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HOM Furniture honors GTR Leather, and rep Rutzick

HFA member HOM Furniture of Coon Rapids, Minn., announced its 2018 Vendor of the Year and Manufacturer’s Representative of the Year awards this month.

Kyle Johansen, Executive Director of Merchandising for HOM Furniture, presented the 2018 Vendor of the Year award to GTR Leather owners Peter Robinson and Christopher Thorpe.

“The team at GTR has an inspirational passion for their products which comes through by the beautifully designed upholstery they are producing,” Johansen said. “Their attention to detail with every nail, stitch, and cover application allows HOM to provide the finest leather upholstery in the marketplace at a superior value than our competition.”

HOM sells GTR Leather under its private label, “Thomas Cole.”

“Mr. Rutzick is one of the finest reps the industry has to offer,” Johannsen said. “His attention to detail, strong work ethic, dedication to working in our showrooms, and prompt follow up to our buying and sales teams have earned him this prestigious award.”

Scott Rutzick was named the Manufacturer’s Representative of the Year. With 20 years of experience with HOM Furniture, Rutzick has demonstrated a commitment to the success of HOM while working as a representative for Oriental Weavers, HOM’s largest area rug vendor line.

Robert Bell is Content Editor for the Home Furnishings Association. Email or call him with any news about your store, including expansion, personnel, successful initiatives—anything of interest to HFA members. He can be reached at rbell@myhfa.org or 916-757-1169.

David Gunn

Triple Crown: Gunn, Knight Furniture win 3 awards

You would think longtime Home Furnishings Association member David Gunn would be used to winning awards, but the HFA’s 2016 Retailer of the Year still gets emotional when his name is called.

This time it was when the Sherman (Texas) Chamber of Commerce honored Gunn and Knight Furniture, with three awards: the President’s Award, Small Business of the Year, and the Community Leader of the Year.

Sherman City council member Shawn Teamann presented the Community Leader of the Year award to Gunn, who received a standing ovation.

“I’m sorry if I seem a little more emotional than normal,” Gunn said. “I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of being recognized with this because of the quality of the other nominees.”

Sherman Chamber of Commerce President Eddie Brown presented the President’s Award to Gunn. It is an award Brown said isn’t handed out very often.

Brown said Gunn has worked with the chamber on many events, tourism, and Main Street. “He does an outstanding job in our community,” Brown said of Gunn, “from everything to those serving on committees in our community to chasing ghosts in downtown Sherman.”

Gunn was humbled to receive the Small Business of the Year award on behalf of Knight Furniture. “They say small businesses are like sucking on a lemon drop candy, you have to suck on the sour for a long time before the sweet comes,” he said.

A city covered in snow

When it’s cold outside, retailers are lonely inside

From a furniture retailer’s perspective, the polar vortex gripping much of the Midwest this week can be summed up in two numbers: 21 and 0.

The first is the number of degrees below zero Norton Shore, Mich., felt like when a lusty wind chill whipped off Lake Michigan early Wednesday morning. The second is the number of Norton Shore customers who chose to brave the c-c-cold and show up at Blended Furniture Market the past two days.

HFA member RandiLynn Talsma stared out her store’s front windows at an empty parking lot and shrugged.

“It’s been a quiet 48 hours, but I’m not complaining,” says Talsma. “Even I wouldn’t go out shopping in this weather.”

For the second straight day usually hearty Midwesterners decided furniture shopping could wait – any shopping really. Schools and businesses remains closed in many cities and residents were warned to wear extra layers if they dared venture out.

About 290 miles north of Norton Shores, HFA member Kyle Everson of Everson’s Furniture in St. Ignace, Mich., finally made it to work Thursday around 2:30 in the afternoon. Eighteen inches of snow the night before tends to make you late for work.  Besides, Everson said, “Nobody’s going out in this stuff anyway.”

This time of year is slow for Everson’s. St. Ignace is a tourist town hard by the Lake Huron in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She and her husband, Jim, get through the winter on his upholstering business.

“It would be different if it were this dead in a few months, but we’re used to this,” Kyle said. Instead of serving customers, the Eversons are crunching numbers. “There’s always book keeping to do,” she said.

The Eversons and Talsma will be selling soon.  Forecasts call for a 70- to 80-degree swing in temperature throughout the Midwest to kick off the weekend.

“I can’t wait,” Kyle Everson said. “It’s getting a little lonely here.”

Robert Bell is Content Editor for the Home Furnishings Association. Email or call him with any news about your store, including expansion, personnel, successful initiatives—anything of interest to HFA members. He can be reached at rbell@myhfa.org or 916-757-1169.