Sustaining the success of a family business over the generations is a daunting task, however, you don’t have to become a statistic.

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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. He can be reached at wayne.rivers@ familybusinessinstitute.com.

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Maximizing your gross margin starts with believing in the products you sell. By David McMahon

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rowth in sales volume and gross margin are critical to the long-term possibility of a business. After all, if you want to serve your customers, pay your employees, and reward your investors (you and any possible outside investors), your store needs to be profitable. Your margins are a measurement of your profitability.

Once a business stops upping the bar in either of these two performance measures, profitability begins to suffer. You cannot grow a business in the long term by cutting expenses. That simply does not work. After all, margin is what you have left to pay for all your expenses and produce a profit so there is cash flow, right? You can find a link to my video at the end of this article, but for now, here are three pointers on growing margins:

Believe The top performers in the industry in gross margin are the operators that are not afraid. You see, gross margin is a state of mind, and to prove this I’ll tell you a little story. In one of our performance groups, we played a game. We had 25 people representing 12 companies look at a well-displayed living room sectional. The catch was that the sectional did not have a price. Everyone had to guess at the retail

selling price with a secret ballot. Keep in mind, these were experienced retailers and some very smart merchandisers were in the room. The guesses ranged from $999 to $3,500. The results were scattered. The closest person got within $100 of the right price, which was $2,599. The fact is that everyone was really right. Price was a mind game. Those that thought they could get more tended to be representatives for high gross-margin outfits. Do you really believe that the consumer knows the price of all merchandise if you are doing the smart thing and disguising your model numbers?

Focus on Special Orders A significant part of industry sales comes from custom orders. I say thanks to this and private labeling, brick-andmortar stores in the industry will survive for now. The general retail landscape is littered with failures from operations going out of business because the consumer found a cheaper and better option of the same product on the internet. Custom cannot be shopped easily at this time. It is a longer and more involved sales cycle. There is a need for interaction between the salesperson and the customer here, because custom sales require more expertise and are less quick-transactional in nature. For these reasons, a higher margin is justified. Price your special orders 5 percent

to 10 percent above where you want to end up in overall margins, and you will change your profit overnight.

Design + Performance is a trademark and Sunbrella is a registered trademark of Glen Raven, Inc.

Pricing for Profits

Incentivize I am a believer that if you want someone you pay to do something, you need to pay them for what you want them to do. So, if you want people to grow volume, you need to pay them higher amounts at certain volume levels. If you want your people to get you higher margins, you need to pay them more if they get you more. Make sense? There are several ways of accomplishing this. I encourage you to take a hard look at the performance of your people and how you pay them. Whenever I do this with a client, opportunity usually shows its head. There are many other ways to grow margins. Watch the video on the Secrets of Maximizing Gross Margin in Home Goods Retail to learn about a few more proven methods.

David McMahon, CSCP, CMA, EA is VP of consulting and performance group at PROFITsystems, a HighJump Company. He holds professional certifications as a Certified Supply Chain Professional and a Certified Management Accountant. He can be reached at david.mcmahon@highjump.com.

Learn more about growing your store’s margins and increasing profitability from industry expert David McMahon’s video “The Secrets of Maximizing Gross Margin in Home Goods Retail.” View it at tinyurl.com/gqbex2m Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of columns and videos designed to help retailers grow their home furnishings stores. Each month, David McMahon will discuss a new topic in RetailerNOW and go even deeper in an accompanying video.

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Design + Performance is a trademark and Sunbrella is a registered trademark of Glen Raven, Inc. ®

Good business is built on trust, reliability and respect. Sunbrella delivers ®

the best performing upholstery fabrics, responsive customer support and the industry’s leading warranty. So your customers never question your commitment.

