Don’t get them wrong. Home Furnishings Association members Knight Furniture and Stacy Furniture are honored their Texas stores will be recognized at the upcoming NEXT Conference for their long-standing giving to the communities they serve.
But, as Stacy President Dorian Stacy Simms tells it, “There’s something odd being honored for doing the right thing. We don’t do what we do for any award down the road. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
A third Texas store – Swann Furniture – will also be honored for its community commitment at NEXT Conference Sept. 25-27 in Arlington, Texas.
Joey Gunn agrees with Simms. “It just seems a little strange to get an award for something we love doing in the first place,” says Gunn, vice president of Knight Furniture in Sherman, Texas. “We can’t imagine not being out there in our community because they’ve always been there for us.”
Both Simms and Gunn say they can’t recall a time their stores were not giving of their time and talents to the communities they serve. “Ever since I was crawling on the showroom floor in diapers, we’ve been part of our community,” says Gunn. “We do it because we want to but, let’s face it, it makes good business sense. Why would you not want to support the community that’s always supported you?”
And so Knight Furniture does. Through Little League games and chamber of commerce events, school choirs and women’s shelters, teacher-of-the-month celebrations and so much more.
“What’s cool is being the store that’s going to be at the Little League games and chamber events,” says Gunn. “That’s something the big boxes can never do. That’s what sets your local store apart.”
All in the family
Simms says everything she learned about giving back came from her father and grandfather. Rick Stacy, Simms’ father, founded Stacy Furniture in Grapevine, Texas. Simms says he “recognized the importance of connecting and engaging with your neighbors.”
“It’s something that stuck with me,” she says. “We never go out there thinking this is the right business decision to make. We think it’s the right thing to do, period. You’ve been given the time and talent to do great things through your store, so why not do just that?”
For other retailers looking to become more plugged in to their communities, Simms and Gunn offer a few tips:
Find a passion. “If you believe in what a group or organization does, you’re going to be more invested yourself,” says Simms.
Open your doors. It’s not all about money. Once a month, Knight Furniture invites an elementary, middle or high school choir to perform in its showroom. “They get a nice-sized audience to perform in front of and the store gets exposure, too,” says Gunn.
Just say no. Not every opportunity is the right fit. “You have to be smart with your time and allocations,” says Simms. “Sometimes sponsoring a football game isn’t the best return for your store. Sometimes a private school asking for help is going to have to take a back seat to a public school that’s really in need. You have to be able to say ‘no’ sometimes.”
Stacy Furniture and Knight Furniture aren’t the only HFA members being honored at the NEXT Conference. American Furniture Warehouse’s Jake Jabs will receive the Mentorship Award for his efforts to inspire and educate others in the industry for more than 50 years.