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News
Robert Bell
Greenboard helps convert leads into sales

Lenny Kharitonov likes to tell the story about the “very sophisticated system” he used for tracking customers when he first started selling furniture. It involved index cards. Kharitonov, who’s in New York City, still sells furniture – Unlimited Furniture Group’s clients include celebrities and professional athletes – but his method for creating and tracking sales leads has advanced considerably. Kharitonov developed and now markets Greenboard, a software system that automatically generates leads for furniture retailers from phone calls, emails and other digital consumer contact points. Customer insight Greenboard, a Home Furnishings Association solution partner, gives store owners and sales managers

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News
Robert Bell
Swan FRS takes care of the customer, start to finish

In their quest to find the perfect point-of-sale system, some furniture retailers can focus too much on finding a solution that will help generate the next sale. Pete Morone suggests retailers approach their search from a different perspective. “Sales are only part of the equation,” says Morone. “Retailers sometimes forget about their existing customers and that those customers still need to be serviced after the product is set up in their home.” Morone says that’s one area where Swan FRS stands out. Swan FRS, a Home Furnishings Association solution partner, is a U.K.-based retail management software provider that made its

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
STURDY Act, SOFFA advance

Photo: House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) Two important bills for the furniture industry gained approval by a U.S. House subcommittee today. The STURDY Act and SOFFA were passed by voice votes in the Consumer Protection & Commerce subcommittee and will move to consideration next week by the Energy & Commerce Committee. The STURDY Act, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), stands for Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth. It would direct the Consumer Products Safety Commission, within a year of the bill’s enactment, to issue a mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units.

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News
Robert Bell
Report: New furniture orders continue slide

Above: Ken Smith of Smith Leonard Accountants and Consultants Consumer confidence remains high, but that faith isn’t playing out in the retail furniture sector. New furniture orders dipped 9 percent in April compared with the same month last year, the third straight month of declining orders, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey, released July 1. That trend isn’t about to reverse itself for at least another two months. The survey, conducted monthly by High Point accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard, polls residential furniture manufacturers and distributors. April’s decline continues a trend started in February, which experienced a 5

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Truck drivers wanted

The U.S. trucking industry will need 1 million new drivers over the next 10 years, Sherri Garner Brumbaugh (above) told attendees at the American Home Furnishings Alliance Specialized Furniture Carriers Logistics Conference in Wilmington, N.C., June 19. “We need to attract younger people into our industry,” she said, citing an aging workforce and regulations that – while important – can slow down and raise costs for the shipment of goods on American highways. Brumbaugh is president and CEO of Garner Trucking Inc. in Findlay, Ohio, a company that was started by her late father 60 years ago. “I’m proud to

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Ashley-arts
Membership
Doug Clark
Ashley for the Arts set for Aug. 8-10

Photo: Last year’s Ashley for the Arts drew 70,000 fans to Arcadia, Wis. Arcadia, Wis., punches above its weight. The small town on the Trempealeau River counts only about 3,000 residents but claims one big company: Home Furnishings Association member Ashley Furniture Industries. It also hosts one huge summer event: Ashley for the Arts. Ashley for the Arts is a three-day music and art festival that drew 70,000 people last year. Even bigger crowds are expected at 51-acre Memorial Park Aug. 8-10 for a star-studded lineup of entertainers as well as an Art and Craft Fair, car show, hot-air balloon

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