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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
Member News
Home Furnishings Association
Fire destroys Badcock store in Georgia

Photo: A lightning strike triggered a fire that destroyed Henry and Beth McCall’s Badcock Furniture & More store in Folkston, Ga., July 21. Credit: Brandi O’Berry. 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

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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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Shop Talk
Robert Bell
Resource Center: How to find (and keep) good people

Selling furniture is hard enough. Finding the right sales associates to sell that furniture can be just as challenging. The same with hiring and holding on to delivery drivers, accountants or people in any other position at your store, for that matter. Faced with low unemployment and rising wages in other industries, furniture retailers are scrambling to find quality employees to staff their stores, says Rene Johnston-Gingrich, vice president of training development for Profitability Consulting Group. “It’s the single-biggest issue across the board when we talk to retailers,” says Johnston-Gingrich. “And as long as the economy continues the way it has, it’s going

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Photo of products sold by Design Elements of Florida
News
Robert Bell
Resource Center: Engage customers through e-newsletters

Let’s face it: We are slammed by email and social media and much of it is the same. “It’s an onslaught of messages designed to sell, sell, sell,” says Michael Bailenson, president of e-marketing company Bailcomm. “The constant sales pitch is not the way to go about engaging with potential customers.” Bailenson says there’s a better way – personalized e-newsletters – and he has the numbers to prove it. “People still want information, but it has to be information that’s relevant and engaging,” says Bailenson. “Think about two emails – one is nothing more than a sales pitch to buy

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Hands up in the HFA resource center seminar room
News
Robert Bell
Resource Center: How to convert ‘no’s’ into sales

To many furniture sales associates, the word “no” means the end. To Joe Milevsky, “no” is actually a starting point. “At any time during the sales process, when a customer tells you ‘no’ what they’re really saying is they haven’t learned enough about the furniture or you haven’t established trust with them,” says Milevsky, CEO and founder of JRM Sales & Management. “Too many salespeople put their tails between their legs and walk away. That’s when salesmanship really starts.” HFA’s Resource Center Milevsky will speak at the Home Furnishings Association’s Resource Center at Las Vegas Market on Tuesday, July 30.

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