Here’s to Unsatisfied Retailers

Editor's Letter

May you never be satisfied

Two retailers, two stories.

By her own admission, Cynthia Heathcoe is the New Kid on the Block (minus the gold chains and ball cap askew). Her store in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., continues to gain traction with fans of contemporary furniture’s clean lines.

By contrast, the father and son team of David and Brad Schweig have been around the block a few times—36 years to be exact. The owners of Sunnyland Outdoor Furniture in Dallas run one of the nation’s largest, most successful outdoor furniture stores.

Both are winners of awards this year from the Home Furnishings Association. Cynthia is the HFA’s inaugural Emerging Star, which recognizes someone who’s been in business for three to five years and has made an indelible mark on our industry in that short time. David and Brad are the HFA’s Retailers of the Year for businesses with less than $10 million in annual sales. The award honors retailers who have made an impact not just on their bottom line through innovation and customer service, but their community’s bottom line, too, through charitable involvement.

I was blessed to tell their stories, and what struck me most about the three of them is their inability to rest on any laurels. Cynthia is the first to admit she’s still learning this crazy business of selling furniture. “Just because other people label me a success doesn’t mean I’ve bought into it,” she says. “Every time I learn something new I realize just how much I don’t know. What else am I not aware of that’s out there? You know what I mean?”

I didn’t ask them, but I bet David and Brad know exactly what Cynthia means. David is always looking for something new to bring to his business. “You can’t stop innovating, trying something different because your competitors aren’t slowing down. Your manufacturers, your vendors—they’re not waiting for you either,” he says. “You’re either out front or following the herd. I like being out front.”

Our industry is stronger for both of these pace setters.

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