S U N B R E L L A .C O M

16470-1 Stacked Fabrics FP_Uph Trade Indoor_RN.indd 1

10/25/16 4:28 PM


IHFRAROAD WARRIORS

Have you shopped your competition lately? A retailer turned rep offers suggestions for your store— and for getting the most out of your rep relationships. By Jonathan Schulman

F

ull disclosure: Before I was a rep, I was one of you. I planned ads, merchandised, managed managers, cycle counted, adjusted min-max levels, coached the floor, trained sales, adjusted goals, measured attachments ad-nauseam, and, when needed, loaded a few trucks. Sometimes it seemed like I was the only guy working a food truck with a line around the block. Plates were constantly spinning. I know that’s not unique, it’s what we do and to butcher a quote by Hymen Roth in The Godfather II, “it’s the business we’ve chosen.” Maybe it chose us or our parents chose it for us. Whatever the case, here we are and we’re all in it together: Big guys, mom and pops, and everyone in between. Sure it’s war out there, but we all speak the same language and have similar experiences. I think that’s cool. I’ve been carrying a bag for seven years now and not a lot has changed. In fact, my days on the road aren’t too dissimilar from my retail days. Plates still spin and attachment rates are still measured. Each dealer has their own nuances and preferences and it’s my job to make sure product is shipping and customers are delighted. Not all of us do things the same way, but in the end, we all have the same goal.

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

When I sat down to write this article and thought about what I wanted retailers to consider when a rep comes in, one thing was very clear. We are partners and we need each other. Furniture is a very incestuous and entrepreneurial industry filled with intangibles. Reps must use a keen sense of osmosis if they want to even be close to being successful. There are no books to direct someone on how to be a rep. There are no courses that will certify someone to represent a manufacturer. Like the Lone Ranger, we are road warriors and it can get lonely out here. I talk to other reps. A lot of them have angst about how customer presentations or store visits with vice presidents who tag along might have gone and what it all means. As the newest member of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association’s (IHFRA) executive committee and having lived (and loved) the retail lifestyle most of my life, I find myself walking into stores with a soft spot in my soul. I know how hard you work in your stores. Each store is the result of insanely long days, employee drama, difficult customers, municipal interference, increased costs and yes, I’ll admit it, factory errors and defects can take a toll as well. Hey, no one’s perfect. Since we’re in this together, I want to give

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what I consider to be the lowest hanging fruit on how to increase your sales, improve your business and get customers to fall in love with you. This seems so obvious, but I don’t hear a lot of people doing this, so I have to believe a few of you might take me up on this. Ready? Here it is:

SHOP! All of you reading this article are consumers. You know what good service looks like and you can certainly spot bad service and point it out to anyone who will listen. It surprises me how many of my customers never leave their stores to check on what the competition is doing. Store owners tell me with their shoulders back and the faint air of dismissiveness in their tone that they concentrate on their own four walls and what’s inside them. It’s then when I decide to win the battle or win the war. I’m going deep here, but full credit to Sun Tzu who said, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Tzu has been known for centuries as the foremost expert on leadership and competition, so following his advice just may bear some fruit. If the only thing you know about your competition is what your customers and reps tell you, you’re foolish. You have to know how your competition is treating customers; those same customers who may also be your customers now or in the future. You need to know what it is about your competitor’s business that wins sales you couldn’t win. It took me years to learn that customers will buy from the store that offers the best experience. That’s it, case closed. If your competition offers a better experience, you lose. If they have a salesperson who can close a sale and get that customer come back time and time again, you need that person on your team. If you want to know how your service compares, start by analyzing how many sales you have from referrals, not repeats. How many fresh customers came in because someone recommended them? Hold a contest to see who can get the most referrals in a year and make the prize a good one. There are other stats to check, but I have another article to write, so I’ll save the rest for that one. Here’s my request of retailers: Tell reps what you want. You wouldn’t hire someone and have them start tomorrow and not tell them what your expectations are. We want to do a great job! We want more of your floor space! We want to be called upon to help out, problem solve and listen. The best way to offer you a great experience is to know what you want. So tell us. Jonathan Schulman is a member of the IHFRA executive committee and has been in furniture all his life. His coverage area includes Southern California and Hawaii. He has won several awards including Sales Professional of the Year in 2013 and can be reached at jschulmn@gmail.com.

