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J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

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www.WHFA.org

Does Your Store

Have a Story to Tell?

CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED Western Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, #6 Roseville, CA 95678 est.1944

June/July 2010


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J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

western retailer

EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor: Melissa Dressler................................ mdressler@whfa.org Publisher: Melissa Robinson............................................ mrobinson@whfa.org

table of contents featured articles

Advertising Manager: Cindi Williams..............................cwilliams@whfa.org

Showroom Style Does Your Store Have a Story to Tell? . ............................... 10

2010 WHFA OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WHFA PRESIDENT Claudia LeClair - Fiesta Home Furnishings, Scottsdale, AZ...............(480) 951-3239 PRESIDENT ELECT Angel Lopez - Dearden’s, Los Angeles, CA........................................(213) 362-9600

It’s All About Sales and Marketing FACEBOOK Ain’t A Fad................. 20

VICE PRESIDENT Chris Sanders - Everton Mattress Factory, Inc., Twin Falls, ID..........(208) 326-3407 TREASURER Valerie Watters - Valerie’s Furniture and Accents, Cave Creek, AZ....(480) 483-3327 SECRETARY Lael Thompson - Broyhill Home Collections, Aurora, CO...................(303) 360-9653

Get Involved! National Home Furnishings Month – Is it Home Yet?™............. 26

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR Marty Cramer - Cramer’s Home Furnishings, Ellensburg, WA...........(509) 933-2172 PAST PRESIDENTS George Nader - Nader’s La Popular, Gardena, CA............................(310) 327-8585 Cherie Rose - The Rose Collection, Los Gatos, CA...........................(408) 395-7773 EXECUTIVE director

Rep’s Perspective 5.5 Secret Strategies You and Your Furniture Sales Reps Can Use to Grow Your Business............ 28

Sharron Bradley - WHFA, Roseville, CA.............................................(916) 784-7677 AT LARGE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBers Gary Absalonson - Walker’s Furniture Inc., Spokane, WA.................(509) 533-5500 Howard Haimsohn - Lawrance Contemporary, San Diego, CA.......... (619) 291-1911 Marvin Kerby - Kerby’s Furniture, Mesa, AZ.......................................(480) 834-3888 Karen Kohlman - West Harvard Furniture, Roseburg. OR.................(541) 673-4221 WHFA/NHFA Liaison

in every issue

David Harkness - Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA...........................(253) 473-1234 WHFA Board Members

Member Profiles: Learn More about the Four Retailer of the Year Nominees . . . . . . . . . 15

Carol Bell - Contents, Tucson, AZ......................................................(520) 881-6900 Buzz Burnett - Treasures Furniture, San Diego, CA...........................(858) 586-1900 Gene DeMeerleer - Furniture West, LaGrande, OR...........................(541) 963-5440 Chris Ehgoetz - Michael Alan, Lake Havasu City, AZ........................(928) 855-6067

Western Retailer Celebrates 20 Years Shannon Smith, WHFA 2000-2005 . . . . . . 19

Mark Flegel - Flegel’s Home Furniture, Menlo Park, CA....................(650) 326-9661 Eric Foucrier - Linder’s Furniture Mart, Garden Grove, CA................(714) 210-4848 Travis Garrish - Forma Furniture, Fort Collins, CO.............................(970) 204-9700

Industry Beat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Giff Gates - Gates Furniture, Grants Pass, OR..................................(541) 476-4627

Program of the Month: Banner Marketing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

John Grootegoed - Elite Leather, Chino, CA......................................(800) 826-9971 Eric Harms - Black’s Home Furnishings, Yreka, CA...........................(530) 842-3876 Jerome James - Hafer’s Home Furnishings, Manteca, CA.................(209) 823-2122 Julian Jeppe - Reeds Furniture, Agoura Hills, CA..............................(818) 597-7800 Chuck Kill - Bedmart, Tucson, AZ.......................................................(520) 887-7039

contact

Tim Koerner - Koerner Furniture, Coeur D’Alene, ID..........................(208) 666-1525 Don Lemieux - Naturwood, Rancho Cordova, CA..............................(916) 638-2424 Jeff Lindsley - Lindsley’s Home Furnishings, Grangeville, ID.............(208) 983-1040

Phone:

Robert Myers - Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Chico, CA....................(530) 345-2616 Mark Navarra - Jerome’s, San Diego, CA..........................................(858) 753-1549 Michael Nermon - Ergo Customized Comfort, Irvine, CA...................(949) 833-0338

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Scott Selden - Selden’s - Tacoma, WA...............................................(253) 922-5700 Mike Shuel - Meredith Furniture, Yakima, WA....................................(509) 452-6221 Tom Slater - Slater’s Home Furnishings, Modesto, CA......................(209) 522-9097 WESTERN HOME FURNISHINGS ASSOCIATION STAFF Executive Director: Sharron Bradley................................................(916) 960-0345 Asst. Exec./Marketing Director: Kaprice Crawford..........................(916) 960-0346 Business Manager: Janice Carlson..................................................(916) 960-0347

(800) 422-3778 (12 western states) (916) 784-7677 Online: www.WHFA.org Fax: (916) 784-7697 Mail: 500 Giuseppe Court, Suite 6 Roseville, CA 95678 Twitter: www.twitter.com/WesternRetailer Facebook: www.facebook.com\WesternRetailer

Events Manager: Cindi Williams.......................................................(916) 960-0277

Western Home Furnishings Association is the western affiliate of National Home Furnishings Association

Operations/Warehouse Manager: Jef Spencer...............................(916) 960-0386 Communications Planning Manager: Melissa Robinson................(916) 960-0349 Managing Editor & Webmaster: Melissa Dressler...........................(916) 960-0385 Membership Manager: Michael Hill..................................................(916) 960-0263 Member Services Specialist: Margie Jacobs...................................(916) 960-0199 Member Services Rep: Adam Gardner............................................(916) 960-0291 Accounting Assistant: Melody King.................................................(916) 960-2476

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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President’s Message

Hi everyone! I just returned from WHFA’s Conference, and I’m full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. I had very high expectations for this conference, and I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I think it was one of the best we have ever had in terms of speakers, seminars and the education that was provided. For those of you who were unable to attend, it was held at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa at the Disneyland® Resort. The hotel was just steps away from the entrance of both Disneyland® and California Adventure, so in addition to the education, we were in a venue centered around having fun! The opening speaker was a gentleman by the name of Ken Schmidt from HarleyDavidson. He spoke to us about how Harley-Davidson overcame the competition from Japanese motorcycles and their much lower price points. Rather than engaging in a price war, Harley-Davidson competed using a very different approach — the top management engaged consumers one-on-one, out in the “field”. Over time by using this model, Harley-Davidson became the world-renowned brand they are today. The next speaker was someone we were all looking forward to hearing Bruce Kimbrell from the Disney Institute. He spoke to us about Brand Loyalty and how Disney has achieved it. Within that main topic, he spoke of building repeat business by studying your audience so you know who your customers are, creating a sustainable competitive advantage by identifying emerging trends and developing a positive wordof-mouth reputation. I could go on and on, as this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as information we received through these two educational sessions and the myriad of other seminars we attended. Next year, the conference will be held in conjunction with the National Home Furnishings Association and will take place at the Westin on the River Walk in San Antonio, TX, April 30 - May 2, 2011. I urge you all to make time in your busy lives for this event. Without continuing education, we become stagnant and businesses need a constant stream of new ideas to keep things fresh and alive. Within the first two hours of this year’s conference, I came away with an idea that I plan on implementing that will significantly enhance my business. I’d like to thank our sponsors once again for their support of WHFA and our conference. We couldn’t do this without them, and we’re so appreciative of the fact that they realize the importance of the association for our industry. And I would like to give a special thanks to the WHFA staff for their hard work putting this conference together — you out-did yourselves this time!

Claudia LeClair 2010 WHFA president

Fiesta Furnishings / Brix Home Scottsdale, AZ (480) 951-3239 fiestaclaudia@aol.com

ON THE COVER Nebraska Furniture Mart, from the “Does Your Store Have a Story to Tell?” article found on page 10.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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Editor’s Message The Apple Experience Have you been in an Apple store lately? I recently visited our local store to purchase a new charger for my iPhone, after I lost my original charger during WHFA’s Conference in Anaheim. The first thing I noticed as I walked through the bright, clean entry was a sea of blue shirts — all assisting interested buyers. As I walked in, I was greeted numerous times by cheery, techie salespeople. Their cheery attitude and eagerness to help me with anything I needed put a smile to my face. As I walked further into the store towards the iPhone accessories display, I was surrounded by MacBooks, iPods, iPhones and iPads, all of which customers were busy playing with. The atmosphere in the Apple store was fun and relaxing, which made me want to hang out and relax for awhile. I approached the wall which nicely displayed all of the different chargers, cases, headphones and cables any person would ever need. I found my charger, along with a new iPhone cover, and then looked around for the register. I didn’t see one. I kept looking and was approached by another blue-shirt salesperson asking, “Are you ready to check out?” I answered yes, and he asked if I would be paying with cash or credit. As soon as the words credit came out of my mouth, the salesperson whipped out his iPhone and started ringing me up! I didn’t need to walk to a computer or a counter, the register came to me. His iPhone was outfitted with a special casing that allowed him to scan my items, input all of my data and swipe my credit card. Then, when he was finished with my transaction, he asked if he could email me my receipt. I gave him my email address, and he put my purchases in a bag and off I went. A few minutes later, I received a ding on my phone and my receipt was waiting in my email inbox. I thought the entire encounter in the store was friendly, efficient and very cool. Maybe allowing each salesperson to have an iPhone to use in your store isn’t a realistic idea, but what about purchasing a few iPads for your salespeople to share. Throughout WHFA’s Conference in May, I witnessed numerous vendors using the iPad to show product demos and heard even more discussing how they were going to purchase iPads to do the same thing. Why can’t you have your salespeople use an iPad in your store to instantly show customers new room designs, other style options, prices at other stores, etc.? Jim “Mack” McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, TX spoke during the conference and mentioned that his sales staff now carries around the iPad and they use it for all of these things. He mentioned that by using the iPad in their store, the salespeople now have a way to quickly and efficiently answer any question or objection that the customer might have to the sale. By incorporating the use of these technology tools, you can give your salespeople more opportunities to close the sale. Your store will also most likely come off as a “forward-thinking” business by using technology throughout the sales process. Customers will leave thinking the process was efficient and it gives your business a “cool and fun” factor like the Apple stores. This issue of Western Retailer magazine includes many great articles including the feature story on how to tell a story through your merchandise. There is also a special section highlighting the four nominees for WHFA’s 2010 Western Retailer of the Year award. I hope you enjoy this issue and look into finding ways to incorporate a “cool” Apple-like experience into your business.

