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Sheely's
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Robert Bell
After 68 years as a single store, Sheely’s doubles in size

After 68 years as a single-store business, Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance is expanding its footprint. The Home Furnishings Association member in North Lima, Ohio, will open a second store in September in Aurora, about 30 miles outside Cleveland. The new location is part of the company’s strategic initiative for growth and further expansion into the Cleveland market. A grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 7-19 at the new location on North Marketplace Drive at the Shops at Marketplace. Jessica Smith, buyer and one of three principal owners at Sheely’s, is excited. “As a third-generation Sheely’s family member, I’m honored to

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Treasury official hears HFA members’ concerns

Business lending programs are badly flawed, Home Furnishings Association members told an official with the U.S. Treasury Department in a conference call May 5. Howard Haimsohn, owner of Lawrance Furniture in San Diego, said he was anxious while he waited for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and is equally anxious since he received it. That’s because he only has eight weeks to spend the money – most of it for payroll – yet his business still can’t reopen. That means he’s paying employees, but they have little work to do. “I can promise we’re going to need a lot of

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News
Doug Clark
Political connections matter during a crisis

Businesses have learned many lessons through the coronavirus crisis. One of them, Ashley Furniture Industries CEO Todd Wanek said in a recent Home Furnishings Association webinar, is “that you’ve got to be politically connected.” When states issued orders requiring most businesses to close, they made exceptions for retailers selling “essential” items, which included medical supplies, appliances and groceries. That left most furniture stores out. But many of the large chains, such as Costco and Walmart, “were allowed to open and sell furniture,” Wanek said, “and we weren’t politically connected enough in many communities that we could say, our company also

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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Recalling employees could lead to conflicts

The owners of a furniture store in a Midwestern state furloughed most of their 15 employees after their governor issued stay-at-home orders several weeks ago. Now, ready to reopen, they’re calling them back. Some aren’t ready to come. One is caring for a child who’s out of school for the rest of the academic year. A second said she wouldn’t feel comfortable returning for at least another two weeks. A third said he wanted to draw unemployment benefits longer. These furniture retailers – who don’t want to be identified because they’re talking about their staff – are facing human resources

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News
Robert Bell
Wanek to retailers: Embrace an e-commerce game

The ripples from the coronavirus pandemic will change consumer shopping habits for years — perhaps even permanently —  as more Americans choose to travel less and stay home more. That will create a more localized economy for all small businesses, and retailers should act now to take advantage of the changes to come, said Ashley CEO Todd Wanek. Now more than ever, said Wanek, furniture retailers need to give consumers more ways to shop their store. That includes beefing up your e-commerce game. “The last thing in the world you want to do is be single-threaded as an organization,” said

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News
Robert Bell
Greenboard makes Simon’s Furniture run smoother during crisis

The plan was for Simon’s Furniture, Mattresses & Appliances to implement the web-based communications tool Greenboard in May to see how it helped unify a sometimes disjointed sales process. The coronavirus changed that. In March, with most of his staff furloughed and only himself, his father and an operations manager running the store, Jared Simon decided to implement the new program to funnel all incoming calls, emails and website chats into one space. It didn’t take long for Simon to realize the power he had with Greenboard. Simon says Greenboard, a Home Furnishings Association Solution Partner, is going to be

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