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FURNISHING DATA SOLUTIONS.

amberengine.com


q

HFA@MARKET HFA in Action at High Point For Home Furnishings Association retailers, High Point is more than an opportunity to find the latest furniture and accessories for their store. It’s also the place to network with fellow members, learn about the latest advertising and social media trends and become a smarter retailer. The Retailer Resource Center supplied all of this and more! Donny Osmond took time out from promoting Donny Osmond Home, his Coaster furniture line, to stop by the Retailer Resource Center and chat with HFA members and other retailers. Coaster is one of the many manufacturers offered in the new HFA Buying Source program that’s free to members.

HFA member Brent Shealy of Economy Furniture Co. escapes market for an afternoon to take part in the Next Generation Now tour of Furnitureland South in High Point.

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HFA@ HFA@MARKET Wendi Swanson of The Friedman Group offers retailers tips for finding the right sales people for their stores. Swanson was one of 21 speakers who took part in the HFA's market seminars.

HFA members Andy and Libby McCurry of McCurry Furniture took part in the Association’s annual Sunday lunch with market leaders. The lunch gives HFA retailers the opportunity to meet with market officials and offer suggestions for improving the event.

More than three dozen HFA retailers and Next Generation Now members took advantage of an exclusive tour of Furnitureland South in High Point during the market. RetailerNOWmag.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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MEMBERBENEFIT

Do You REALLY Need Job Descriptions?

YES!

By Kaprice Crawford

E

veryone knows what a job description is—it outlines the skills, training and education needed by a potential employee and spells out the duties and responsibilities for the particular job. If you’ve been hiring for a while and know all of the things you need someone to do, you might even wonder why you’d need a job description manual. Besides, you could just Google jobs, and piece something together that sort of fits what you need, right? Or—you could let the Home Furnishings Association do it for you. Here are six reasons you need job descriptions and why HFA did the leg work for you. 1. A job description is a clear, concise tool that relays requirements to applicants. To attract and hire the right person for the job they need to understand the core requirements of the position from the beginning. A wellwritten job description can give a sense of the company culture and showcase your brand to prospective employees and save you time, money, and hassle with your recruitment process. 2. A job description is a great way to communicate expectations to employees after the hire as well. The job description clearly details what’s expected and required from the person in that position and it provides an explanation of how success will be measured. You can use the job description as a benchmark during performance reviews and to determine compensation for a given position. 3. Good job descriptions can help employees map their career goals and envision their possible growth within the company. 4. Job descriptions are key to ensuring your legal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you’re in a situation in which an employee requests an accommodation to perform their job, your job description serves as documentation of what’s involved with and required by the position. This is important in determining what constitutes a reasonable accommodation and establishing controls for it. 38

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

5.

Your job descriptions also assist with Fair Labor Standards Act. By spelling out the FLSA status of a position (exempt versus non-exempt) you set the parameters for work hours, pay type and overtime. 6. Having job descriptions on file can be the difference between winning or losing (and paying!) unemployment claims. Have you ever terminated an employee for poor performance who then wins their unemployment claim? Are you still wondering how that happened? In today’s workplace, it’s imperative to have written job descriptions for each position in your organization. The notions of ‘learn as you go’ and ‘do what everyone else is doing’ just don’t work anymore. In terms of unemployment claims, it’s not uncommon to have an employer speak to the requirements of the job and the employee claims they never knew of those requirements. Many state agencies that administer unemployment benefits tend to be employee friendly and are less likely to deny benefits to someone who proves they were never given a job description. By creating job descriptions and having a signature from the employee stating they read the description, you’re giving yourself more leverage against faulty claims. Job descriptions are important for recruiting, educating and verifying. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; the HFA has done it for you. The HFA’s Job Description Manual was created specifically for the retail home furnishings industry in conjunction with home furnishings retailers like you. You can use the manual as a starting point and tailor it to your specific needs. To learn more about the Job Description Manual and how to get one, contact your HFA membership representative at 800.422.3778.