Melissa Dressler Western Retailer managing editor

(916) 960-0385 MDressler@whfa.org

looking forward

J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

western retailer ating 20 years

May 2010

celebr

to August 2010

www.WHFA.org

RETAILER OF THE yEAR

• How Salespeople Can Increase Store Traffic • Motivating Your Sales Staff on a Budget • Las Vegas Market • A Day in a Buyer’s Shoes

HW Home

Last month’s magazine is available online at www.WHFA.org.

... and much more

CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED Western Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, #6 Roseville, CA 95678 est.1944

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JUne/July 2010

western retailer

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


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Showroom Style

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ask

Nebr

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t Mar Nebraska Furniture Mart

Store

Does Your Have a Story to Tell?

S George Whalin Retail Management Consultants president and CEO

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JUne/July 2010

tore design, layout and merchandising have just one purpose and that is to provide customers with compelling reasons to buy. What can be surprising is just how many ways there are to accomplish this goal. Merchandise display and signage play a key role in how you communicate with customers and tell a story. At the same time, themes, lighting, fixtures and props all help create the kind of store where customers want to buy. When the economy was growing, the number of home furnishings showrooms offering elegant and expensive merchandise grew as well. These retailers catered to the needs of an increasing number of affluent shoppers. Affluent home furnishings shoppers have long expected beautifully designed showrooms and an exceptional shopping experience from the stores they frequented. At that time, we also saw the growth of experience-oriented retailers such as Jordan’s Furniture in New England and Gallery Furniture in Texas. While there are merchandise and store size differences between these two retailers, each one has always done a great job of communicating their story through merchandising. Also during the growth years such warehouse clubs as Costco and Sam’s expanded their home furnishings offerings to satisfy the needs of timeconscious, value-oriented customers. Warehouse club merchants communicate their story in a simple and straightforward way. This Spartan approach to merchandising says, “We don’t really care about the ambiance and the subtleties of

western retailer

Nell Hill

great merchandising. If you like the product and the price, then buy it!” In today’s highly competitive retail environment it is not enough just to create a layout, add some lighting and fill the space with merchandise. Customers coming into a home furnishings store have experienced a widerange of shopping environments and expect the shopping experience you provide to be on par or better than those of other home furnishings merchants both large and small. Two great examples of how to create a memorable shopping experience can be found in the Kansas City marketplace. On one side of town is Nebraska Furniture Mart’s largest store. This legendary Nebraska-based retailer’s giant Kansas City superstore covers more than 400,000 square feet on an expansive 88 acres. By every measure, the store is highly successful and visually spectacular offering a compelling story to thousands of shoppers every year. On the other side of Kansas City is Nell Hill’s with a 16,000-square-foot store in the upscale Briarcliff Shopping Center. Unlike the commoditized approach to selling home furnishings, the experience here is built around great merchandise, tasteful selection and an attention to detail that is unattainable in a superstore or warehouse club. While there are obvious differences, some interesting similarities exist between these two stores. Yes, both sell home furnishings, occupy two-story buildings, and do an outstanding job of merchandising their stores and telling their story.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


How Nebraska Furniture Mart Tells its Story Because of the sheer size of Nebraska Furniture Mart and its well-known history among Midwest furniture shoppers, much of the storytelling there is accomplished by creating large departments for each individual category and displaying expansive selections of merchandise. They also do an excellent job of communicating their story with attractive, well-placed signage. The Nebraska Furniture Mart story is built around the founder’s desire to do business with integrity while providing home furnishings buyers with a large selection of merchandise at fair prices. The layout of each department throughout Nebraska Furniture Mart provides customers with broad selections of stylish, moderate-tobetter merchandise in wide varieties of styles. Departments filled with recliners, beds and accessories don’t necessarily require much storytelling. But departments devoted to designer merchandise, electronics and even office furniture often require a more focused approach presenting an opportunity to tell a more compelling story. Supported with signage these departments are prime examples of the store’s ability to effectively tell their story. The Designer Department, separated from the rest of the store by its own walls, uses unique flooring materials that include hardwoods and better-quality area rugs. Special lighting has been installed to enhance the look of this upscale merchandise. As the customer enters this department all of the components relay the message, “This merchandise is different.” While there is a large area in the front of the store devoted to accessories and smaller items, more accessories are displayed throughout the store. One such area called “Dream The Possibilities” includes contemporary sofas, occasional chairs, living room tables, and lamps along with a selection of accents and accessories that are inviting to customers. This small department within this large store tells a compelling story.

that captures the imagination of customers and compels them to buy. The Nell Hill’s story is also told with a level of customer attention and service that can’t possibly exist in a giant superstore. The story begins at the front door with a pleasant welcome and greeting from the concierge/greeter. Unlike the greeters found in some mass merchants stores whose job is to ensure customers aren’t walking out with merchandise they haven’t paid for, the greeter at Nell Hill’s is there to make you feel welcome and provide any guidance or direction you may need in the store. For many years, shopping for home furnishings meant going to a particular department within a store to find a specific item. It often resulted in buying matching bedroom or living room furniture along with whatever accessories were shown with that suite of furniture. In recent years, a growing number of home furnishings retailers have discovered that more and more consumers don’t want a cookie-cutter home that looks like everyone else’s in the community. They want to create a look that reflects their own interests and tastes. Nell Hill’s encourages shoppers to do just that. The store is jam-packed with home furnishings, accents and accessories presented in a way that gives customers decorating ideas for creating exactly the kind of home they want. The overall merchandising story at Nell Hill’s may best be described as eclectic. In order to get the full experience of this smallish store, shoppers must visit every room, look in every corner, under and around tables and pay attention to every detail. A visit to Nell Hill’s is simply a shopping adventure that is sure to turn up some treasures. For individual displays and rooms, the merchandise can be decidedly different. For example a plain white metal bed can be outfitted with whimsical and colorful bedding telling one kind of story. Another bed can be outfitted with colorful yet more traditional bedding and tell another story. continued on page 12

How Nell Hill’s Tells its Story At Nell Hill’s, the story is told through creative merchandising and dynamic presentation. The Nell Hill’s story begins with merchandise that is not available elsewhere. With unique merchandise that is beautifully displayed, owner Mary Carol Garrity has created a store

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

Nell Hill

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JUne/July 2010

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iture Gallery Furn

Nebraska Furniture Mart

continued from page 11

Among the common themes at Nell Hill’s are rooms that feature related merchandise of differing styles. For example, contemporary accents and tabletop items can be found displayed on a non-matching, traditional dining room table and sideboard. Nell Hill’s story is always about giving the customer plenty of choices. Visual dynamics play an important part of the merchandising story with walls being repainted different colors every year using the store’s own paint brand. Unique artwork fills the walls, and tables and virtually every other flat surface display accessories, linens and other decorating items.

Using Themes and Focal Points to Tell a Story Merchandising themes are among the many tools retailers have to tell a story. The theme of an individual display can be as simple as several relatable or similar items shown on a wall, table, fixture or floor. Themes can also be built around seasons or holidays. A well-executed, themed display captures customer attention and sells lots of merchandise. Another of those tools is to create strong, attention grabbing focal points with individual displays and throughout the store. For example, the photo shows one of the accessory areas in Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Omaha store. As you can see, the large, light colored clocks both in the front of the department and on the back wall stand out and draw your eyes into the display area. Another thing that makes the area stand out is the large amount of merchandise displayed in this small space. This is all part of telling the Nebraska Furniture Mart’s story.

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Creatively designed walls and room dividers create strong focal points as well. The photo above is an example of a wall in the newly remodeled Gallery Furniture in Houston, TX. The store’s area rug department can be seen through the portals in this. In this room vignette, the back wall with seethrough windows creates the feeling of a mountain home or cabin. The props including the canoe hanging from the ceiling and the deer on top of the television cabinet contribute to the story. Two sporting goods chains rank among the best experience-oriented retailers in the country. Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World use props to tell their stories and create true destinations for shoppers. Most of the Bass Pro shops have large tanks displaying colorful live fish. Cabela’s stores feature multiple displays of lifelike animals in natural settings to tell the story of being in the outdoor fishing and hunting business. Many retailers don’t have or are unwilling to dedicate the space needed to display props and other non-selling features. Those that do employ dynamic, attention-grabbing props have found it to be a powerful way to tell a story and delight customers. Using signage, props and effective merchandise displays as tools to tell a story and capture customer attention is something every retailer can do. I have found that visiting other creative retailers can inspire and bring about your own ideas. And it’s not just other home furnishings stores that have good ideas. You will find great merchandising ideas in all kinds of stores large and small from national chain stores to individual boutiques.

