When Joseph P. Kennedy III visited Simon’s Furniture Mattresses Appliances in Franklin, Mass., recently, he might have been the most adept politician in the place. But Jared Simon is sharpening his skills, too.
Kennedy is practicing the family craft. A fourth-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he’s now running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. His late grandfather, Robert F. Kennedy, and great-uncles, Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, also were senators – and John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States.
Simon is also following the family trade. Simon’s Furniture was founded in 1911 by Jared’s great-great-grandfather, Abraham Simon. Today, Jared runs the business with his father, Kirk.
Relationships matter in the furniture business and in politics. Jared believes that relationships with politicians can contribute to business success.
Simon explains HFA priorities to Kennedy
As a member of the Home Furnishings Association’s Government Relations Action Team, Simon didn’t waste the opportunity to express HFA’s legislative priorities to Kennedy. Those include Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness and liability protection for businesses.
There are proposals in Congress to provide easy forgiveness for smaller PPP loans. That certainty would allow Simon’s to pay employee bonuses and make other business expenditures, Simon told Kennedy. He also showed the congressman the measures Simon’s has taken to make sure its store is clean and that employees and customers are safe. The business should not be subject to unwarranted legal claims related to COVID-19 despite taking extraordinary precautions, Simon stressed.
Simon also pleaded for Congress to get something done on a bipartisan basis to help businesses, workers and the economy. Kennedy was sympathetic.
Political party matters less than relationships
Kennedy, of course, is a Democrat. Simon’s political leanings are more conservative. But Simon has found Kennedy to be supportive of business concerns and noted that it’s important to maintain relationships with political leaders of all stripes. It doesn’t hurt if one of those leaders happens to be a Kennedy who could become an influential senator someday – like his grandfather and great-uncles.
Other HFA members have forged their own strong relationships with prominent politicians, including their congressional representatives, state legislators and local officials. They all should invite elected leaders to visit their stores and talk about ways government can help the furniture industry. Never has that been more important than in 2020. These relationships can help your business and make HFA a more powerful voice for furniture retailers.
Simon was happy to share photos of Kennedy’s visit to his store with the HFA. We invite other HFA members, when elected leaders visit you, to send us photos and videos so we can share. It matters!
If you are not a member of the Home Furnishings Association, consider joining and adding your voice to ours as we engage with our government for actions that will help your business succeed.