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Kaprice crawford is the Home Furnishings Association’s education director. She can be reached at kcrawford@myhfa.org or 916.960.0346.


Hiring Made Easy

HFA now offers a comprehensive job descriptions manual. The HFA Job Descriptions Manual has been compiled specifically for the home furnishings industry by home furnishings retailers like you. It’s the perfect guideline for creating your own company job descriptions. With a thorough job description you can make sure each employee completely understands their job duties.

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$ 54 Y L ON

$ 99 (a 2

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To learn more about these HFA member programs visit myhfa.org or call:

800-422-3778

Always providing members discounted pricing through our national programs.


MONTHLYCHECKLIST INVENTORY

HOLIDAYS

The holidays are here. Make it a rule that employees must greet each other with a cheery holiday greeting every morning. You sell happiness and joy. Your good moods will help your success.

DATABASE BUILDING

s like a Watch your report n slower hawk. Mark dow clear selling pieces to selling space for bestitems.

ONLINE

Set up a syst em to ensure no one leaves your store without surr a little bio da endering ta. At the very least, y ou want an email address .

Analysts are predicting mobile devices will account for more than half of all retail traffic and 20 percent of e-commerce sales this season. Test your website to ensure your customer’s experience on a phone is as smooth as on a desktop.

What are you working on this month?

EDIA M L A I C O S

ason to be ‘Tis the se ef up the e blogging! B , Facebook lo b g number of st updates and Pintere amazing e about all th ore for the ur st pieces in yo season. holiday

“I’m going to be changing up my floor. We are always changing and mixing things up. I want to try and have a new look for my clients whenever they come in. I want them thinking, ‘I wonder what’s new at the store.’ ” Beth Claybourn Beth Claybourn Interiors, Baton Rouge, La.

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The Membership Team during Las Vegas Market Showroom B-1050

Free Buying Program RECEIVE REBATES ON FURNITURE PURCHASES YOU ALREADY MAKE PRICING DISCOUNTS, REBATES, & TERM CONCESSIONS

Activate and Start Saving Today 800.422.3778 myHFA.org/buyingsource | 800.422.3778

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

41


GOVACTION

New Formaldehyde Rule Affects Retailers By Patricia Bowling

T

he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this summer issued its final rule for regulating formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products that are used as component parts in finished goods—including residential furniture— sold in the United States. The rule applies to both domestically-produced and imported furniture, and all entities within the supply chain, including retailers, are affected by its requirements. EPA officials worked with the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and other stakeholders to draft implementation measures that are generally consistent with California requirements for composite wood products. Retailers who are familiar with the California regulation will find themselves ahead of the game when it comes to complying with the new federal regulation. “The new rule will level the playing field for domestic manufacturers who have a high rate of compliance with the California standard and will ensure that imported products not subject to California’s requirements will meet the new standard and, thus, not contain dangerous formaldehyde vapors,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention when he released the new rule in July. Likewise, the rule levels the playing field for retailers who have stores in California or who sell into California via e-commerce or other non-store channels, and have been complying with the Cali-

42

fornia formaldehyde regulation, known simply as CARB, since it was adopted in 2007. When fully implemented in 2013, the California rule became the toughest standard in the world for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. Now, all retailers are subject to, essentially, the same rule.