George Whalin is the president and CEO of Retail Management Consultants based in Carlsbad, California. He is an author and frequently speaks at retail trade shows and conferences. His newest book is Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America. To subscribe to his monthly, free email newsletter, go to www.whalinonretail.com.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


Because Your Success Is More Than Inventory! SEMINARS • WAREHOUSE PRODUCTS • PROGRAMS • SERVICES • COMPLEMENTARY REFRESHMENTS • INTERNET CAFE

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association Join us in the RRC during the Las Vegas Market Building B, 16th Floor Building C, 4th Floor


Monday August 2

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The Twelve R's of Selling

Salvaging the Good Ship Retail

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Philip Gutsell GutSELL & Associates

Jim Grandillo JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

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The Marketing Trifecta — Email, Google Local and Video

Mike Egan, Ron Cooper, Hector Mustafa Profit Management Promotions Granting Credit — Risks & Rewards Pat Nanda Creative Business Decisions

The Art of Merchandising

Ken Mahar Email Broadcast

Bob Moorman JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

True Cost of Home Delivery

The Psychology of the Sale

Kevin Truett Speedy Delivery

Brad Huisken IAS Training

Dave Bruno Escalate Retail Creating a Compelling Culture — How to Find Your Niche

Four Things You Can Still do to Make 2010 Successful!

Gerry Morris InnerSpring

Doug Knorr Knorr Marketing

The Science of Sleep — Don't Sell Mattresses, Sell the Quality of Life

It Ain't Just About Sales

Ron Wolinski Profitability Consulting Group

Joe Milevsky JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

Thriving in the New Retail Climate Brad Huisken IAS Training

The Business Survival Academy Series with World Market Center - World Forum Room 4:00 - 5:00pm

Free Seminars during Las Vegas Market

Building B—16th Floor

Retail Revolution: New World, New Way

Creating a Brand with Personality

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender KIZER & BENDER Speaking!

Mary Liz Curtin Leon & Lulu

Seminars are brought to you by:

Visit www.WHFA.org for full seminar descriptions and a list of RRC activities.

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2010 Retailer of the Year Nominee Committed to recognizing and rewarding the contributions of home furnishings businesses dedicated to building industry excellence, the Western Retailer of the Year Award is the home furnishings industry’s highest honor. The following stories are about four exceptional retail operations that were 2010 Western Retailer of the Year award nominees. ~ Melissa Dressler

“T

B

AKER ROS.

reat people right and sleep good tonight,” has always been the slogan of Baker Brothers’ owner Bob Baker. In 1969, Bob and his brother Odell opened Baker Brothers Furniture in an old, 1930s auto dealership located in Watsonville, CA. For the last 40 years, the business has been family-owned and operated by the third generation of Bakers, David, his wife Debbie and their son Justin. Along with Bob’s original slogan, Baker Brothers has also adopted the tagline, “If you see it in our store, we can deliver it today or tomorrow — have it now, we make it easy!” since they have a large inventory of products always on hand. Over the last 40 years, the business has thrived and survived through numerous economies, natural disasters and major remodeling projects. In 1989, the town of Watsonville and Baker Brothers, experienced the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which damaged the original Baker Brothers location. The entire building had to be retro-fitted for earthquakes and received structural upgrades. While they were fixing their own building, Baker Brothers also reached out to their local community that was greatly affected by the earthquake. They worked closely with the Red Cross to supply appliances to people that were in need. In 1990, Baker Brothers partnered again with the local Red Cross after floods hit the Pajaro Valley. The store provided appliances and furniture to those in need. The new millennium also meant a new store for Baker Brothers. In 2004, David began to plan a major renovation project to the Baker Brothers showroom. “We consulted several designers and finally chose a Brand Source designer from Atlanta,” he said. “The designer worked to improve the interior and exterior of the building, while still preserving architectural features that make the building unique to its original era and the town of Watsonville. The designer also created a plan to improve the environmental efficiency of the structure.” While Baker Brothers is a family-owned business, they would not be as successful as they are today without the dedication and support from many of their long-time employees. Frank Paiva provides professional customer service in his native language, Portuguese, as well as in English and Spanish. He is responsible for arranging the furniture sales floor and has been with the company for 32 years. Another long-time employee is Rosalio Flores who has been with Baker Brothers for 19 years and gives customers top-notch furniture delivery and appliance installation. Baker Brothers and its employees are very involved in the local community by providing support to organizations such as Girl Scouts, American Red Cross, The Rotary Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation and many local schools and community organizations. In 2006, the business was awarded The Business of the Year Award by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Baker Brothers has their sights set on future expansion once the economic climate shifts. These plans include creating a Sleep Source store within the Baker Brothers location, and expanding into other categories such as TV and entertainment. Baker Brothers was nominated for the 2010 Western Retailer of the Year award due to their continuous effort to treat their customers and employees right and their contributions to the local community.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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2010 Retailer of the Year Nominee

W

hen Ron Anderson, Don Harmon and George Harmon heard the news that the home furnishings store they had all given so much of their lives to, McMahan’s Furniture, was closing after 50 years of business, they decided to pool together their money and over 100 years of combined experience to create the ultimate furniture retail store designed completely around fulfilling the needs of the customer. “EMS Home Furnishings was born; even the name describes the business model that we designed around customer service. The EMS stands for Employees – McMahan’s – Serving,” said Ron. “EMS Home Furnishings also stands for honest customer service, and we are a store that stands behind the customer’s needs no matter who is right or wrong.” The highly-accessorized, 36,000 square foot showroom is easy to navigate with well-designed vignettes throughout. With merchandise available to furnish every room of a house, as well as televisions, EMS Home Furnishings’ goal is to make their customers’ houses feel like home. Along with offering a great value, EMS Home Furnishings offers its customers free delivery that is the fastest in town. Operating their own fleet of delivery and long-haul trucks, they pick up merchandise weekly from vendors to ensure customers’ purchases are delivered quickly to their home. “None of our competitors are offering free local delivery or same day delivery,” said Ron. “By offering this valuable service, it is helping us stand out with the customer.” Focusing on the customer’s wants and needs is one of the main reasons why EMS Home Furnishings has continued to be successful during a time when new home construction and sales have slumped dramatically in the Redding area. By making the customer their No. 1 priority, EMS Home Furnishings has created a loyal following that can’t stop raving about them. “We have had nothing but compliments since we have opened. I get at least two to three calls a week regarding how great our customer service is and how happy our customers are,” Ron said. After less than a year of business, EMS Home Furnishings saw so much success that they started working on the plans to open a second location in Chico, CA. The new store was unveiled during the first quarter of 2010, and they are now in the middle of negotiating their third store location. “Things have been really exciting for us over the last two years,” Ron said. “When we received the phone call that we had been nominated for the 2010 Retailer of the Year we were very humbled,” he added. “With having a combined 100 years of experience among us and being in our first year of business, being nominated for this very special award was very exciting and a great honor.” 16

JUne/July 2010

western retailer

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


2010 Retailer of the Year Nominee

F

ollowing the mission to assist customers in creating their ideal home environment by providing the best customer service possible, Ethan Allen Design Center in Reno, NV was founded in 1977 by brothers, Jack and Leon Simon. “They were second generation furniture purveyors who grew up working in their father’s general furniture store,” said current owner Jeanne Baxter. Jeanne married into the business after meeting Jack while coordinating the local advertising for Ethan Allen in Reno. Soon after Jeanne and Jack married, Ethan Allen Design Center was faced with many economic challenges through the 1979 energy crisis and the 1980s recession which greatly hurt Jack and Leon’s mid-west stores. During the 1980s, any profits that Ethan Allen in Reno made were siphoned off to support Jack and Leon’s other struggling businesses — making it almost impossible for Ethan Allen Reno to display the current lines in their showroom. In 1994, Jeanne suddenly found herself at the helm of a failing business after Jack passed away. “Not only was I devastated by Jack’s death, I was suddenly thrust into a failing business that was struggling under heavy debt — and that was only half the story. The business was not computerized! Everything had been in Jack’s head,” she said. Jeanne looked to her family, friends and long-term employees for support and together they tackled each challenge. “Our greatest asset was an unwavering and dedicated staff, supported by committed family and friends,” Jeanne said. Slowly, Ethan Allen Design Center started to show signs of improvement. The business became computerized and a new accounting system was put in place. They remodeled the showroom, began showing new Ethan Allen displays and established customer service criteria that each employee was to uphold and that are still in effect today. In 2005, Ethan Allen moved to a new location in the center of Reno’s two main arteries. The new store is a beautiful vision with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background. Today, the Ethan Allen Design Center works hard to assist customers in creating their ideal home environment while providing the best customer service possible. “One of our strongest assets and enhancements to our dedication to exemplary customer service is having our Service Center attached to our retail store — a rarity today due to the high cost of retail space — but a successful element that we believe enhances communication between all departments,” Jeanne said. Ethan Allen Design Center was nominated for the 2010 Western Retailer of the Year for their ability to overcome a great challenge and become the thriving business that it is today. Along the way, Ethan Allen Design Center and its employees have provided superb customer service and have given back to the community through supporting numerous organizations and charities. “We have opened our doors to host numerous community events consisting of groups from receptions to over 400 people in or beautiful Design Center which has become known as ‘Reno’s Largest Living Room’,” said Jeanne. As for being nominated for the award, Jeanne said, “Thank you very much. It is a real honor to be nominated for WHFA’s 2010 Retailer of the Year. As an independent dealer we have truly endeavored to represent the vibrant Ethan Allen brand in Northern Nevada. Our entire staff has been terrific in out-creating these recent challenging times, and we are fortunate indeed to have the dynamic innovation and able leadership of Ethan Allen corporate. “While it may seem less common for a branded dealer to avail themselves of an association of general dealers, our membership in the WHFA has proven very valuable indeed in view of the consistent regional support and inspiration we have benefitted from.”

