The Furniture First Board of Directors announced that it recently approved Schmitt Furniture of New Albany, Indiana as a new Member. Schmitt Furniture is a full-line furniture store with a 76-year history in New Albany. Like most Furniture First members, Schmitt Furniture is a family-owned business with a strong connection with their community.
The addition of Schmitt Furniture brings the Membership rolls to 194 stockholders, with 414 furniture stores in 47 states. “Furniture First offers a competitive advantage to independents in a difficult economy,” stated Furniture First President Bill Hartman. “Our programs add to their bottom line with rebates, discounts and operational efficiencies. But the other benefits we offer, like our exclusive merchandise and private labels, also help them improve their margins and stand out from the competition in their local markets.”
The qualifications for Membership in the National Buying Group result in a high-quality cooperative. Furniture First takes on only stores that are full-line independents that have been in business for more than five years, though the average age of member businesses is more than 45 years. Stores are required to have good credit and meet minimum volume requirements. Most Members, whether they have a single storefront or a chain of locations, serve the solid middle market of consumers. Since the group is geographically exclusive by representation, Members are not in direct competition with each other, adding to the overall willingness to share and collaborate among the Cooperative’s Members.
Furniture First will present the new lineup for the group’s private label Mattress 1st at the upcoming Las Vegas Market in January 2013. The exclusive, private label bedding line which is manufactured by Serta, focuses on the promotional end of the mattress market. Members are invited to review the products in the Furniture First showroom, at the World Market Center, B-962.
In addition to the bedding review Furniture First plans Members-only group shops to highlight exclusive private labels and highlight suppliers that produce merchandise domestically for a “Made in the USA” showroom showcase. Furniture First’s showroom will display select products from several of their suppliers. Members can stop by the showroom to pick up information about programs and merchandise or they can use a computer, printer and fax machine in an office-away-from home.
About Furntiure First:
Furniture First is a 18-year-old national buying group serving the retail home furnishings and mattress industry. Furniture First has 194 company members representing 414 store fronts and $1.5 billion in retail sales. For more information on Furniture First, call Bill Hartman at 800-411-3477, ext. 123 or email BHartman@FurnitureFirst.com
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers