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My name is Heath E. Combs and I am a staff writer for Furniture/Today. I cover casual dining, occasional and green product categories here and often write about regulatory issues affecting our industry. In my blog “The Writer’s Bureau” I’ll discuss the general business climate may be, any interesting trends I find that could carry over into our industry and what I’m hearing from you in our conversations or in my travels. I’m interested in hearing from you here and feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever had that epiphany about furniture? One that comes at the most unlikely of times? That defines us without even trying? That tells us what the world thinks of us? One that makes you remember that our industry is less about distribution and low prices and that we’re actually kind of like a guitar that gets played every day, a favorite knife that cuts an orange, a favorite leather club c... Read MoreComments (14)
No retailer can afford to lose thousands of dollars right now to a couple of matchstick men. A Florida home furnishings retailer, who asked not to be named, reported a scam to me last week that has apparently snared a few stores recently. It cost his store thousands of dollars and has been targeting upper-medium-priced to high-end stores. It’s not a new scam, from what little research I can find o... Read MoreComments (1)
One of the things I’ve been caught up on in my time as a furniture reporter are the terms Mission and Arts & Crafts. It was my understanding that the terms meant the same thing, but I wasn’t sure of the reason. It’s kind of like the old sofa and loveseat, pop and soda or stocking cap and toboggan conversations we’ve all been a part of at one time in our lives. For my mission (couldn’t resist) I we... Read MoreComments (0)
Earlier this month I completed the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s Greenleaders training. The webinar class is divided into six hour-long sessions with exams following each lesson. The course gives CEU credit and costs $299. The course is a good primer on green home furnishings and the questions that inevitably come when addressing the category. Jeff Hiller, president of the Sustainable Furnishi... Read MoreComments (0)
Furniture Traditions is one of those companies I enjoy visiting when I’m at the Tupelo Furniture Market. It is pretty unique to our industry. It has three sales representatives that cover the entire U.S. They introduce one or two new pieces of furniture each year. The pieces are interesting, innovative and always well thought out. Furniture Traditions has three collections, works mostly in oak or... Read MoreComments (3)
Be careful with “free” promotions, seriously. If you read Furniture/Today’s e-daily yesterday morning, you probably saw that Carl’s Furniture City in Utica, N.Y. (not affiliated with Top 100 company Carls of Coconut Creek, Fla.) was investigated by the New York Attorney General’s office and was fined $15,000 in connection with a “free groceries” promotion and other practices. Not to beat a dead h... Read MoreComments (1)
A common comment you might hear in this industry is: Where is the secondary market for furnishings? When furniture is no longer needed in your home, where should it go? This is probably no secret, but aside from the hand-me-down route and Goodwill shops, you might try Craigslist. I recently sold the bulk of my furniture on Craigslist. I probably made about $200 cash in less than a week, selling a... Read MoreComments (0)
The latest news on CIT Group is that the company will submit two plans to the Federal Reserve in the next few weeks detailing its plans for survival. Today’s Wall Street Journal article seems to say the Fed isn’t a believer yet. (Subscription Required) I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing about CIT Group and its troubles. The more I write about it the more questions I have. If I were a CIT cu... Read MoreComments (0)
Has anyone applied - or know any furniture retailers who have applied - for up to $35,000 available through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ARC program? ARC stands for America’s Recovery Capital Loan Program. The program formally launched this month. The SBA has about $730 million in funds to distribute through the massive economic stimulus program signed into law in February. It is int... Read MoreComments (2)
Protectionist sentiment appears to be rising. From the standpoint of protecting your nation’s economic turf, protectionism might feel good. But a global trade war could stem from rising protectionism. We have organizations in place to monitor trade agreements and resolve disputes like the World Trade Organization. But nations can invoke protectionist measures without violating free trade agreement... Read MoreComments (2)
Talk about the furniture industry doing things the old fashioned way! When it comes to drawing down our inventories, we should have taken a note from some of our friends in the housing industry and made a big bonfire and burned it all. A bonfire would be similar in spirit to what the good folks over at the Guaranty Bank of Austin, Texas have done with a 16-unit housing development they took over l... Read MoreComments (1)
People are more upbeat this market than they were in October. I think that’s a given. I’ve been telling folks that I’ve not been to a market where more companies are on their A game than they’ve been this market. And you have to be. Everyone has a story to tell this time or something great to offer and the product assortment is the best I’ve seen it. Whatever image problem our industry has, someti... Read MoreComments (1)