What Is Required? The California rule had several specific requirements for retailers. The EPA rule, which becomes effective in September 2017, extends these same requirements to ALL home furnishings retailers: • Retailers are responsible for maintaining a statement of compliance (found on invoices or bills of lading) for any home furnishings product they sell that is made with hardwood plywood, particleboard, or MDF. The regulation requires manufacturers and distributors of these products to supply their retail customers with this compliance statement. • Retailers are responsible for checking to make sure the products they carry are labeled properly—on the box or the item itself. The label must show: - The fabricator’s (manufacturer’s) name - The date of manufacture - The compliance statement • Retailers are responsible for keeping records of compliance on all products that are subject to the regulation. They should make sure the records show the date of purchase and the name of the supplier. These records must be kept for three years.

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Many provisions within the final regulation were altered significantly from the original version of the rule proposed by EPA in 2013. Aggressive advocacy on the part of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and its member companies—including hosting EPA officials on factory tours to improve their understanding of the industry’s production processes—led to a greatly improved final rule.

What Products Are Covered? Three types of composite wood products are covered in the EPA rule: hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard. Laminated products made with a wood veneer or woody-grass veneer attached to medium density fiberboard or particleboard also are covered. Manufacturers of these products have until September of 2017 to make sure their core panel meets the EPA’s emission limits, which are the same as in the CARB rule, and to label their products as compliant. Importers of covered products must obtain a special import certification under the Toxic Substances Control Act—and they have an extra year (until September 2018)—to obtain this paperwork. Any retailer importing directly from overseas sources must meet this requirement. Laminated products made with synthetic face veneers, oriented strand board, curved plywood and structural plywood (PS-1 and PS-2) are exempt from the EPA’s formaldehyde rule. A second phase of compliance kicks in seven years from the rule’s publica-


tion date. At this time, companies still making covered laminated products using a formaldehyde-based or ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resin will be subject to all the testing and certification requirements prescribed in the rule for hardwood plywood producers. Companies using no-added-formaldehyde (NAF) or phenol-formaldehyde (PF) glues will remain exempt from testing and certification. “This will likely prompt laminated product producers to move away from UF resins to NAF/PF, if it is technically feasible, in order to claim the exemption and take advantage of not having to test and certify the intermediate laminated product and demonstrate compliance via chain-of-custody documentation,” said Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. To help companies navigate the new compliance rules for the EPA rule, AHFA has partnered with the International Wood Products Association and Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association to produce a workshop January 18-19 at The Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, N.C. Retail compliance executives interested in attending can register at www.ahfa.us. The cost is $249 and includes lunch and a light breakfast both days.

TM

THE FIRST CHOICE FOR SECONDARY FINANCING

Patricia Bowling is AHFA’s vice president of communications. Since 2000, she has overseen print and web-based communications for the Alliance, including the Furniture Executive membership newsletter, all emailed bulletins and alerts, and all press releases pertaining to association programs, events and legislative and regulatory activities.

Retail Checklist The EPA’s new Formaldehyde rule starts in September 2017. Here’s how to prepare: • Revolving Lines of Credit • Deferred Interest Options • No Down Payment • Industry Leading Technology • Instant Approvals • No Recourse

Maintain a statement of compliance for all products you sell that are made with hardwood plywood, particleboard or MDF—usually found on invoices or bills of lading. Manufacturers and distributors are required to supply this compliance statement. Make sure the products you carry are labeled properly—on the box or the item itself. The label must show: manufacturer’s name, date of manufacture, and the compliance statement. Keep records of compliance on all products subject to the regulation—with date of purchase and name of supplier. Records must be kept for three years.

Las Vegas Market Jan 22 - 26, 2017 Retailer Resource Center | B1050 - 4 1.866.785.0235 | tcsmarketing@twcs.com | www.tidewater.credit

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© 2016 Tidewater Finance Company™. All rights reserved. Program may not be available OCTOBER | 2016 in all states. 57


HFACOMMUNITY Darvin Furniture named premier Illinois retailer

Steven, right, and their store , Darvin Furniture were named Illinois’ top retailers.

HFA member Darvin Furniture has been recognized as the 2016 Retailer of the Year by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. The family-owned business is one of the Top 100 furniture retailers in the country.

