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Riley's Experiments With Time

Furniture World Magazine


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Content about HFA member-retailers contributed by HFA.

Before his death in 2019, Riley Griffiths, the founder of Riley’s Furniture & Mattress in Monroe, Ohio, taught his daughter many business lessons, chief among them to always think outside the box. Shannon Bannerman had those words in mind when it was time to reopen the family business this summer.

After reopening from the pandemic this summer, Riley’s Furniture President Shannon Bannerman cut back on store hours.

Trimmed by 30 Percent

Today, Riley’s, a member of HFA and also the Furniture First National Buying Group, is open just five days a week – down from six days a week before the pandemic shut it down. But that’s not all. Its hours have been trimmed, too – from 63 to 44 each week.

Now here’s the rub: The new hours aren’t a result of business slowing down. Just the opposite. “We’re still doing a great job in sales, we’re just doing it a little smarter,” says Bannerman. “Customers don’t seem to mind, and the employees love having relatively fixed schedules. I think we’re a lot more productive with our time than before the pandemic.”

And, they’re saving about one-third on labor and other costs associated with keeping the business open.

Here’s How it Works

Sales associates work four of the five days Riley’s is open. Shifts are either 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For the most part, the same holds true for employees in the warehouse and the front office.

Riley’s sales staff does not work on commission, so there’s no worry about a customer returning to make a purchase and working with a new sales associate. Besides, with fewer hours open, full-time sales staff will likely see the customer again, cutting down on confusion or missed opportunities. “We’ve got a smoother sales floor that almost guarantees no mistakes,” says Bannerman.

Employee Family Friendly

Bannerman says the switch was well received by employees, who can now better plan their weeks. “There’s more stability in the schedule. They’re getting home an hour earlier, sometimes two hours earlier,” she says. “Retail can be tough on a family back home, but this schedule helps there.”

Lessons Learned

Bannerman says the pandemic has taught her a lesson, one she hopes to pass on to other Home Furnishings Association members. “The pandemic is giving us permission to experiment with things the consumer might think were weird before all of this,” she says. “Look at how much things have changed. Walmart has changed its hours, restaurants don’t have tables on top of each other. And consumers are willing to try new things. This is the time to experiment.”




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