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Shop Talk
Doug Clark
Cricket’s owner gets some love on ESPN

Bev Fritts expects the unexpected from her son Rob and daughter-in-law Molly. “They’re just clever. They’re always surprising me with something,” the owner of Cricket’s Home Furnishings in Dimondale, Mich., said. But this time? “I was just shocked.” Rob and Molly and their children live in Maryland. Rob called his mother Feb. 29 and told her to watch ESPN’s “College GameDay,” which was featuring the Michigan State at University of Maryland men’s basketball game. Michigan State is in Lansing, just a few miles from Dimondale. Granddaughter hoists a picture of Bev When Bev turned on the television, she saw Molly

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News
Doug Clark
Retailers may qualify for federal disaster loans

Furniture retailers may qualify for federal disaster loans during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. The loan program, operated by the Small Business Administration, was included in the $8.3 billion emergency appropriations bill approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump March 6. The purpose of the initiative is to provide “working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury” from the impact of the spreading virus, which has interrupted or slowed supply chains, forced cancellations or postponements of major events – such as the April High Point Market – and has kept skittish consumers out of many retail locations. Loans

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
HFA cancels Fly-in but steps up government relations work

The Washington Fly-in is off, but the Home Furnishings Association will step up its government relations work. The reason for both is the same – the spread of COVID-19. HFA’s Government Relations Action Team decided during a conference call March 11 to cancel the Washington Fly-in. The event, which had been set for May 12-14, would have included meetings with members of Congress, regulatory agency officials and other capital insiders. The COVID-19 outbreak has created too many uncertainties about travel and gatherings for the Fly-in to take place as planned. The outbreak is also creating disruptions in the economy, from

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News
Doug Clark
High Point’s April market put on hold

The High Point Market Authority will postpone the April furniture market until “early June, should conditions improve.” The decision, announced at 6 p.m. EDT today, followed by less than two hours a new recommendation by the state of North Carolina “that organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online streaming services.” The reason cited was concern about the spread of COVID-19. Cancellations have spread faster than the virus. Earlier today, the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament, which had returned to nearby Greensboro for the first time since 2015, was

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News
Robert Bell
JRM brings decades of retail experience to your business

Hang around the furniture retail industry long enough, like Joe Milevsky and his staff at JRM Sales & Management, and you’re bound to see everything – the good, the bad and the, well, you know. Like the retailer who invests in his business every day but has no clue how to produce a budget that creates positive cash flow. Or the store owner who is never sure what she should do with her best sellers – or what to do with the merchandise that sits on the showroom floor for months. Or the marketing director who invests month after month

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Dramatic tip-over video and latest recalls demand attention

More bedroom chests sold by online retailers and in IKEA stores have been recalled because of “serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” the Consumer Products Safety Commission announced Feb. 26 and March 4. In a related development, KGET television in Bakersfield, Calif., recently aired a “nanny cam” video of a dresser falling over as a 3-year-old child attempted to climb up its drawers. Fortunately, she avoided being caught beneath it. Aris is the daughter of the station’s chief meteorologist, Alissa Carlson. “The nanny had just put Aris down for a nap, and

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