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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Overtime ruling surprises Massachusetts retailers

A surprising court ruling in Massachusetts has forced some furniture retailers to change how they pay their sales staff. The Commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court decision in Sullivan v. Sleepy’s reversed a long-held understanding about overtime pay for sales employees who are paid by commission. Advisory letters issued by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards in 2003 and 2009 led employers to believe they didn’t need to pay overtime for work on Sundays or for hours in excess of 40 in a week, as long as the amount paid in commissions and draws was greater than 1.5 times the state’s minimum wage. “We recognize that the

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Badcock store on fire
News
Home Furnishings Association
Fire destroys Badcock store in Georgia

Home Furnishings Association member Beth McCall was at church Sunday night, July 21, when she learned lightning struck her Badcock Home Furniture & More in Folkston, Ga. By the time she got to the store, it was too late: The building was engulfed in flames. The building, along with its inventory, was destroyed. The fire “is like having a death in the family,” McCall said. “It really is because you have so much that you lose that cannot be brought back. It’s like a final chapter in our life, for this building.” Looking for new address McCall said she and her family are

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California bear flag
Policy Matters
Doug Clark
AB 2998 deadline nears in California

A deadline is approaching in California. The state’s furniture retailers should clear their inventories of products covered by Assembly Bill 2998 before the law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. The law prohibits the sale and distribution of juvenile products, upholstered furniture, replacement components of reupholstered furniture and many mattresses if those products or materials contain certain flame-retardant chemicals at levels above 1,000 parts per million. California’s Bureau of Household Goods and Services in the Department of Consumer Affairs recently published Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) to help manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers prepare for AB 2998’s implementation. The law directs the bureau to test products and

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Jeff Smith is general manager of Walker Furniture in Gainesville, Fla.
Policy Matters
Home Furnishings Association
Walker Furniture, HFA appeal to Washington for ADA clarity

Jeff Smith asked his representatives in Washington for help, and the Home Furnishings Association is backing him up. Smith’s story was told in HFA’s July Government Relations newsletter. Smith, the general manager of HFA member Walker Furniture in Gainesville, Fla., received a demand letter from an attorney representing a client who claimed Walker’s website wasn’t accessible to people who are visually impaired and thus violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Smith quickly investigated the complaint, directed his web designer to make improvements and hired an attorney of his own. After weeks of negotiations, it appeared that Walker Furniture would end

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Brad Jensen, Jerry Jensen, Tom Wright and John Wright in the Jensen Home Furnishings store in Taylorville, Ill.
News
Home Furnishings Association
Wright purchases Jensen in Illinois

Jerry Jensen is a happy man. He and Donna, the “cute little blond” he married 61 years ago, are retiring after selling the business they built from scratch. And they’re leaving it in good hands. “I’m 85, and my family and my son, we’re ready to move on,” Jensen said. Jensen Home Furnishings opened its doors in Taylorville, Ill., in 1983 with only family members on staff. Now the business employs 23 and claims 57,000 square feet of showroom space and an attached warehouse. The buyer is Wright’s Furniture & Flooring, a three-store business based in Dieterich, Ill. “I’ve known

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Tuscany Fine Furnishings photo shows Kameron, Kathy and Kelle McConnell in their Roswell, Ga., store.
News
Home Furnishings Association
Tuscany Fine Furnishings excels at digital marketing

Tuscany Fine Furnishings in Roswell, Ga., doesn’t sell online. But it engages customers through its integrated social media channels so that “when they come in, they’re ready to buy,” co-owner Kelle McConnell says. McConnell brought a technology background into a partnership with his wife, Kathy, an interior designer, who was managing a small interior design and furnishings store in 2004. Kathy and Kelle purchased the store inventory and rental space and together they created Tuscany Fine Furnishings. It’s a full-service design company offering a wide variety of furniture collections from 81 suppliers, McConnell says. Everyone on the sales staff is

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