“It’s a huge honor and we intend to live up to it over the coming year,” said Marty Darvin, co-owner of the store. “It’s an honor because it shows how much we care about and take care of our customers. Having the right product and providing

it at a good value are important, but you have to take care of your customers and we do that. I’m just so happy for the entire Darvin family, which is all of our employees.” For 38 years the Retailer of the Year Award has been bestowed upon many of Illinois’ most important retailers and some of the state’s most innovative businesses. Last year’s recipient was Aldi Foods. The award recognizes an Illinois retailer for their success in sales, as well as their commitment to giving back to their community and employees. With more than 200,000 square feet of showroom space, Darvin Furniture features the leading brands’ latest home furnishings at the guaranteed lowest prices in Chicagoland. “We are constantly working to make the Darvin shopping experience the best it can be,” said Steve Darvin, Marty’s brother and co-owner. “We take great pride in offering the area’s most complete collection of quality furniture and mattresses at the most competitive prices.” The Darvin brothers, Marty left, and

Vance Furniture celebrating 75 years in business HFA member Vance Furniture of Henderson, N.C., is turning 75 this fall, and nobody is more amazed and delighted than Craig Bailey, the store’s second-generation owner. “We’ve been through a lot when you think about the recession, the changes in sourcing out of the country,” Bailey said. “It’s great not just to be still around, but doing well,” Vance traces its roots back to 1941

when Grover C. Kester closed the doors to his furniture store in Roanoke Rapid, N.C., in 1941 and moved 50 miles east to Henderson, N.C. Kester brought an employee with him, Hayden C. Bailey, who eventually bought the store from Kester. Hayden Bailey’s son, Craig, grew up working in the store and eventually took over for good in 1989. He now runs the store with his business partner George Harper. At 78,

Harper has no plans of slowing down. “He runs circles around us all,” said Bailey. The store, which draws customers from Raleigh and southern Virginia, started running specials in October to celebrate the anniversary. “We’ve been very fortunate to have so many customers travel so far to see and do business with us,” he said. “This is our way of saying thank you to them.”

At 50, El Dorado gets a new look, new store What do you get a top-100 furniture store that’s turning 50? For starters, a new store. And a new logo. HFA member El Dorado Furniture has bought a vacant building in Naples, Fla. and will convert it into the company’s second Gulf Coast store late next year. The retailer purchased a 45,000-squarefoot former Sports Authority in an area of north Naples that is home to many 44

higher-income neighborhoods. The new showroom will be about a 45-minute drive south from its 65,000-square-foot Fort Myers location, which the company opened two years ago. El Dorado has also unveiled its new logo in preparation for its 50th anniversary next year at a recent celebration. The unveiling took place at a ceremony attended by the company’s board of directors, executives and more than 200 employees, at the top 100 furniture retailer’s corporate office. Vice president and chief operations

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RetailerNOWmag.com

officer Pedro Capó was one of the executives at the ceremony where the announcement was made. “We are so grateful to this great nation for opening its doors to our family, and for giving us the freedom to be able to provide jobs and security to so many families for the last 50 years here at El Dorado” he said. The new logo incorporates a large, gold 50 with the company’s vintage red logo. As part of the company’s anniversary campaign, El Dorado Furniture will be giving back to Florida’s community by participating in various community service projects throughout 2017.


HFACOMMUNITY HFA members in Louisiana reach out to flood victims Two months after torrential rains and flood devastated Louisiana, HFA retailers are trying to meet the demands of residents who lost their homes and furnishings. “It’s not slowing down,” says Kirk Casemore of Galeries Acadiana in Baton Rouge, La. “If anything it’s just now starting to heat up.” Officials estimate more than 60,000 houses were damaged in the storm and ensuing flooding. FEMA says 109,398 households have applied for assistance. Casemore says many of his neighbors have spent the past two months

scrambling to find housing. Many people are coming into his store looking for low-end furniture to get them through the first year or two, he says, or they’re choosing special order packages that will take longer, thus buying them time to find a new home or gut and clean the one they live in now. Casemore says his store is telling flood victims they can have an extra 5 percent off any sale price. “If we’ve got something marked at 30 percent off, they’re going to get it at 35 percent off,” he says. “Our customers have been loyal to us through the years. Now it’s our turn to help them.”

