Some HFA members are doing well, for now

Their store may have to close any day, but George and Christina Mason are trying to keep up with business today. They are selling freezers and mattresses like never before – and they’ve been in business for 18 years.

The Masons run Prestige Home Furnishings in Dayton, Ohio, whose inventory also includes new and refurbished refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers and washing machines. Those are all items customers are likely to need if they’re shut in at home for the next few weeks. “They want to load up now,” George said.

They’ve been averaging 19 deliveries a day. “We have a great delivery team,” George added. It’s an outside company, “but they’ve pretty much been with us since the beginning,” Christina said.

“They’re ultra-prepared,” George said, noting that they’ve worn gloves and gas masks inside customers’ homes. Not surgical masks or even respirators. Gas masks. That’s just as much for their safety as for customers’ peace of mind.

The business plan is to “pretty much continue until we can’t,” George said, and then to sell online. Now, they sell more by phone than online, Christina said. But, like everyone, they’ll do their best to adapt.

Promotional sales this weekend

Schewels Home had its strongest sales day in four years last Saturday, Director of Store Operations Matt Schewel said.

The Lynchburg, Va.-based retailer ran special promotions and offered giveaways at its 50 stores in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina and will do it all again this weekend, said Schewel. Customers have responded.

Business also has been good at Outer Banks Furniture in Nags Head and Kitty Hawk, N.C., employee Toni Shalhoup said – despite a state order closing the barrier islands to visitors from the mainland. Only property owners are allowed access to the Outer Banks.

But that may have helped generate sales in a resort area where many people from mainland North Carolina or out of state own vacation homes.

“People who own homes here decided if they’re being quarantined, they’d rather be quarantined in their homes at the beach,” Shalhoup said. Some of them also decided they needed new furniture.

‘We are operating with extra caution’

Like most businesses that are still operating, Outer Banks Furniture wants to assure customers it’s safe to enter its stores – and that there are alternatives available. It posted this notice on its Facebook page:

“WE ARE OPEN regular hours. We are operating with extra caution, following the guidelines of sanitizing & social distancing. Our Showrooms have lots of space to browse safely. We are also available for design consultation via phone & email for your convenience. Deliveries are continuing as scheduled!”

The delivery team for Prestige Home Furnishings is also ultra-prepared for that.

[See HFA’s COVID-19 resources page.]

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