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Furniture First plans 20th anniversary

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Furniture First buying group will celebrate its 20th anniversary during the April High Point Market with a gala even at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., April 15.
     The celebration will begin with a 6:15 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7:15 p.m. The program will include member and vendor recognitions, with awards starting at 8:00 p.m.
     The buying group for independent furniture and bedding dealers said invitations to the event will be distributed to members and supplier and service partners in mid-January and that admittance is by invitation only.
     Furniture First was founded in 1994 by a small group of independent furniture retailers working together to better compete with larger furniture chains. Today, the group has 209 stockholder members, operating more than 442 furniture stores in 47 states with combined annual sales of $1.6 billion.
     Membership is geographically exclusive. Furniture First provides members with value-added business services, including rebates, discounts, merchandising, consumer financing, private labels, advertising services and networking.
     "Furniture First's membership has grown substantially over the years. That has allowed us to provide innovative programs and benefits to our members," Bill Hartman, president of the buying group, said in a release.
     "We have over 140 home furnishings and service programs that help our members not just survive, but thrive, even in recent years when so many furniture retailers have gone out of business. That's what makes us the soughtafter buying group to belong to."
     He added that the group's programs and services "allow our members to have a significant edge over their competition."

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