Across town at Gerard Furniture and Gallery, HFA member Gerard Ruth said his store experienced a wave of consumers wanting TVs and recliners shortly after the waters began to receed. Like Casemore, Ruth’s customers are now placing special orders, hoping to use the extra time to find a new house or clean out their damaged house they currently live in. “They’re looking at two to three months out,” but if it comes in and they still don’t have a place or aren’t ready, we’ll work with them,” says Gerard. “This is something we just haven’t seen before of this size, this magnitude.”

Members invited to annual HFA meeting All HFA members are invited to attend the Association’s annual member meeting during the Las Vegas Market. The meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the HFA’s Retailer Resource Center. The RRC is located on the 10th floor of Building B (B-1050). A continental breakfast will be served.

Welcome New HFA Members The HFA recognizes and welcomes the following new members to the Association:

HFA Networking

371 Furniture Brainerd, MN

Fuller’s Favorite Finds Ionia, MI

Lisa Michaels

Aaron Karvonen

The Home Furnishings Association provides networking and education events across the country throughout the year.

Alexander Grundland

Hilda Lahiji

Jeff Eckler

New England Holiday Bash

Cathy Womeldorf

Alexander’s Furniture Stockton, CA

Furniture 2000 Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

Jim Plou

Mark Sal

Design Center Associates Santa Ana, CA

Furniture City Paramus, NJ

Mojtahed Suleiman

Poonam Rakkar

Diana Furniture Bridgeview, IL

Furniture Floors & More Sacramento, CA

Mac Alavi

New Furniture Factory Outlet Rock Hill, SC

Karvonen’s Perham, MN

Mattress Surplus-Leather Express San Marcos, CA

Thursday, Dec. 8, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Framingham, Mass. (Networking, appetizers and beverages)

Hulis Mavruk

RSVP by Nov. 30 to kmitchell@myHFA.org

Mavruk Decor Lynbrook, NY

Moe Jibawi

Moe’s Furniture & Mattress Gallery Chicago, IL

Greg Hoffman Scandinavia Inc. Metairie, LA

HFA Web-Ed

TOPGOLF Networking

Wednesday, Feb. 22 The Colony, Texas (Networking, appetizers and beverages) RSVP by Feb. 13 to kmitchell@myHFA.org

Visit myhfa.org/events for more information and registration.

Do you have something for the HFA Community? Send your information and hi-res photos to Robert Bell, rbell@myhfa.org. RetailerNOWmag.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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INDUSTRYCALENDAR Winter Las Vegas Market

2017

January 22-26 Las Vegas Lasvegasmarket.com

Tupelo Furniture Market January 5-8 Tupelo, Mississippi Tupelofurnituremarket.com

NY NOW

Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market

February 4-8 New York Nynow.com

January 10-17 Atlanta Americasmart.com

Dallas Market Center

Atlanta International Area Rug Market January 11-15 Atlanta Americasmart.com

Dallas International Lighting Market January 18-22 Dallas Dallasmarketcenter.com

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market January 18-24 Dallas Dallasmarketcenter.com

ADINDEX Amber Engine (877) 615-2121 amberengine.com amberengine @amberengine Page 35

Las Vegas Market (888) 962-7469 lasvegasmarket.com wmclv @worldmarketctr Page 7

ProfitSystems (800) 888-5565 profitsystems.com PROFITsystems @PROFITsystems Page 9

