,

HFA DC Fly-In 2023: Crisis Management

HFA Board Members and GRAT Team in Washington DC

On the surface, HFA DC Fly-In, our in-person advocacy visit scheduled in late May, would be simply going through the motions. Our primary issue of the last year, the tip-over controversy, is over, except for compliance. Then we unknowingly timed our visit to coincide with the debt ceiling crisis, which in and of itself could certainly overwhelm our plans. As it turns out, our timing could not have been any better. The 20 of us who attended the 2023 HFA DC Fly-In logged more than 12,000 steps in a full day on Capitol Hill. What did the stops in between all the walking gain us?

Intimate discussions with Congressmen XXX on Capital Hill.
Sit down with Congressman Darin LaHood, (R) 16th District of Illinois.

First, we managed to have intimate conversations with several members of Congress. I define intimate as having a private room or space in their office to hold relaxed, lively discussions. We received some inside information about the debt ceiling negotiations in one meeting. In another, we discussed the latest on China, from tariff issues to the overall threat posed by the country and how that could impact the US and, in particular, all of our member businesses.

The conversations always come around to questions from our delegation, and the common refrain that our members delivered is how brinksmanship (like the debt ceiling debate) hurts consumer confidence which hurts home furnishings and all retail businesses. One congressman told us, “Well, the markets might take a dive for a few days, but we will reach a deal, and then they will bounce back.” That sounds great on paper; however, our members clarified that consumer confidence only bounces back slowly. Their customers are beaten up by the economy and by all the rancor in Washington, DC. HFA Members meeting with congressmen on Capital Hill

We asked a simple question. What can we do to help them avoid this kind of crisis management? We discovered that context is lacking on Capitol Hill in the halls of Congress, in cabinet offices, and all the way to the White House. There needs to be a universal understanding of how their actions impact the American people and, therefore, home furnishings businesses. A person asked us to provide that context with real stories and numbers nationally and in their districts. That gives us a road map for the coming months.

Representative from Alabama Jerry Carl (R) with With Matt Pridemore from Badcock and More, Robin Marks with Marks Furniture, and HFA lobbyist, Chris Andresen.
Representative from Alabama Jerry Carl (R) with With Matt Pridemore from Badcock and More, Robin Marks with Marks Furniture, and HFA lobbyist, Chris Andresen.
Meeting with the VP of the port authority that oversees the North American ports
Matt Pridemore, Steven Allegrezza, Lenny Kharitonov, Eric Blackledge, Cynthia Heathcoe, Robin Marks on the speakers balcony
Matt Pridemore, Steven Allegrezza, Lenny Kharitonov, Eric Blackledge, Cynthia Heathcoe, and Robin Marks on the speaker’s balcony.

While our government relations action team (GRAT) is excellent at responding to crises, I came away from the HFA DC Fly-in determined to continue cultivating key relationships by connecting our members and their stories to the decision-makers today, not tomorrow. We do very well during a crisis, yet now we can spend most of our time preventing fires and not just putting them out.

The HFA DC Fly-In Attendees walking from the Capital Building.

Our success in the tip-over fight was thanks to many HFA members who stepped up and communicated directly with decision-makers. They told them about their stores and how customers would be impacted. We need to do that now regularly while we have their attention.

As you read this, please do not stay in your comfort zone while there is no major battle for us. Please help us to consistently let the decision makers know who you are, how important your business is to this economy, and what the results of their actions look like. That’s true crisis management!

See more:

Related Posts

Looking to grow your business? Look no further.
Becoming a member of the HFA has more benefits than we can list here. Click the button to learn more.
Trending In

HFA Solution Partners

AVB Marketing

AVB Marketing is a not-for-profit, member-owned full service agency delivering custom marketing solutions to America’s

Clientbook_HFA Solution Partner

Acquiring new customers is the lifeblood of your furniture business. However, far too often customers

SEO Company Santa Monica_Logo

In today’s digital era, driving foot traffic to your physical store is invaluable. Our Google

AVB Marketing

AVB Marketing is a not-for-profit, member-owned full service agency delivering custom marketing solutions to America’s

Clientbook_HFA Solution Partner

Acquiring new customers is the lifeblood of your furniture business. However, far too often customers

SEO Company Santa Monica_Logo

In today’s digital era, driving foot traffic to your physical store is invaluable. Our Google

Sherwin Williams

Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution,

Bright Data_HFA Solution Partner

Powered by advanced AI technology, Bright Data focuses on bringing simplicity to complex e-commerce insights.

Sherwin Williams

Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution,

Bright Data_HFA Solution Partner

Powered by advanced AI technology, Bright Data focuses on bringing simplicity to complex e-commerce insights.

Sign up for more!
From HFA events to the latest member news, get updates straight to your inbox.
Stay Informed and Up To Date
Subscribe now to elevate your store's success with expert tips and the latest trends delivered straight to your inbox.

Not an HFA member?

Don't miss out on all of our association benefits!