• Ray Allegrezza

No Lack of Innovation

We're just a few short weeks out from this year’s Leadership Conference, and maybe it is our theme, Are You In(novative)?, but all I seem to be thinking about is innovation.

When I hired this year’s keynote speaker, noted author and lecturer Robert Tucker, it had much to do with the fact that the man has spent decades studying and writing about innovation.

Our theme will carry over to our awards banquet where we will recognize five leaders for outstanding achievements in innovation.

Irv Blumkin of Nebraska Furniture Mart will be honored for outstanding innovation in retail experience. Anyone who has visited NFM knows what I mean. And anyone who has followed the construction of the emerging Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas knows that this is destined to be a huge, one-of-a-kind retail experience.

Jim McIngvale, the heart and soul of Houston’s Gallery Furniture, will be recognized for innovation in marketing. Although people are still talking about his mega bet on the outcome of the Super Bowl, which resulted in Mattress Mack handing customers back some $7 million, outrageously grand and successful promotions are nothing new to Mack.

Ted English of Manchester, Conn.-based Bob’s Discount Furniture, is getting the nod for innovation in connecting with the local communities it serves. Since its inception, Bob’s has supported local communities with charitable giving and community aid.

Florida retailer City Furniture and Keith Koenig are being recognized for exceptional innovation in logistics and eco-initiatives. As the Great Recession took hold, Koenig, with input from his son, Andrew, realized that increased levels of efficiencies and productivity held the keys to survival and growth. Since 2007, the company has held countless kaizen sessions and its Boca Raton City Furniture showroom, which opened in January 2011, was the first green furniture store in Florida.

Niraj Shah and Wayfair are being honored for innovation in developing online retailing. A few years ago, when Niraj spoke at our conference and told attendees that consumers were buying sofas online, he was met with more than a few incredulous stares.

Last year, Wayfair’s net revenue was $915.8 million, up from $601 million the year before. Orders delivered jumped from 1.8 million in 2012 to 3.3 million in 2013. This October, Wayfair’s initial IPO raised $304.5 million and the company keeps innovating.

I hope to see you at the conference!

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza | Editor in Chief, Furniture Today

Each week in my Editor's Desk blogs, we'll take a look at interesting news or events in the furniture industry. The most important part of this whole process will be your input. So, take a look at my posts below and weigh in with what you think by clicking on "Add Your Comment" at the bottom of each blog.


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