Surya (877) 275-7847 surya.com SuryaSocial @SuryaSocial Inside Cover

Connie Post (304) 736-7283 conniepost.com Page 29

MicroD (800) 964-3876 microdinc.com microdinc @microdinc Inside Back Cover

STORIS (888) 4-STORIS storis.com STORIS.solutions @STORIS Page 5

Tidewater (800) 535-4087 x6553 tidewaterfinance.com Tidewater Finance Company @TidewaterMotor Page 43

Northwest Furniture Xpress (828) 475-6377 nwfxpress.com Back Cover

Sunbrella (336) 221-2211 sunbrella.com sunbrella @sunbrella Page 33

High Point Market (336) 869-1000 highpointmarket.org HighPtMarket @hpmarketnews Page 3 Furniture Wizard (619) 869-7200 furniturewizard.com furniturewizard @furniturewiz Page 17

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To advertise in RetailerNow contact Lynn Orr at (916) 757-1160.

RetailerNOWmag.com


NOWLIST If James Bond pushed papers

Portable relaxation The Dutchtub is a portable, wood-fired hot tub. Made of fiberglass and stainless steel, it weighs 165 pounds, holds 171 gallons of water and seats up to four people. The tub costs about $5,700.

The Woolsey Agent Desk, by designer Sean Woolsey, pays homage to James Bond with details like a built-in leather mouse pad that opens to secret storage with a magnetic wood geode (provided).

Source: Seanwoolsey.com Source: Dutchtub.com

87% of Millennials have their smartphone by their side 24/7

Attached at the hip

Floating furniture?

Source: Think with Google

Let’s do the wave

Designer Robert van Embricqs’ Rising collection is crafted to create the illusion of levitation. Each piece is flat and hinged and when “unfolded” it turns into a chair or side table or table. Source: Robertvanembricqs.com

Artist Sebastian Erruzuriz’s Wave cabinet opens like a fan. It’s made of up to 100 Baltic birch slats, each connected to its neighbor so moving one slat starts a wave of motion.

RetailerNOWmag.com

Source: meetsebastian.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER | 2016

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IIs

THE WAY WE WERE

W

e started out in the building across the street (top photo) before moving across the street in 1993. I grew up in Sag Harbor. That older building has been here for more than 100 years. When I was a kid it was a music store then an appliance store—it’s been a little bit of everything really. We started selling pine furniture from Europe and we built our own tables. We

started bringing in upholstery in the 1990s and slowly transitioned out of pine to upholstery. We still sell a few antiques, but today it’s almost all Lee Industries. The Hamptons have changed so much over the years. It’s become so big in the summer. Everyone wants to be here in June, July and August. Maybe we needed to change if we wanted to be here, too. Jill Markowski Fisher’s, Sag Harbor, N.Y.

 Share your old photograph and memory by contacting Robert Bell at 916.757.1169 or rbell@myhfa.org

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SHARING OUR APPRECIATION &

THANKS

We give thanks for your faithful business, your staff, and your desire to share beautiful home furnishings online. DISCOVER US.

www.microdinc.com | solutions@microdinc.com | 800-964-3876 FurnitureToday Leadership Conference | November 29 - December 1 | Lake Buena Vista, FL


Selling Local Art with Furniture NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Issue

Standard • Expedite • Extreme Expedite Service

Vol. 5 Issue 10

The Fastest Way to the Northwest

Northwest Furniture Express - The leading transporter of New Furniture to the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. Our personalized hands on approach to servicing our customers needs sets us apart from the rest.

Please contact Grant Laidlaw VP Sales at 778-549-3188 or glaidlaw@nwfxpress.com to review your transportation needs.

• Ocean Container Transload • Local/Regional Distribution Locations: Tacoma, WA Mira Loma, CA • Morganton, NC Fax: 828-584-2101 • Phone: 866-440-0064 Email: sales@NWFXpress.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

• Pool Distribution • LTL Consolidations

RetailerNOW November/December 2016  
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