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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
HFA asks for clarity on rules for business calls

A law meant to protect the public from unwanted telephone calls could block furniture retailers from reminding customers about a delivery or some other service. It is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a nearly 30-year-old law that has been updated by the Federal Communications Commission. Unfortunately, the current definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system,” which the law targets, is overly broad and exposes businesses to legal action for calls they make in their customers’ interest. Conflicting court rulings have contributed to business uncertainties. The Home Furnishings Association last week joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Shifting sales-tax laws confuse many retailers

If you ask John Gebhardt whether he’s figured out all the sales-and-use-tax protocols for jurisdictions where customers of Sheffield Furniture & Interiors live, he’ll answer quickly. “No. The rules are changing, and it’s confusing.” Gebhardt handles accounting and human resources for Severegn Furniture Management, which owns Sheffield. The retailer, a member of the Home Furnishings Association, operates showrooms in Malvern, Pa., Dulles, Va., and Rockville, Md., as well as Phoenixville Furniture Outlet in Phoenixville, Pa. The most vexing problem is “trying to determine the taxability of services, what is taxable and what is not,” Gebhardt said. He’s aiming at a

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Tepperman's ribbon cutting
Shop Talk
Robert Bell
Tepperman’s named finalist for its CSR efforts

HFA member Tepperman’s is a finalist for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award by the London (Ontario) Chamber of Commerce. The organization’s annual London Business Achievement Awards recognize business excellence in several categories. Tepperman’s is recognized for its positive impact on the communities it serves and for tackling sustainability issues. The nomination is “truly a wonderful honor,” says Andrew Tepperman, president of Tepperman’s. “We completely believe that our company’s sustainability is directly linked to the welfare of the communities where we operate, and we make it a business imperative to demonstrate best practices and lead through social impact.” Zero-waste goal From

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Photo shows an image of a magnified virus
News
Doug Clark
Retailers must guard employees’ health

The best way for a business to keep its workforce healthy is simple: “Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday published interim guidance for businesses to plan and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus. The virus, which has spread rapidly through parts of China, where it originated, has only infected 12 people in six U.S. states as of Friday. The CDC guidance isn’t specific to the previously unknown virus but “may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including nCoV, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there

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photo shows president trump and others with trade agreement
News
Doug Clark
Some furniture imports from China win tariff relief

Some furniture imports from China have been excluded from tariffs, the Trump administration announced Feb. 5. The action is retroactive to September 2018 and continues until Aug. 7, 2020. Importers are entitled to apply for refunds of tariffs paid – originally 10 percent and then 25 percent since May 10, 2019. The exclusions apply to some categories of products on List 3, which covers approximately $200 million in imports from China. For example, “household furniture of high-pressure laminated bamboo” is now excluded from tariffs. So are “parts of seats … consisting of fabric material (and leather) cut to shape, including

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Badcock Stanhope Furniture Living Room
Shop Talk
Robert Bell
Stanhope line offers step-up opportunity for Badcock customers

Home Furnishings Association member W.S. Badcock Corporation has released a step-up furniture line to its 370-plus Badcock Home Furniture &more stores, a move company officials hope will expand its customer base. The Stanhope line, which features heirloom-quality collections, is a nod to the company’s 116-year history. It includes collections in the bedroom, dining room and living room categories with new items planned for rollout in the future. There is also a line of Stanhope mattresses that combine old-world craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. The new mattresses will round out Badcock’s existing recognizable private-label bedding brands that include Sweet Dreamzzz, Legends and

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