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

western retailer

JUne/July 2010

17


2010 Retailer of the Year Nominee

I

n the early 1980s, Richard Alan Daly and Michael Hammontree joined forces to take over Homeplace Furnishings in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Each used a portion of their names to come up with the name of their new business, Michael Alan. Their short-lived partnership ended in 1981 and the business was purchased by Ab and Shirley Schultz who were moving their family from Ontario, Canada to Lake Havasu City. The early 1980s were a time of great change in Lake Havasu, so Ab and Shirley decided to keep the name of the store as Michael Alan Home Furnishings. With this new business venture, Ab and Shirley worked hard to build a retail operation that was synonymous with good customer service and satisfaction. In 1993, Ab and Shirley’s daughters, Chris and Carrie, purchased the family business. After purchasing the store from their parents, Chris and Carrie strived to never lose the magic of Michael Alan Furnishings, which is the love and dedication to their family, staff, customers and community. The business operates based on their “Spirit Statement” which is also known to many as a mission statement. The Michael Alan Spirit Statement says: Our Michael Alan Family is committed to the highest level of service, respect, and loyalty to our customers, vendors, the community and one another. As a team, we embrace this spirit to make a difference. Through creative effort, each customer will experience our standard of excellence. We shop the world to offer a phenomenal experience, so together we may help you explore your own unique lifestyle. Today customers walk under an awning that states, “Through these doors walk the greatest people… our customers!” and into a 20,000 square foot showroom that caters to them and their needs. Every November, Michael Alan celebrates their customers with the Annual Anniversary Sale Celebration. The event starts with an outdoor pre-party barbeque, which was actually started by customers, and then everyone gathers at the doors in anticipation of walking down the red carpet and witnessing the unveiling of the store. “The store is closed on Friday until 5:00 p.m., and every furniture piece is marked down,” said Chris and Carrie. “We cover the door with paper like it is a big present waiting to be opened. The sale is from 5-8 that evening, and then on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All accessories are 15 percent off as well, and it is a fun and a high-energy event.” Along with taking care of their customers, Chris and Carrie also believe it is important to take care of their employees and give them the recognition they deserve for doing a great job. One of their favorites is the WOW awards. “Each year, we have a box that employees use to show their appreciation of another employee. This year’s was called the WOW box, and the challenge was to WOW each other,” they said. “We have a WOW frog that hops from employee to employee based on their WOWness.” Michael Alan Furnishings and Interior Design was nominated for the Western Retailer of the Year award for the magic they have created with their business. Along with this magic, they have been strong supporters of many local organizations and charities. They recently raised $12,000 to support a local Low Cost Early Detection Mammogram Program by hosting a Party in your PJ’s fundraiser in the Serta Gallery in their store. “Michael Alan was extremely honored to be nominated 2010 Western Retailer of the Year,” said Chris and Carrie. “We love the industry and all the incredible people we meet along this journey. Congratulations to HW Home and continued success and happiness to all. ‘Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.’” 18

JUne/July 2010

western retailer

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating 20 years of Home Furnishings Reporting Twenty years ago, Western Retailer magazine (then known as Western Reporter) blossomed from being a small newsletter, to a full magazine. Join us throughout this year as we look back at the last 20 years with stories, past articles and fun.

s, supervisor, Cindi William e dear friend and previous leg my col en of t wh ou 00 en 20 r be ly yea ford. I had on aw I think it was the Cr ce pri Ka d an es. ne vic La ancial Ser et Dave had arranged for me to me rking as a repossession coordinator for Toyota Fin ch convincing mu wo e en tak be d n’t ha did d it I’ll say that a few years an team as a member ce and meeting the staff, Well, after visiting the offi HFA. I instantly loved what I saw and joined the W th to get me on board wi the vendors, I was services representative. d being a liaison between an rs aile ret the th wi g sting about While I truly enjoyed talkin tions Department. There was just something intere ation and all ica oci un ass really drawn to the Comm ials, the magazine, spreading the word about the ter creating the marketing ma A has to offer the home furnishings retailer. HF W s ng thi ine. Then I began the wonderful nth article for the magaz wrote something Mo the of m gra Pro the Shannon Smith ). You’d know when I I started off by writing (my favorite part of the job ve been two! There was just so much to file Pro er mb Me the Western Reporter g writin uld ha today. r pages long, when it sho contributing writer/ because it was about fou ries of how each business got to where they are sto ng azi am the editor gazine and the share about content research of the ma g, and we the th wi ed olv 2000-2005 inv re mo Eventually, I became a Robinson and Sonja Jan ngside Chris Tejeda, Meliss scheme and consistency throughout each issue. alo d rke wo o als I te. bsi revamping of the we was a look, a color most are still there le to the magazine. There nded by a great team and that I have never collaborated to bring a sty rou sur s wa I h. wt gro ch offered me so mu ce, I will tell you My time at the association “toot their own horns” but since I have the chan the retailer. They are constantly u, lly, yo rea t ut no . It is abo today! I know they can mission of the association ur day-to-day operations. The Western Retailer is the to ted ica ded als du rry about it in yo seen so many indivi ead so you don’t have to wo striving to be one step ah be reading. time, but my experience one magazine you should who was under a year at theat job bringing you a r hte ug da my th wi me ing a gre could be ho I left WHFA in 2005 so I e. Now I am thrilled to see that Mel Dressler is do now, Western Retailer with tim the of life a rs t yea las ll 20 wi and friendships re’s to celebrating continues to evolve. So he ke and the rest of the team! wonderful magazine that Mi , ice Melissa, Mel, Jef, Jan Sharron, Cindi, Kaprice, Cheers! Shannon Smith

(left to right): Vicki Guernsey, Interior Designer; Nancy Farina, CEO and President; Robin Motzer, Interior Designer; Barbara Manhardt, Interior Designer.

Member

PROFILE

Member

Genghis Khan Furniture:

PROFILE

Sharing Chinese History

Anne Wang Chen with

Sharron Bradley, WHFA’s

Executive Director.

but his remarkfor the name recognition, whatever he able success in conquering would serve set out to attain. That motto succeeding years as as an inspiration in the everyone’s the business took off, surpassing branch, under expectations. The San Diego Wang Chen, soon Anne the management of sibling and her grew to include the youngest in Escondido, branch husband with a third the remaining family Ca. In the ensuing years parents spouses, brother, members, sisters, to the states, each and children all relocated positions in the comsibling taking up various consolidating pany’s organization, eventually locations: Guam, their stores into their current Now celebrating San Diego and San Marcos. changed has much U.S., the 26 years here in has remained the and yet the family unity the opportunity to same. WHFA recently had we are pleased to speak with Mrs. Chen and with you on what she share her commentary business, her unique enjoys most about the wonderful the and place, niche in the market at Gengfamily based working environment his Khan Furniture.

Business

Enjoying the oldest of proudly displays and raised in Taiwan, the Genghis Khan Furniture orn in mainland China content to Chinese Kao should have been a large variety of one-of-a-kind Chen herdutiful five siblings, Anna Wang by Mrs. a traditional Chinese woman, antiques hand selected be the typical model of she chose to Mongolia and and loyal daughter. Instead self in her travels to China, so many wife, dedicated mother, per year. During stereotypes that have dominatedcreated Tibet, three to four times challenge centuries old family, and her husband Ms. Kao, along with her these buying trips, she enjoys a of the world’s cultures. and Pacific the of villages in pursuit two sides David Chen, visit different a company that now spans home furnishship back to the as a leader in the Asian of beautiful antiques to gainhighly regarded reputation invaluable, were eye for findan has following college states. While Mrs. Chen on ings field. Her early years are sure to please for a retail furniture company ing unique pieces that ing experience while working Leaving behind her husband’s situated island of Guam. her clients discerning tastes, the tiny, but strategically but ultimately structural integrity difficult to say the least, specialty is inspecting the learned, her family and home was viable candidates the lessons and skills she to determine if they are the sacrifice paid off. Utilizing if need be. and opened her first store. for repair and/or refinishing Ms. Kao took a bold step siblings, corher of aid the generally occupy enlisted These antiques, which As the business grew, she but the military floor inventory, are only of the local islanders 70% of Genghis Khan’s nering the market not a deal with the by container. as well. Ms. Kao struck then shipped to California families stationed there bustling base that “My staff has second location on the According to Mrs. Chen, looking for U.S. military to open a Christmas every 3 influx of new consumers commented that it is like guaranteed an ever-changing a few years have containers back to the states. Within weeks, because they always exotic furnishings to take her younger sending decision, trips can often business to unpack.” These buying a branch she made another shrewd Mrs. Chen states, “It to the west coast, establishing With its take over 30 days and sister, Anne Wang Chen, Diego. San of city village to village port California is very hard to travel from location in the southern by the milisupported in large part accommodations are to expand and often times the mild climate and an economy all worth while when siblings saw an opportunity very primitive, but it is tary, Ms. Kao and her fellow the specialized and comment securing a foothold in clients come into the store their consumer base while continues, She on the beautiful pieces.” not only home furnishings market. ghis Khan, was chosen The company’s namesake-Gen

