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Robert Bell
‘This business is bigger than you’

Sam Zavary learned the furniture business on his own. But life’s biggest lesson came from his father. It’s a lesson he’s still learning. “Start from the beginning,” someone says. “Tell me about your father.”A smile fills Sam Zavary’s face. He takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. “I can tell you a lot of things,” he says. “There are so many good things about him.” “Pick one.” Sam Zavary pauses for an awkward amount of time, sifting through the years for just the right memory but still nothing. Only a question. “How can you pick just one memory?” he

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Senator shares furniture store lessons

Senator Joe Manchin grew up in the retail trade, he told Home Furnishings Association members in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. His grandfather owned a grocery store and his father owned a furniture and carpet store in Farmington, W.Va. The future governor and senator worked at both by the time he was 9 in the mid-1950s. By age 13, he rode on the delivery truck to help carry furniture and appliances into customers’ homes. At 16, “I got to put on a tie and become a salesman.” His father’s favorite saying was, “There’s no such thing as shoppers. They’re all buyers, they

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Florida fails to update sales-tax collections

It never drew a negative vote in the Florida legislature. But it didn’t advance to a final vote, either. A bill that would require out-of-state, online sellers to collect and turn over sales tax won unanimous support in two Senate committees only to die without further action as the legislature adjourned this month – leaving behind an opportunity to create marketplace fairness for brick-and-mortar retailers like furniture stores. The Florida failure highlights the need for national legislation to address inconsistent state actions that leave too many brick-and-mortar retailers at a disadvantage against online sellers. Opponents claimed the measure raised taxes

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Business Insurance
Robert Bell
HFA’s Business Insurance Program saves members thousands of dollars every year

Coverage you can count on (and afford). For years, Home Furnishings Association member Barry Seidman was happy letting a longtime friend handle the business insurance needs for his store, Barney’s Furniture in Springfield, Ill. Even when the HFA’s insurance agents asked Seidman if he’d like a free audit and quote, Seidman demurred. “My agent and I are good friends,” he said. “I liked that he was close by and figured I couldn’t do better on price or service.” Finally, after years of being nudged, Seidman allowed an agent with the HFA’s Business Insurance Program to audit his policy. “I was

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Environmental footprint
Susan Inglis
Reducing your store’s environmental footprint can increase its profits

Many people assume doing the right thing will be expensive. That’s a myth we at the Sustainable Furnishings Council love to dispell. The fact is that best practices for sustainability – for ensuring a healthy future – will save you money immediately and in the long term. Doing more to encourage sustainability also gives you more to tell your customers, and it is information they will be glad to learn. SFC’s consumer research shows that 87 percent of home furnishings customers are worried about global warming, based on their own experience with extreme weather events.  Further, 97 percent are worried about

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SOFFA bills reintroduced in Congress

SOFFA returned this week, with bipartisan bills introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House. Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Ca.) and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) announced today they will sponsor the Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA) “to set a national furniture flammability standard that will reduce the need for harmful flame retardants in furniture,” a news release from Matsui’s office said. A companion bill was placed in the Senate by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. The legislation would make California’s Technical Bulletin 117-2013 a national standard, replacing an open flame test with a smolder test for furniture

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