• Thomas Russell

Howard Miller to consolidate sales, marketing for its brands

ZEELAND, Mich. — Howard Miller said it will consolidate its sales and marketing efforts for its Howard Miller, Hekman and Ridgeway brands as part of a reorganization announced Friday.

The company now has more than 40 sales representatives for all three brands. A single sales force represents Howard Miller Total Home case goods and upholstery and the Ridgeway line of clocks. Another sales force represents case goods resource Hekman.

Now, a single sales force will represent all three lines.

The company said it is still working out details about the number of sales reps it will have moving forward.

Company sales officials began sending out communications about the news to dealers this week. While the exact number of reps is yet to be determined, officials said the change will result in additional support for dealers.

"Howard Miller, Hekman, and Ridgeway are recognized brand names with over 90 years of history in the furniture industry," said Howard J. "Buzz" Miller, CEO of the Howard Miller family of companies. "This strategy will build upon each brand's heritage, while allowing each company to benefit from the synergies of a coordinated sales and marketing effort to deliver better value, products, and service to our dealers."

"There will be an increase in service in our opinion," said Mark Siciliano, who remains director of marketing and communications for all three brands. "All the information, sales tools and data, through technology, will be funneled through one person. No matter what line you want to talk about, it will all be right there."

The news comes about two weeks after former Hekman president Dan Masters left the company for a business development role at Furniture Brands International. The company does not plan to fill that position. Instead, Masters' duties on the sales and marketing side of Hekman will be handled by Howard Miller President Robert Lehocky.

Brent Garrett and Joe Hudspeth remain in their respective roles as director of sales for the western and eastern divisions for Howard Miller and Ridgeway. In addition to those companies, they now also will oversee Hekman sales in those territories.

Hekman sales were previously overseen by Masters and Rick Stroud, national sales manager. While Stroud remains with the company, his specific role has yet to be determined, Siciliano said.

Howard Miller also plans to hire an additional director of product design. This yet-to-be-named individual will handle product development for all three brands, but will be largely responsible for developing product in Hekman.

Despite the move to a single sales force, the company said all three brands will retain their distinctive identities in the marketplace with "comprehensive advertising, promotions, in-store POP and sales support materials."

Howard Miller sells a case goods and upholstery line that includes mid-priced bedroom, dining room and upholstery as well as curios, game tables, and wine and bar consoles. It also has a licensed Ty Pennington line of case goods and upholstery.

Ridgeway specializes in floor clocks and Hekman specializes in upper medium to upper-end dining room, home office, home entertainment and occasional. Hekman also offers some bedroom and domestically made upholstery.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.


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