B A QUICK LOOK

Type of Furniture: Import Number of Employees: 8-10 Year Founded: 1978 Number of Locations: 3 Location: San Diego WHFA Member Since: 1989

Contact your association 20

W ESTERN R EPORTER

(800) 422-3778 at www.WHFA.org or

has the San Diego store. Kathleen the store to does the “Clients have even compared been there 21 years and they are able and Sandra, a museum, but in our store merchandising and design their homes.” Mrs. years, handles to bring the pieces into who has been there 16 on her excellent brother-in-laws, Chen when complimented sales. Of all the siblings because my clients involved in taste, replies; “It is easy Mr. Chen is the only one well versed in have the same taste I do.” the business. He is very of Mrs. Chen’s and is therefore construction Buying is definitely one furniture the various duties to accommomost time consuming of able to modify cabinets small family busiOverseeing that she performs in the date customer requests. it very enjoyable personness, but she also finds the warehouse and delivery to seeking out he performs. and gratifying. In addition nel are additional duties a large portion of two delivery antiques, she also spends With one warehouse and g with their factory in been with her time communicatin employees, who have also pieces she would for several China discussing the new Genghis Khan Furniture phone calls from customdetermining color mentions, “We often get Chen Mrs. like made for the store, years, These products, along and size, quantity, etc. ers commenting on staff is.” and accessories and wonderful our delivery with many accent pieces professional is very difhow 30% of their inat Genghis Khan Furniture account for approximately In general, the environment they sell and the time she puts stores; both in the products ventory. Overall she enjoys ferent from most furniture allow their unique merchandise because process. The team will into choosing the store pressure in their view on the sales She states, selling point. It is a low pieces to be their largest the end result is very rewarding. and then furniture prefer a simple you do, have found their clients they “You have to love what place to shop, and they is there to assist them should you can make a difference.” greeting and to know someoneshares the background information Chen have any questions. Mrs. Their Unique Niche staff, so they store is located in on each antique with her Although the San Diego the historical find their product is are all able to pass along a furniture district, they specifically lookpiece to their clients. Adare each of people story that so unique sure to let their furniture when they ditionally, they are also ing for Chinese import Genghis Khan if there is an item on an know Furthermore, clients store. the visit replaced, selection in their antique that has been Furniture has the largest and one-of-a-kind or repaired. region of Asian furniture to have and reasonably Mrs. Chen feels fortunate pieces that are both exclusive a destination pleasbecome customers that are extremely priced. They have even of them who will often shop ant and she considers many location for designers, their names for pieces that her friends. She knows at Genghis Khan Furniture and will then deliver and faces, as well as what they have meet their client’s tastes their client’s home. the past. The staff at Gengto in bought accessories 30 to 20 contact with choose to keep the his Khan Furniture is in In most cases clients will throughout the entire buythe pieces based on prices clients their Chen Mrs. items. up after defor them, keepThey also keep ing process and will follow the amount that she paid pleased with their purchase. in turn assures a arrives with livery to be sure they are ing the markup low, which them when a container Clients have notes on each client, contacting for. As an added service, they also rapid turnover of merchandise. reasonable searching are very the item they have been will sit down with mentioned their prices these orders, Mr. Chen carrying inventory a drawing of take custom orders. For compared to other stores they are looking for, create Furniture and she the client to find out what to take measuresimilar to Genghis Khan go to the client’s home are often lower the piece, and if necessary, is faxed to the factory has been told their prices stores located ments. Once approved by the client the order than can be found in furniture China. Khan as in China for production. in metropolitan cities throughout will find of every member of Genghis Chen Overall, Mrs. Chen thinks There are times when Mrs. to try to keep she just family and makes it a point an antique that is so beautiful, the for clients to eneveryone happy. She appreciatesher trips wants to keep it on display when sell very fast, comfort in knowing that joy. These exceptional antiques allow them anticipated, will to China take longer than but on occasion their clients staff to take in the store for she can trust all of her to keep the piece on display of last year, for “I will just care of the business. As an extra week. She mentions, taking 2 days beautiful the first time, she started show a customer a particularly to admire to now have a chance off a week and is happy antique to give them the is concerned client’s home.” She break. As far as the future it before it goes into the and so do her it is a shame that she still enjoys working adds, “Sometimes I think she does not enjoy the antique sisters and brother and only one family gets to soon. With see herself retiring anytime after it is purchased.” team at Geng26 years of success, the to continThe Environmentmembers, Mrs. his Khan is looking forward family her to In addition the future. ued success now and in who work in Chen has two other women

W ESTERN R EPORTER Contact your association

California Design Center

open,” Nancy states. is in getting that door furniture should be She continues, “Buying to honor where the fun, and we are willing whether they customer is in their process, if they are looking are just getting ideas, or furnished.” to have their entire home

in Tucson, Arizona?

Group ceases Sadly, California Design Design Cen1980’s. Some President of California manufacturing in the early ancy Goodwin Farina, in 1979 continued to Arizona took a chance of the free-spirited craftsmen ter, located in Tucson, she had walnut furniture a business venture that create beautiful oak and when she entered into this once stay-atup) for several years. (when the surf wasn’t Read on to find out how an in the much to learn about. continuously diversifyWhile consciously and transition to a savvy businesswom home mom made the resources, Nancy pursued and products ing a line of home furnishings industry. spin-off operations the original look of the California, Nancy discovered While living in San Diego, of fine wood but they eventually possible, cooperative as a long as Group, for Design furniture from California and walnut furni- went out of business. Although the name built contemporary oak lines carried at Califurniture and craftsmen in El Cajon who remains the same, the She fell in love with the now entirely differto Tucson ture designed by Lou Hodges. fornia Design Center are Even when Nancy relocated stores, California became a dedicated collector. purchase addient. And as for the retail return to San Diego to is the “Last Store in the late 70’s, she would Design Center in Tucson in Tucson. dozen or so tional pieces for her home look outside of Standing” out of the original were opened. a market for this unique that Nancy believed there was was more braCalifornia Design Centers with what she now admits Southern California and during one of her San mentioned Desert she A Hot Market in the vado than business acumen, in becoming an she would be interested the market potenDiego shopping trips that to open a location Nancy was right about decided ever Group to the young proinvestor if California Design later she received tial in Tucson. In addition it took, just a few months to the original in Phoenix. That was all fessionals who were attracted in Tucson and Phoenix, presence a have to furniture, the stores. a call, they were looking handcrafted oak and walnut cities in their sites for future made the city a with several other Western warm Tucson climate has actually running a reabout learn to much vacation destination. Knowing that she had popular retirement and in one, Nancy called in addition to investing East and Midwest tail furniture operation Baby Boomers from the out if she would be homes in her sister, Julie, to find who buy second or retirement furnishings with her. Julie, who that the interested in partnering Tucson and soon realize Department and fit the always not was working for the State do they bring with them in retail furniture, Southwest. Calialso had no background casual lifestyle of the desert designers are and California interior agreed to come to Tucson fornia Design Center’s AZ was founded clients and furnish Design Center of Tucson, end of able to work with these if need be. basis, Nancy handled the financial 1979. turnkey in a on Line their homes handled sales, and Type of furniture: Full customers, the design the business, while Julie To accommodate their sisters better, best” “good, a they did the buying. The utilizes together 1979 team generally Year Founded: Lawton, who had budget. For example, were soon joined by Steve strategy based on their 1 Group in the San Difurnish an entire Number of Locations: sold California Design if a customer wishes to Tucson and became good furniture 33 ego area. He moved to home they will often have store with Julie. Number of Employees: few rooms may be co-manager of the Tucson in most of the rooms, a and Julie fell in and sometimes In a fairy-tale ending, Steve Location: Tucson, AZ done with better furniture left Tucson for depending on the love, married and eventually a mixture will be used 1998 their own sucmay be used WHFA Member Since: Colorado, where they started room, while the best furniture Spirit Furniture in gathers. cessful furniture operation, in a room where company Colorado Springs and Denver.

N

A Quick Look

Contact your association 22 MARCH 2004

W ESTERN R EPORTER

at www.WHFA.org or

(800) 422-3778.

Center has years ago, California Design From its beginnings 25 and home accentsin furniture, accessories sought out the unusual look and lifestyle of and shape the unique those pieces that reflect or more contempoexpressed in traditional Center’s buyers the Southwest, whether has led the California Design rary designs. The search design product excluregional craftspeople to to work with local and Century Furniture. Their largest supplier is exclusive sively for their showroom. to be Century Furniture’s proud very are “We Nancy states, Southern Arizona dealer.”

The Fort Lowell Furniture District & Their Unique ips Advertising Partnersh

stretch of Fort Located along a one mile seven home furnishLowell Road in Tucson, Design Cenings stores, including California the Fort Lowell ter have partnered to form they are working Furniture District. Together in a joint effort with an advertising agency District. Patto bring traffic to the Furniture the goal is concept, mall auto the terned on & Other as a destination for “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” to promote the District contribute a Members Training shopping. Employee furniture all underbudgets to fullbest together when they portion of their advertising Nancy feels the team works affect their magazines and job is and how their decisions meetings page layouts in local lifestyle stand what each other’s monthly The ads invite shopTo address this they hold community publications. working relationships. what it’s like to “walk Fort Lowell”. on share to home staff at the right allow pers to “feel on Friday mornings to role play and in the comthese meetings they will Nancy is also very involved a mile in my shoes”. During a huge armoire Night each year, scenarios; such as, delivering that it does munity. She holds an Artist create skits of real case arrive artists that they only to find out once they featuring craftsmen and sharing how to a customer’s home, the store, as well as door. Or, on the flip side, are currently carrying in tells the salesnot fit through the customer’s have discovered. someone in the warehouse other local artists that they frustrating it can be when canvases, on a product that is schedceramics, damage (usually work concealed The artists’ to have to call person that there was put on display in the day, forcing the salesperson prints and pottery) are uled for delivery the next the offer special pricing for that there is a problem. is broken into store and they and inform a customer well attended that it week training period that event. Artist night is so New hires undergo a three on Goldmine and out to a targeted with computer training is invitation only and sent is documentfour segments. They start that is determined by “All customer interaction preferred customer list next F.R.O.G. According to Nancy, length of time as it didn’t happen.” The purchases, documented, past of not it’s number followed ed in Goldmine, if they have spent. store procedures and processes, system, a customers and how much training segments review Design Center also up with their selling California wrapping and addition, In possible, by product knowledge of workshops titled “Interior Byers Guide Program. Whenever sessions with offers a series 12 step process using the was come in and conduct training her training Design Secrets Revealed”. The series Nancy will have Iris Byers people on design, who have only been through structured to educate new staff members, people as own designer, as well just want a brush up. Design Cen- how to be your once, or for those who find it works very on sketching at California working with one. They Through There is a very big emphasis spoken as guest “It is a great aid to visualization.” well on the road and have ter. According to Nancy, customer’s Opera League, variare able to determine the speakers at the Tucson what the sketching process they they already have with housing communities in furniture Clubs, the Country ous lifestyle and incorporate and even have for memwill ask focused questions hold scheduled events they need. The designers likes and dislikes, that will and evenings at the groups, magazines to show their church through go bers, thread that the customers who do the to find the link or common store. Nancy has two designers to train which allows the designers also helps the cuslooking Determining their style seminars and is currently Often times a will uncover their style. will be great confidence in the process. a few others that she thinks tomer relax and have more knew what they wantit is so successful realize that they really at teaching. She feels customer will not even likes and dislikes, for how to’s were not aware of their because “People are hungry hardest part ed all along because they through the process. “The until it becomes uncovered

W ESTERN R EPORTER Contact your association

at www.WHFA.org or

AUGUST 2004

23

(800) 422-3778.

AUGUST 2004

21

or (800) 422-3778 at www.WHFA.org

MARCH 2004

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

western retailer

JUne/July 2010

19


It’s All About Sales and Marketing

ain’t a fad

S David Lively The Lively Merchant owner

ocial media has become the rage of marketing in the furniture business. Those who have taken a “wait and see” attitude will soon figure out this type of media is here to stay. At last count, Facebook had over 400 million active users. Consider these additional stats if you are still a doubting Thomas: • 50 percent of active users log on to Facebook on any given day • More than 35 million users update their status each day • More than 60 million status updates are posted each day • More than 3 billion photos are uploaded to the site each month • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each week

2.

3.

It is time to get on the Facebook bandwagon! Some social-media gurus think traditional advertising techniques have gone the way of the horse and buggy and won’t work on Facebook and other social media platforms. I believe they are dead wrong and providing the industry with bad advice. It’s true that businesses must nix the sales pitch language and deal with people on a more personal level. Put this into practice along with other good marketing methods, and you’ll have the edge in social media, especially on Facebook.

4.

5.

Great marketing is about how well you tell your story — regardless of the medium. Here are proven marketing techniques to make your Facebook page a powerful piece of your marketing mix: 1. Advertise your page: People will NOT come just because you build it. That only happens in the movies. In order for people to know your Facebook page exists, you have to tell them. Include the Facebook icon on your TV advertising, and link to your page from your website and blog. 20

JUne/July 2010

western retailer

6.

Make sure your Facebook page is properly set up to link back to your website. Build your brand: Mention your page in brochures, direct mail, business cards, email signatures, advertisements, packing slips, fulfillment materials — in short, everywhere. Don’t assume your customers will find you. Using Facebook and other social media logos in your traditional advertising will help potential customers know you have an understanding of how communication is done today. Share your soul: Facebook Fan Pages are a great place to share lots of company information. This is the perfect place to share your mission or value statement, explain your policies, procedures and special services to your customer base — even post store hours and parking information. Your Facebook page is also a great place to include links for newsletter sign ups, email sign ups and links to your other social media outlets like YouTube or Twitter. Get them to your website: While we all believe our logos are super cool and easily recognizable, I would suggest you use the space designed for uploading a photo to show your company web address. Just because there is space available in the body of your page doesn’t mean your customers will find it down there. Content is king: Marketing experts have known the power of content for years, and the same holds true online. The more information you provide, the better your page will be at attracting, converting, educating, turning on and retaining your customers. Post something to your wall at least once a day, though two or three times is better. Also, adjust your wall settings to allow fans to post comments, photos, links and videos. Train your staff to help you. Direct marketing is key: Facebook allows you to communicate to your entire fan base with a single post. Drive traffic to your page, announce events, or share news, design Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


tips, or other customer-friendly communication. But don’t overuse it. Just as you wouldn’t email a customer five times a day, do not send Facebook direct messages five times either. 7. Get new email subscribers: Facebook provides a powerful static FBML. This tool allows you (with a very small amount of help from your webmaster) to create a landing page designed to help you communicate directly with your potential customers what you want them to do. I suggest this is the perfect opportunity to build the size of your email list. 8. Know your fan base: The Insights tool allows you to see metrics on your fans, such as how many comments and interactions you have, the number of active fans you have in various age categories, the growth of your fan base, where your fans live, and more. I’m not telling you this is the only research information you will ever need, but it is a nice high-level view of the people who are following you. 9. Shop your competition: You better be shopping your competitors everywhere else, so why not on Facebook? See what they’re doing to promote their page and engage fans. Take note of the features they’re using, how they interact with visitors, the type of content and how frequently they post and

their growth rate. 10. Use every feature: Facebook is packed with tools for sharing videos, importing your blog posts, listing events, conducting polls, starting conversations, and on and on. Literally there are hundreds of ways to interact use them all to your advantage. Don’t expect to gain maximum following without maximum effort. Facebook is a powerful tool. Take a few hours to learn how to use its many options to drive traffic to your business. Don’t fall into the trap of companies like Concord or Bennett. “Who?” you ask. In 1907, these buggy companies believed they would always have a customer base. Three years later the number of automobiles surpassed buggies in the United States. If traditional media is all you’re willing to consider, perhaps you should buy a Bennett wagon on eBay to deliver it.

David Lively has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in the home furnishings industry. Twice named to Furniture Today’s “Beyond the Top 100” list of independent retailers and 1997 “Ohio Retailer of the Year,” David’s wisdom was won on the front lines and his battle scars have given him compassion for counseling today’s retail warrior. David is on the forefront of a new phenomenon that will soon rock the home furnishings industry: the transfer of authority, responsibility and wealth from one generation to the next. Four out of five family-owned furniture stores are still led by their founder, and 40 percent of them will change hands in the next five years. David has developed a proprietary and unparalleled system for helping identify goals, strengths and opportunities during this crucial time. You can reach David at (740) 415-3192, david@thelivelymerchant.com or visit www.thelivelymerchant.com.

Industry Beat Mor Furniture For Less Opens in Riverside Mor Furniture For Less opened a 46,000-square-foot store in Riverside, CA in May. The new location took over a former Wickes showroom. Despite the current economic climate, Mor Furniture For Less has been steadily growing over the last year. The new store is the latest in Mor Furniture’s recent expansion into new markets in Murrieta, CA, Portland, OR and Mesa, AZ.

Bedmart Named “Retail Giant of Bedding”

Chet Goldberg, founder and owner, and Chuck Kill, CEO of Bedmart

“We’re the little store who could,” chuckled Chet Goldberg, founder and owner of Bedmart. Bedmart, which started in Tucson, AZ in 1988, was honored as a “Retail Giant of Bedding” at the Fifth Annual Bedding Conference held by Furniture/Today magazine. “Chet Goldberg’s family has a long and impressive history on the Arizona retail scene, and the founder and owner of Bedmart has made his mark in the mattress business in the last two decades,” said David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, who recently named Bedmart as one of four Retail Giants of Bedding for 2010. “Under Chet’s leadership, Bedmart has grown to be a major player in the mattress arena. The company strives to fully satisfy each customer, a key to its success.”  Bedmart has grown to 29 stores throughout Arizona and is the state’s largest family-owned bedding chain. When Goldberg started Bedmart, he was following in the steps of his great-grandfather who opened the first Goldberg business in Arizona, a general store, in 1862. “Arizona has been very good to my family and to me,” Goldberg continued. “We are very proud to receive this honor and think it is a tribute to treating every customer like who they are — our neighbors.” Goldberg said the stores success has been built on three founding principals. “We wanted our customers to have the best selection, the best price and the best service. Our goal was — and still is — to give every customer the best mattress buying experience they’ve ever had,” he continued. “And, that means we have to keep raising the bar because our customers come back to us again and again.”

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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2010 WHFA Conference

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estern Home Furnishings Association’s May 2010 Conference & Expo at Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa in Anaheim, CA, provided the 280 attendees the chance to network with one another, learn from business experts and experience the business behind the magic of Disney. Education With 12 sessions of education on the schedule, plus the brief jolts of information during the EXpresso EXpo each morning, the 2010 Conference was packed with information for all in attendance. One of the most anticipated sessions of the event was the Disney Institute session on Building Brand Loyalty. Presenting the Disney cycle of introducing brands to customers at an early age, this session showed attendees how to build brand loyalists of their business and how to use specific marketing tactics to attract people of all ages to their store.

