CEO Summit host committee
The Host Committee for the CEO Summit (plus a guest), from left: Kurt Darrow of La-z-Boy, Hall of Fame golfer Johnny Miller, Irv Blumkin of Nebraska Furniture Mart, Clarence Smith of Haverty's, Kenny Larson of Slumberland, Rod Johansen of HOM Furniture, Chairman Keith Koenig of City Furniture, Todd Wanek of Ashley. Absent from the photo are Jeff Seaman of Rooms-To-Go and Neil Goldberg of Raymour & Flanigan.

HFA’s CEO Summit launches retailer action

Photo shows Brian Woods, Oscar Miskelly and Trey Van Hoose at CEO Summit
Brian Woods of Jerome’s, Oscar Miskelly of Miskelly and Trey Van Hoose of Big Sandy share insights at HFA’s CEO Summit.

The Home Furnishings Association’s inaugural CEO Summit concluded today with participants focused on action. Next steps will happen before the second annual gathering in October 2020.

The event, which began Sunday evening, convened 50 of the nation’s top furniture retailers for discussions and networking in Pebble Beach, Calif. They set aside their normal roles as competitors, concentrating instead on common challenges and solutions, according to Mark Schumacher, executive vice president of the HFA.

“Great things happen when we bring retailers together,” Schumacher said. “It does not matter their size. It does not matter what part of the country they come from. This is an industry that is about relationships, and when we as the Home Furnishings Association bring them together in a purposeful fashion and then allow them to connect and discuss, great things happen.”

Strategies to regain market share

The owners, presidents and chief executives also interacted with leaders from financial services firms Synchrony and Piper Jaffray, marketing technology company PERQ, AI-powered technology firm Shoptelligence and business management and training expert David Kain. On the agenda were strategies to regain market share from giant online furniture vendors, connect more effectively with customers in digital channels and achieve greater productivity from existing staffing levels.

“They left with takeaways to better their businesses and to be more resilient in the face of these dynamic challenges,” Schumacher said.

Photo shows participants at CEO Summit
Wogan S. “Wogie” Badcock of W S Badcock Corp. illustrates a point at the CEO Summit.

The HFA will share those takeaways in depth in future blog and social media posts and articles in its Insights Magazine.

The same currents push large and small retailers

The same currents influencing the retail environment affect the largest and smallest players, Schumacher added. The CEO Summit began to generate ideas that can benefit every furniture retailer. It also established a successful model for further conferences for a wide array of HFA members.

“This just proved it works,” Schumacher said.  “It’s what we’re going to do on all levels.”

“The first annual CEO Summit was three great days and evenings of meetings, networking and fun at world-famous Pebble Beach,” Host Committee Chairman Keith Koenig said. He is CEO of City Furniture. “Top retail CEOs shared ideas and built relationships that will benefit them and their businesses. My bet is this will become the one event we all want to come to every year.”

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