The Furniture First Board of Directors reported that it approved three retailers as new members of the national buying group: Lott Furniture in McComb, MS, Steger’s Furniture, in Pekin, IL, and Wilson Furniture in Bridgeport, OH. Each company is a family-owned business with a long community history. Lott Furniture, established in 1921, has been owned by the Smith family since 1967 and their four locations are currently run by the family’s third generation. Steger’s Furniture, founded in 1937, is also operated by a third generation. Family-owned Wilson Furniture has been serving the residents of the Ohio Valley for 115 years.
The addition of the three companies brings the Membership rolls to 198 stockholders, with 422 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 only takes on 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 participated in the Las Vegas Market this week where they displayed their exclusive, private label bedding line. The mattresses, which are manufactured by Serta, target the promotional end of the mattress market. The lineup will also be on display at the April High Point Market in Furniture First’s new showroom: IHFC G770.
Furniture First is a 19-year-old national buying group serving the retail home furnishings and mattress industry. Furniture First has 198 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
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