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


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Another highlight to the educational line-up was a special appearance by Jim “Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Texas, during the EXpresso Expo. Jim inspired and moved the audience with his story of Gallery Furniture; from the first time he created a TV ad to the day that he thought he had lost it all when his main store and warehouse were set on fire due to arson. Through Jim’s stories, attendees learned different tips and tricks on how they could make their operation the “World’s Best Furniture Store”.

Networking When attendees weren’t busy soaking up knowledge from the industry business experts, they spent time learning from each other. Whether it was a cocktail party, a dinner reception or just a few hours in the Disneyland park, retailers, vendors and manufacturers were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing their great ideas. The always popular retailer-to-retailer roundtables provided attendees a chance to sit down and discuss money-saving, business-building ideas. Retailers shared what worked in their stores, and what didn’t, in four different co-created roundtable discussions.

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A. Ralph Farrar, Fiesta Furnishings, Ron and Joan Hoesterey, Royal Mattress, Jake Cross, Selden’s Home Furnishings, Mason Levit, Fiesta Furnishings B. Sharon Kill, Bedmart, Nancy Absalonson, Walkers Furniture, Michelle Cramer, Cramer’s Home Furnishings and Heidi Sanders, Everton Mattress. C. Jim Hering, HW Home, and Valerie Watters, Valerie’s Furniture and Accents D. Make Some Noise seminar with Ken Schmidt, former director of communication for Harley-Davidson E. Stephanie and Doug Holdaway, GateHouse no. 1 F. Jim “Mack” McIngvale, Gallery Furniture, Texas, presenting during the EXpresso EXpo G. Carol Baker, Baker Brothers, and Judy Lebensberger, Ashley Furniture Industries H. Mark Koerner, Koerner Furniture, with Donna and Ross Barlett, ViewIT Technologies I. Carol Bell, Contents Interiors, Shelley Burris, Fiesta Furnishings, Michael Schloemer and John Grootegoed, Elite Leather

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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2010 WHFA Conference 2010 Western Retailer of the Year – HW Home Surrounded by their friends, family and vendors, HW Home coowners, Jim Hering and Ron Werner, accepted the Retailer of the Year Award during the final night Retailer of the Year Gala in front of an audience of industry peers. Mitchell Gold, chairman of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, presented the award to Jim and Ron and reflected on the first time he met them and how their relationship and the HW Home business has progressed over the 12 years they have done business together. Jim and Ron opened HW Home in 1999 in Boulder, CO. Since opening day, they have been creating beautiful rooms in loyal customer homes in Colorado and around the world with high-end, urban eclectic home furnishings. Today, the little boutique store has grown into four showroom locations and a thriving eCommerce business with approximately 40 employees.

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Spring Board of Directors Meeting The WHFA Board of Directors met prior to WHFA’s Conference in Anaheim to discuss strategies in moving WHFA forward on the business plan that was created last October. The board meeting took on a new Open Space Café format that allowed board members to suggest various topics and later discuss these topics in small groups. During the Open Space Café, the board developed strategies to assist WHFA in accomplishing the following objectives: adding value to conference; increasing conference attendance; engaging sponsors to get member participation; increasing visibility of WHFA to consumers, retailers, vendors, trade associations and media; board participation in recruiting; and the value beyond programs. J. Jim Hering and Ron Werner, co-owners of WHFA’s 2010 Retailer of the Year, HW Home K. Maryann Merlo, Vanguard, Cecilia Miller, Dovetail, Cisco Pinedo and Maurishka Pinedo, Cisco Brothers L. WHFA’s 2010 Board of Directors

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


Program of the Month Promotional Website and Direct Mail Marketing with

For over 25 years, Banner Marketing has been helping retailers worldwide reach sales goals using targeted and strategic communications tactics. WHFA and Banner Marketing have teamed to give members an integrated advertising solution. Integrating your traditional and Internet advertising campaigns take time and specialized knowledge. Banner Marketing takes out the complexity. They will put together everything you need to set-up, maintain, track and analyze the effectiveness of your overall advertising program in one place by integrating traditional media with your website.

Benefits:

Kaprice Crawford WHFA marketing director

• Low Maintenance

• They will change your entire website twice a month.

• Automatic Promotion Updates

• They will automatically make sure your site matches each of your promotions.

• Enhanced Product Descriptions

• They rewrite the furniture descriptions for each of the 12 specials on your website.

• Built-in Features

WHFA Member Only Pricing

• Data collection

• Text and email coupon options

Initial Setup Fee - $200

• “Email a Friend” website option • “Print page” with store contact information

(savings of $50)

• Search Engine Optimized

Monthly Subscription Rate - $549

• They embed key elements that search engines search for, including meta tags and website copy.

(savings of $50 per month)

Call the WHFA office at (800) 422-3778 to learn more about what Banner Marketing can do for your business.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

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Get Involved! September 18-26

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Is your home ready for a change?

National Home Furnishings Month

Utilizing the Retailer Toolkit to Promote National Retail Sales Week to Your Community

© 2009 World Market Center, LLC

eptember is

National Home Furnishings month!

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etailers prepare as National Home Furnishings Month returns for its second year this September. Developed by World Market Center Las Vegas and launched in partnership with eight other home furnishings industry leaders, the campaign aims to unite home furnishings retailers with a cohesive branding and sales event.

Available Tools For Retailers Retailers are offered complimentary listings on the Store Locator section of www.Homeyet.com, a downloadable Retailer Toolkit and an opportunity to participate in the industry’s largest national retail sales event, September 18-26, 2010. Be a part of the Store Locator by activating your account at http://retailer.homeyet.com. In addition, download the Retailer Toolkit at http://toolkit.homeyet.com, which includes FREE, easy-touse, co-op marketing assets and get started. “Our goal for 2010 is to make this a national sales event for retailers by providing the creative content and free tools for them to ‘plug and play’ this campaign with their own brand and in their own markets which, in essence, will multiply the collective voice and effect we can have on consumers buying for their home,” said Bob Maricich, chief executive officer of World Market Center Las Vegas.

is celebrating by giving away a FREE HOME MAKEOVER, each month, through December!

Using The Toolkit For Media Outreach Furthermore, retailers can conduct media outreach to promote the campaign. Outlined below are a few media tips. • Integrate the toolkit into your fall promotional campaign. A variety of images and templates have been provided to ensure the creative matches your desired demographic. • Build a media list and once this is in place, email the press release and media alert to each outlet (Note: print media representatives prefer to receive the press release only, while broadcast/television and radio outlets prefer to receive the media alert). Always place a follow up call to optimize coverage! • When reaching out to television stations, it is recommended you go directly to a morning show’s producers. Ask them to conduct a live broadcast remotely from your store during the morning show and propose activities that will garner their interest such as a room makeover at a viewer’s home or a consumer sweepstakes.

See reverse side for details

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


• When working with radio, arrange a “call in” to the station to preview the promotion during a talk show (morning and afternoon drive times being the best times to target). Also consider leveraging any ad buys, such as on radio, to include an interview with the host or even provide a special giveaway. • Last but not least, the media will be interested in trends and tips. Be prepared to share the top trends as well as tips to making easy and affordable changes to the home.

Double-Sided Event Posters 18” x 12”

Retailer Toolkit At Work A few retailers who took advantage of the Retailer Toolkit in September 2009’s launch of National Home Furnishings Month included Jerome’s Furniture in San Diego, CA. Jerome’s Furniture, one of the country’s fastest growing retailers, executed the IS IT HOME YET?TM message with a paid campaign in San Diego on TV, in print, online and in their showrooms. In addition, Jerome’s sponsored a Home Makeover promotion, in partnership with a local ABC-affiliated TV station, which ran from September through December. Jerome’s Furniture was excited to support the National Home Furnishings Month campaign because it reinforces what they believe is a strong and timely message to consumers: The home and home furnishings as the positive center of peoples’ lives. “It was exciting to see this campaign executed on a national level. We felt it was important to rally behind a cohesive message that creates true, longterm demand for our products and services for our industry,” said Lee Goodman, president and chief executive officer of Jerome’s. “Our involvement in National Home Furnishings Month campaign helped us increase traffic to our website and showrooms. It was a huge success overall.”

A “Turnkey” Approach World Market Center Las Vegas has also extended a partnership with Sale-in-a-Box, America’s premier supplier of sales event materials for the retail industry. To ensure the toolkit is easy to adopt and “turnkey” for retailers who want to activate the National Home Furnishings Month campaign in their store, Sale-in-a-Box will produce printed materials for you. Packages are available in various sizes to suit the needs of any size store. To obtain more information, visit http://saleinabox.com or call (800) 894-8234. This is an unprecedented opportunity to move the home furnishings industry forward. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be a part of the biggest national retail sales event of the year, September 18-26, 2010. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

Double-Sided Event Tags 8.5” x 11” Double-Sided Event Posters 2 x 3 Foot

Ultimate Event Package Banners 25x3 foot indoor/outdoor

2

Giant posters .2x3 foot double sided

Posters 18x12 inch double sided

12 50

Order Your National Home Furnishings Month Events “Turnkey” Package today. They are preprinted and ready to ship.

price tags 8.5 x 11inch double-sided

200

Adhesive Badges 3 inch round

250

Jumbo Balloons 17 inch heavy-duty latex

288

5

Pennant Strings 100 foot strings (500’ total)

25

Pens Ballpoint with Event Logo

Sample event package. Call WHFA for other available “turnkey” packages. Program through WHFA’s partner:

Call WHFA at (800) 422-3778 for full details on how Sale-In-a-Box can help promote your next big event.

