Next Generation Now

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HFA hosting Leadership Immersion program in Colorado

Back by popular demand, the Home Furnishings Association is sponsoring its third annual Leadership Immersion Experience, this time at American Furniture Warehouse in Boulder, Colo. For three days—January 10-12, 2017, HFA members who are also Next Generation Now members will get the opportunity to go behind the scenes of one of the industry’s Top 100 retailers, and learn from its iconic CEO, Jake Jabs, and his team.

“The Leadership Immersion Experience is an extraordinary opportunity for HFA’s young professionals around the country,” said Sharron Bradley, HFA’s CEO.
Lael Thompson, of Broyhill Home Collections in Aurora, Colo., was one of five HFA members who attended last year’s Leadership Immersion Experience in Miami at El Dorado Furniture.
“There was something in every meeting that I learned and could take back home to implement,” Thompson said. “Everything from operations and inventory right down to price tags and wiping down fingerprints. It was amazing.”

The program features an agenda developed to showcase the finely tuned operations of one of the most successful retailers in the country. With visits to the distribution center, corporate headquarters and a local retail storefront, attendees will have exclusive access to American Furniture Warehouse executives and key staff members.

Fill out the application here.

HFA members can contact HFA’s education director, Kaprice Crawford, at 800-422-3778 ext. 102 or email her at kcrawford@myhfa.org for more information.

HFA Announces Leadership Immersion Program for Young Professionals

Roseville Ca. (October 5, 2015) – The Home Furnishings Association (HFA) announces the launch of a young professionals leadership program offering one-of-kind visits with best in class retailers and the industry’s leading executives. The Next Generation members of HFA have the opportunity to apply and qualify for the new Leadership Immersion Experience program offered October 27-30, 2015 at the headquarters of El Dorado Furniture, Miami Gardens, FL.

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HFA’s Next Gen Tours Zappos during Las Vegas Market

Roseville, CA, July 20, 2015 — The Home Furnishings Association’s (HFA) Next Generation NOW group of young home furnishings professionals will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the online customer service wunderkind, Zappos, Monday, August 3 during the Las Vegas Summer Market.

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NAHFA sets Next Generation NOW events for High Point Market

Next Generation Now High Point April 2015Roseville, CA, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) announces Next Generation NOW (NGN) networking and educational opportunities set for Sunday, April 19 at the High Point Market.

Sunday morning, NAHFA offers endorsed market education for NGN members in the Retailer Resource Center (RRC), 1st floor of Plaza Suites. Young professionals are encouraged to attend Jerry Epperson’s State of the Industry Address, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. This must attend seminar is invaluable to the next generation coming into the business.

Young professionals are invited to a Lunch with Leaders, with appointments available between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Eugene Alletto, President and Founder, Bedgear, Marc Schewel, Schewels Furniture, Lynchburg, VA and Tom Olinde, Olinde’s Baton Rouge, LA are the leaders who will meet with NGN members. Leaders and participants will discuss best practices, the importance of mentoring, and share their unique insights on our industry based on their respective roles. Interested market attendees can register at nextgenerationnow.net.

Later Sunday night, NGN members and those interested in learning more about the Next Generation NOW community are invited to the group’s market BASH, 5:00 p.m. at FurnitureDealer.net’s Hangout, 311 S. Elm Street for cocktails, appetizers, and networking. FurnitureDealer.net and NAHFA sponsor the BASH.

“I’ve made more relevant changes to our company from the sound advice gained by spending time with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation owners than any college course or somewhat bright idea I’ve come up with. “ said Next Gen NOW Advisory Board Member, Jordan Barrick, Quality Furniture & Appliance, “Getting the chance to meet with owners who literally gross 100-200 times the annual revenues I work hard to achieve is incredible and their encouragement is immeasurable.”

Young professionals and Next Gen NOW members can learn more at nextgenerationnow.net or by contacting Cindi Williams at (800) 422-3778 or cwilliams@nahfa.org.

Picking Up Where Dad Left Off

RN: You’re a fourth-generation furniture store. Was this your destiny?

Jacob: I wouldn’t say it was a given I’d be part of the family business. I was always interested in business. Other than the perpetual dream of being a professional golfer I’ve been interested in business. It just so happens I went into the family business.

RN: Tell me about your first job at the store.

Jacob: I started out in one of our retail outlets’ office for collections. It was my job to call and remind people if they were late with their payments. We had a collections van that rotated from store to store and when it came to my store, of course it was my job to go out and collect. Collection isn’t like it is on TV. There’s no hiding in the bushes and it’s nothing like Airplane Repo. You knock on doors and just talk to people.

RN: What did that job teach you?

Jacob: It woke me up a little bit. It was tough seeing people who had unfortunate events come up in their lives. A lot of times it was a medical reason they couldn’t or didn’t pay their bill. I understand that and I can sympathize with them. But it didn’t take me long to realize that without that income our business doesn’t run and we have employees who have families to support.

RN: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from your father, Stuart Shevin?

Jacob: Dad was a good teacher. I’ve heard so many terrible family businesses stories, but my father always kept family and business separate. He showed me that running a business is not rocket science. It’s really easy if you do what you say you will do and treat people well.

RN: Were you ready to take over the business when he died?

Jacob: You’re never ready to take over a business no matter how much preparation you’ve had. It doesn’t mater if you’re taking over as the store manager or president of the company it’s hard. It was hard for me, but I had a great team of employees around me who made the transition easier than it could have been.

RN: You live in a football-crazy state torn between two schools. How do you please Alabama and Auburn customers alike?

Jacob: I went to Alabama, but I tell people my favorite color is green so we work it out. Our policy is to have fun with it with the customers if they look like they can have fun with it. We’re not going to say, “Roll, Tide” to an Auburn fan if it makes them mad. We’re not going to lose a sale over football.

RN: Look into the future and tell me where the home furnishings industry is going.

Jacob: I don’t think e-commerce is going to be the way everyone buys if the Marketplace Fairness Act forces online retailers to collect sales tax like the rest of us. When you have major purchase like furniture the sales tax becomes a big angle. But if everyone has to collect taxes now the playing field is level and I think people still want to see an item in a store.

RN: Where can the industry improve?

Jacob: We need to do a better job emphasizing the value of our products and not just think of what we sell as a commodity. When you look at the price points in our industry, they’ve always stayed the same or gone down. Why are we so scared to increase prices? Look at the automotive industry. You never see new models come out with lower prices. We need to be working with our sales staffs to add value—our whole industry could improve on this. I’ve only been doing this for nine years but I remember how much better trained the reps were compared to today. Buyers are having to do that job now as opposed to manufacturers. We need to change that.

RN: What do you get out of Next Gen?

Jacob: I’m concerned about young people making their way into the industry. I don’t see a lot of younger reps coming through my doors or young people applying for jobs with us. I think (Next Gen) is helping solve that. Before Next Gen I knew one person in the industry my age. I had a hard time getting excited about change. This group has shown me we’re not alone. There’s a lot of young talent in the industry and we’ve got some good ideas.