HFA CEO Mark Schumacher is optimistic about 2021


I love great quotations. They can capsulize thoughts and feelings or inspire. The late English author Douglas Adams said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” In light of last year, I could rephrase that to say, “2020 did not take us where we intended to go, but we ended up where we needed to be.”

We had to scrap all our plans for HFA’s 100th anniversary last year and alter our course because of COVID.  It would have been easy to subscribe to a bunker mentality and take up a defensive position and protect all we have from the hostilities and challenges swirling around us. We could have done that at HFA; however, we decided to stand up and push forward. Why did we do that? Why risk it? We did what we were supposed to do, what our founders intended all those years ago; for HFA to lead the charge to deliver answers to your questions, solutions for your problems, and a fix for your challenges. In that way, we are with you, side by side, not behind you or stuck in a bunker somewhere. That is why I am optimistic about 2021 and why I believe there is so much promise for your business.

Our approach was and is a growth mentality. We added 22 solutions partners last year for your benefit, each providing services at costs below what you would pay on your own. All of them can bolster your business. To give you a few examples, one focuses on digital marketing management, a critical area for most of you. Another is a logistics/supply chain expert. I doubt you need me to tell you how important that is right now. We also grew instore financing offerings as well. Think about those things together. They help you procure products, promote what you do, and sell to customers. While you spent much of 2020 in survival mode, I’d like to think that HFA is that cargo plane flying overhead, dropping needed supplies.

Our collective voice has never been louder than it is right now. Our HFA Team takes every opportunity to promote the needs of all home furnishing retailers. They hear you in the U.S. Capitol, city hall, county hall, and state capitals.

As a result of all of these efforts, your association grew by 300 new members in 2020. Please understand we are not gloating or high fiving about those numbers. They tell us the struggles you face are real, and there is a growing need for solutions we can provide. As CEO, I see those numbers as a validation that our HFA team is on track, serving members well, and listening to your needs.

We are stronger today. A healthy, strong association means HFA is positioned to partner with you and support your business. So 2020 did not take us where we intended to go, yet I believe we are where we need to be, where you need us to be—out front, leading, advocating, and fighting for you.

That’s why I am optimistic about 2021.

Mark Schumacher

Mark Schumacher is the CEO of the Home Furnishings Association. To contact us about important issues or actions facing our retailers, please use our contact form.

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