Content about HFA member-retailers contributed by HFA.
Working to make sure that government policy influencers know the value of a healthy furniture industry.
Sometimes I feel like the ground we, as an industry, are standing on is more like jello than hard-packed turf. Consider the results of the recent election. I’m not sure we have ever seen such a dramatic change from one administration to another. So much can happen with the stroke of a presidential pen.
As an association, we have to navigate the political environment regardless of who’s in power or who we’re addressing. The issues important to our industry can’t be made secondary in any conversation. They must be primary, and we have to push forward to address those issues that matter most.
HFA has elevated the retail backlog issue to the Biden Administration and congressional
leaders to explore
To be candid, it has not been easy and still isn’t. The challenges our industry faces have shifted throughout the pandemic. In the early days, as furniture retail businesses were broadly shut down, we engaged directly with congressional leaders and Trump Administration officials during CARES Act negotiations to highlight the importance of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, which allowed many members to survive. When Congress considered additional COVID-19 relief in late 2020, HFA supported the expansion of PPP funds for businesses that already received a loan and those that may need one for the first time.
Here’s a perfect example of how our focus has changed, and our advocacy team has had to be agile. Even with all the benefits of the PPP loans, there were significant concerns about business taxes and the deductibility of those loans. Our GRAT pivoted and made a case for allowing businesses to deduct eligible expenses from their taxes (like payroll) when the costs were paid with PPP funds.
Early on, retailers had to choose whether to take advantage of a PPP loan or the Employee Retention and Rehiring Tax Credit. Our focus then was to use HFA’s voice to push for a provision in the December 2020 relief legislation to allow for a more generous credit and to allow businesses to take advantage of both the tax credit and a PPP loan.
Local Government Issues
While the Capitol Hill stimulus package was being debated, HFA members were having issues with state and local governments. As many retailers started to re-open safely in mid-2020, HFA had several meetings with the National Governors Association to advise their leaders, using HFA data, about our industry’s impact on the economy and the policies/procedures needed to protect employees and customers.
HFA’s Government Relations Action Team is working to make
sure that every policy influencer knows how decisions that negatively impact HFA members, also negatively impact the U.S. economy.
More To Do
While other sectors have dealt with disastrous shutdowns and experienced restricted business, HFA members have seen steady demand for home furnishings products. That good news has been complicated by supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and other economic factors, leading to growing backlogs for many retailers. HFA has elevated the retail backlog issue to the Biden Administration and congressional leaders to explore remedies moving forward.
It’s a fact that the success of the furniture industry has considerable impact on the overall economic recovery. HFA’s Government Relations Action Team is working to make sure that every policy influencer knows how decisions that negatively impact HFA members, also negatively impact the U.S. economy. The message that our industry is important translates into attention-getting clout that helps our industry’s issues to be heard.
No matter how jiggly the landscape might get or how challenges may change, HFA’s team will continue to engage with key stakeholders to ensure that the U.S. economy recovers sustainably and furniture retailers can make positive contributions to the post-pandemic world.
The incredible story of Wayne’s Home
As stories go, this one is pretty incredible. It’s about three close friends, HFA members Huseyin Seslikaya, Bulent Ergul and Serkan Polat, all Turkish immigrants. Following a life-changing event, the three found themselves in the U.S., along with their families and without jobs. The year was 2017. With survival as a catalyst, their entrepreneurial spirit kicked in.
Seslikaya, Ergul and Polat decided to get into the liquidation business after hearing about extra furniture stock and damaged items many retailers make available at low cost.
As they learned more about the furniture business, small purchases were made directly from manufacturers. Next, they leased space for a small storefront for liquidated items. The store was named Wayne’s Home after a friend who was instrumental in helping them to get the business started.
There was still a steep hill to climb, so they booked flights and attended the October 2018 High Point Furniture Market. Their first mistake was wearing dress shoes. They were quickly replaced with more comfortable versions. Wandering into the HFA Resource Center in the Plaza Suites building was where Huseyin Seslikaya, Bulent Ergul and, Serkan Polat say that everything came together for them.
We hooked up with HFA’s financing
partners, and learned about HFA Buying Source, a way to get discounts that have
really helped us.
“It was pure luck,” recalled Serkan Polat. “As we were going from one building to another, looking for manufacturers, we stumbled into the HFA Resource Center.”
Like kids in a candy store, the three men wanted to learn whatever they could.
“We hooked up with HFA’s financing partners, and learned about HFA Buying Source, a way to get discounts that have really helped us,” Serkan explained.
He, Bulent, and Huseyin walked out of the Resource Center as HFA members with programs in hand to help Wayne’s Home to grow and reach it’s full potential. Soon, they started utilizing additional HFA Solution Partners.
“Since that time, we picked up a website vendor, digital marketing firm, and started using HFA’s concierge services,” added Serkan. “We are also regular participants in HFA webinars featuring industry leaders.” Now they have two stores, in Norfolk and Chesapeake, Virginia, and credit the association with providing the benefits they need to succeed. In my view, that’s precisely what membership in HFA should be and what our team strives to provide every day. However, please don’t take my word for it. Just ask them at Wayne’s Home when you are up in the Norfolk area. Serkan, Bulent, and Huseyin tell the story of HFA better than I do.
For more information on what HFA is doing to empower furniture retailers for continued success, join the community at https://myhfa.org/.
A feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.