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Rep’s Perspective

5.5 Secret Strategies You and Your Furniture Sales Rep Can Use to Grow Your Business

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Mike Root Furniture Sales of Mid-America president

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urniture retailers across the country look at their top-level home furnishings representatives as an integral part of their team by using a rep’s knowledge to help the store’s merchandising efforts. Of course they use furniture reps for product presentations, to train floor sales reps, to keep catalogs up to date, and to take care of customer service issues. But there are 5.5 strategic ways that astute retailers use furniture reps in order to help grow their business. The really good furniture reps do not perceive themselves as working for the factories. Sure the factories compensate them through commissions. But the top performing reps understand that they work for you, the retailer, and everyone in the supply chain ultimately works for the customer. Look how that little mind shift totally changes a rep’s job. Now instead of pushing every possible product, they will understand your floor, your needs and your customer’s wants. They will essentially be a partner in helping satisfy the customer. The rep will therefore present product that is more often than not right for your customers. You develop confidence in their abilities and over time you buy more from them because of a higher level of trust. In the long run by passing up commissions on products that do not work for a particular store, the professional rep actually serves a retailer and themselves better.

1.

western retailer

One part of this mind shift occurs with the rep to look at their job in a different light. But another part of the mind shift comes from the retailer who needs to look at the rep as an important asset. One way would be to tell a rep what product the store needs for a merchandising void. Another way is to share the sales results of products that are winners versus those that are not. Over a period of time, the rep then knows what unique looks a retailer is successful with and can always be on the lookout for the needs of your store. Reps are out there in the industry seeing product from multiple places. If you share with them what kinds of things are working for you, and what kind of voids you have on your floor, you have just added another set of eyes and ears to your merchandising staff at no extra cost to the bottom line. Because reps are out in all sorts of venues with many different experiences, they are exposed to trends as they begin to roll out. For example, a rep may see a common theme in some of their more forward-thinking factories. They may have presentations on color or styling based on what the manufacturers are looking at in the way of next year’s introductions. If a rep sells department stores, they may see what fashion trends their buyers are seeing from other divisions such as apparel that may come over to home furnishings.

2.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


Those reps with a strong designer clientele may hear or see some of the wants and needs at the higher end that will eventually gravitate to the lower price points. A perfect case in point was the 54x54 counterhigh dining in an ebony finish that Ligo Products introduced years ago at the old San Francisco Market. They had found this look at the very high-end, adapted it to more promotional price points and basically birthed a whole new category of counter dining that is now prevalent on many retail floors. A retailer should tap into those reps that have varied clientele and experiences. Learn what is new and interesting. See if it has application to your business. Do not be scared to test something new like Ligo did years ago. It may be the next big trend that you can get in front of and ride. Another way retailers can use the knowledge of reps is ask them what best practices they see others using. Reps will go into a variety of stores on a daily and weekly basis. Not one retailer has it all figured out, but many retailers have great ways of doing certain things. The best retailers educate their customers on what to expect from a certain level of furniture or from the store policies themselves. If a retailer has a challenge presenting these expectations to the customer, reps can share how different stores accomplish that communication. Many times if a retailer is trying to figure out how to present a category of furniture, a rep is positioned to see how retailers present his product elsewhere. When asked the rep can help the retailer to greater success. Reps also can be an excellent resource for Point-of-Purchase (POP) materials. Until you get to some medium and higher price points, manufacturers do not do a very good job of supplying retailers with POP materials. However, there are products that do have POP materials that can be adapted to specific types of furniture. A rep selling that type of furniture, when encouraged to help, will gladly provide some ideas on how to better sell his goods with the use of POP materials. If one were selling lift-top cocktail tables for example, manufacturers generally do not put anything on the table that says it is a lift-top. Then store designers come along and put a vase or an accessory on the table to make it look good. All of a sudden the lift top table becomes an overpriced cocktail table because the customer does not realize its other function. If there was a tag that was developed that said simply “I lift” or “Lift Me” sales would increase. A rep selling this furniture can bring that to the retailer’s attention. A rep can also bring a sense of how his product stacks up against the competitor’s product. Too often a retailer does not share with a rep or a factory how the retailer perceives the product stacks up with a competitor’s product. But if a retailer actually engages a rep they may find some reason for the price differences. A retailer may also find through this process where the factories strengths and weaknesses might lie.

3.

4.

5.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.

For example, Progressive Furniture manufactures furniture out of a factory in Rosarito, Mexico. On the surface if compared to something similar from China or Vietnam, the FOB price may not be quite as sharp. But when you factor in a much lower freight along with a lead time of three weeks to the door versus three months, all of a sudden the equation changes to help out a retailer’s GMROI significantly. Without engaging the rep about the specifics of the product in comparison to competing offers, a retailer sometimes makes the wrong decision by looking just at the price tag. So that’s it. Five secret strategies on how you can use your furniture rep to help grow your business. However, the observant reader will note the title indicated there were 5.5 secret strategies. The .5 strategy does not apply to all reps, but when you find it, the store will be a better place because of it. That secret X-factor that certain reps can deliver is: The right rep can change the whole attitude of the store by having a positive and upbeat attitude. Being a retailer is a tough business. As an owner, a buyer or a retail floor sales person, it becomes a grind when business is slow. There are also stressful occurrences in all retail jobs from customer service issues to factory challenges and a whole slew of other moving parts. A good rep with a positive outlook and attitude can be a voice of reason when circumstances seem overwhelming. Of course, not all reps can do this and you have to develop a level of trust in them. However, if a rep becomes a trusted advisor to a retailer, he or she can help relieve the stress of a tough situation by being an outside expert you can consult with. He or she, if they also have gained the trust of the employees, can spend quality time with the sales staff on positive training activities in times of inactivity or negativity. This all goes to building the team and keeping a positive focus on the ultimate goal of satisfying the customer.

5.5.

Mike Root is president of Furniture Sales of MidAmerica, a furniture wholesale and rep company in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states that has been recognized by numerous national furniture factories for sales excellence including Salesman of the Year more than 10 times. Mike serves on the Executive Committee of the International Home Furnishings Representative’s Association (IHFRA). Mike’s perspective is one of a third generation furniture guy who has been involved in many aspects of the furniture business including furniture retail, wholesale and rental. He has been recognized by the Small Business Administration as an Entrepreneur of the Year, and his furniture retail stores were honored by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce as one of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Enterprises three years in a row. More information about Mike can be found at www.MikeRoot. com or by email at meroot@mikeroot.com.

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board

Q: What motivates, invigorates and inspires you about our

industry? A: The furniture industry, specifically the bedding industry, is a very close-knit group of retailers, dealers and suppliers. Being involved in the mattress industry since 1999, I have met a group of individuals and organizations that are a pleasure to work with. Most in the industry are more than willing to invest their time and energies to improve the industry through organizations like the WHFA and NHFA. These organizations have been the catalyst for making improvements in the furniture/mattress industry. Q: What is the last book you read? A: The last book I have read was Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty by Ram Charan. I enjoy learning from management and leadership experts about the current best practices in managing a growing business within these changing times.  Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? A: Several years ago, I toured Italy, Spain and Morocco. It reminded me of the vast history in that area of the world. I would like to explore the other countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea and learn about the history of this region of the world. Q: What do you value most in an employee? A: I value an employee that is able to follow the vision of the organization and is able to work well with others. Obviously, the employee needs to be competent and honest, but an employee who is also able to work with the management team’s vision and follow the corporate mission statement, will likely advance within the organization. Q: What does the next five years hold for you? A: Over the next five years, I would like to continue to strengthen Bedmart and our success of being a market leader in Arizona into other markets. Q: Why did you join the WHFA board? A: When I was honored by being asked to join the WHFA board, I didn’t really know what was involved. Over the past several years, I have learned of the ability of the WHFA to assist the industry to grow and improve. I am proud to be a member of the WHFA board and contribute to its successes.

member

Q&A with Chuck

oard e into B ore n u t h t m on Every m Q&A to learn r r e a b o b d Mem WHFA r u o y t abou rs. membe

Chuck Kill CEO Bedmart 3739 N Oracle Tucson, AZ 85705 chuckkill@msn.com www.azbedmart.com

Advertising Inquiries & Rates Contact: Cindi Williams, WHFA Advertising Manager, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville, CA 95678. (916) 960-0277 Email: cwilliams@whfa.org. Subscriptions: $35.00/year, USA. Published by Western Home Furnishings Association, a National Home Furnishings Association affiliate, in the interests of retail home furnishings dealers, manufacturers, ­distributors and salespeople. Distributed to home furnishings retailers handling ­furniture, ­accessories, bedding, floor coverings and specialty home furnishings in ­Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Mailing list compiled by WHFA. Official publication of Western Home Furnishings Association, which is ­responsible for editorial content and advertising policy. The views expressed in articles appearing in Western Retailer are not necessarily those of Western Home F ­ urnishings ­Association. Western Retailer magazine is copyrighted by Western Home Furnishings Association. June/July 2010, all rights reserved.

Western Retailer:

Read by furniture retailers in the West

Distribution: Western Retailer is read by more than 10,000 home furnishings retail store personnel handling furniture, accessories, bedding, floor coverings and specialty home furnishings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Marketing Philosophy: Western Retailer focuses on business market trends in the furniture, bedding, flooring and accessories industry. It highlights sales, marketing, operations, showroom design, trends, succession planning and industry events.

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778.


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June/July 2010 Western Retailer