Here’s what Ron Cooper loves to hear a client say after a PMP sales event: “Ron, I just finished the analysis of my financials, and it cost me nothing to have you here.”
“That’s really the bottom line,” says Cooper, vice president for sales and marketing for PMP Sales, a new Home Furnishings Association Solution Partner. “And that couldn’t have given us any higher compliment, for us to come in as a commission-based company and not cost the retailer anything because of the results we got, with increased margin as well as revenue.”
PMP Sales runs promotions to help furniture retailers reconnect with their market and to raise cash. It provides a range of services for companies that want to improve their current situations and are interested in expanding in new markets with a “pop-up” concept. And, PMP still runs going out of business sales.
Recently, PMP Sales created a new division called PMP Consulting. It’s an initiative that Cooper has had in mind for a long time. He spent more than 30 years in furniture retail himself, until shutting down his stores in 2007. During his retail time, he utilized some consultants. One of them was industry veteran Jim Grandillo.
Helping retailers stay in business is a key goal
After shutting his stores, Cooper joined Profit Management Associates, which focused primarily on liquidations as opposed to helping stores stay in business. “We didn’t do many cash-raising sales to help stores stay in business back then, which was my goal,” Cooper says. “But I always put the bug in the previous owner’s head back then, who has since retired, that we should have a division that helps stores stay in business.”
As Cooper and his partner, Hector Mustafa, took over ownership of the company in 2014, they moved closer to his goal by learning more and more about the industry to aid retailers. For years, they attended conferences, markets, seminars. “We were living in your seminar rooms,” he said of the HFA’s Resource Centers in High Point and Las Vegas. “We really did become quite astute.”
When working with clients, Cooper discovered that many didn’t really need to go out of business. “We were able to resurrect them and re-establish their connection with the marketplace.” Finally, during the coronavirus shutdowns earlier this year, when so many retailers suddenly were dealing with unprecedented challenges and needed help, “I said it’s time to move forward on the consulting division.”
Jim Grandillo leads PMP Consulting
The decision was timely. Cooper happened to hear from an important figure from his past – Jim Grandillo. “I can’t believe your timing,” Cooper told him, explaining that he needed someone to run the new Consulting Division. “Ron, I’m your man,” Grandillo answered.
Something else motivated Cooper: remembering the “painful experience, both emotionally and financially,” of once having to shut down himself.
Cynthia Heathcoe shares that same feeling. Once an HFA Emerging Star as owner of Contemporary Living in Palm Beach, Fla., she saw her business sink into trouble. “When I realized I couldn’t manage the effects of a relocation on my own, I reached out to Ron,” she says. “He was brutally honest. I waited too long. I really respected his honesty and advice. I really felt like he cared about what I was going through, and he didn’t take advantage of me when I was in a vulnerable and painful position.” Cooper offered guidance through the process of closing her business, but he never charged her anything.
There are solutions to infuse new life into a business
Since then, she has joined the team at PMP Sales as vice president of business development. Her experience fuels her desire to help clients. Pride and fear kept her from seeking help before it was too late, but “I want to be part of that solution for other retailers,” she says. “GOB is not the only option. There are solutions to infuse new life into a business that at times owners are too close to see.”
The current retail environment is challenging. It requires businesses to implement policies with the health and safety of employees and customers as job one. Retailers also must find new ways to engage customers and close sales. They must excel at e-commerce, Cooper says.
“With an experienced, knowledgeable team in place, PMP Sales can help furniture retailers navigate changing times,” he says. For HFA members, PMP offers a rebate on top of the increased revenues and margins they will realize from PMP Sales’ services.
For more information, call an HFA member specialist at 800-422-3778.
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