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After ‘Last Sale,' Bograd's Fine Furniture still in business

 Customers line up at Bograd’s Fine Furniture in Riverdale, N.J., for a not-quite-going-out-of-business sale.Customers line up at Bograd’s Fine Furniture in Riverdale, N.J., for a not-quite-going-out-of-business sale.

RIVERDALE, N.J. — Joe Bograd thought his Bograd's Fine Furniture would be closed by now, but it hasn't quite worked out that way.

Sure, "Bograd's Last and Best Sale," managed by Lynch Sales, ended just before Thanksgiving and was "terrific," said the chairman of the high-end furniture store here. But the 30,000-square-foot showroom property hasn't been sold or leased yet so the remaining skeleton crew has improvised - selling what's left on the floor and taking goods from suppliers on consignment.

"We're having a blast," Bograd said.

And that's a far cry from September of last year, when Bograd told Furniture/Today, "It's just not fun anymore." Back then, business had slowed and Bograd's couldn't get lenders to loosen up so it could refinance the mortgage on its store.

Today, Bograd's team, in addition to himself, consists of his wife, Marcia Bograd, his son, Mark Bograd, one salesperson and another employee that wears several hats, including designer, finisher and deliveryman.

"Most of what were selling is right off the floor," he said.
That's not to suggest Bograd's didn't sell a lot of goods during the Lynch sale. While Bograd wouldn't disclose numbers, he said the "Last Sale" was "phenomenal." The first day was the biggest in the company's history and in the first week, the store saw 4,400 customers, he said.

"In 10 weeks, we did as much business as the previous year in 2010," Bograd said.

The retailer paid off its line of credit to its lenders, and sold its nearby 28,000-square-foot warehouse, all of which put the company in a good financial position.

But Bograd has had some trouble selling or leasing the store real estate. It recently terminated an exclusive listing deal with an agent and began making its own calls to sources in the industry that Bograd knows well.

Now interest in the showroom is picking up, too, he said.

Among other things, Bograd's is considering dividing and subleasing space to multiple tenants for home furnishings shops within the store, or it may sell or lease the location for a design-oriented showroom.

In the meantime, the doors remain open. Bograd was careful not to call that final sale a "going-out-of-business sale."

"We decided the right way to close the business is to pay everyone, deliver the furniture and to close with honor," Mark Bograd said back in September.

A significant drop in expenses is lifting the business, he added. Bograd's isn't even spending money on advertising anymore, but customers have been streaming in again ever since it began emailing its customer list, letting them know there's more furniture for sale.

Vendors Bograds's has done business with - but wouldn't name - have been calling, too, offering to send goods on a consignment basis.

"Fifty-six years of being honorable is paying off," he said.

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