August 1, 2021

Blog: Enjoying a look back at 48 years of furniture retailing – Furniture Today

Blog: Enjoying a look back at 48 years of furniture retailing - Furniture Today
Blog: Enjoying a look back at 48 years of furniture retailing - Furniture Today

I have been so fortunate over my career that many of our best retailers, manufacturers and importers have been very generous with their time. They would listen to my naïve questions and answer with great patience. I love this industry and tried to learn from every visit.

On Jan. 8, the Home Furnishings Assn. allowed me to speak to some of their members. The topic? What I have learned about furniture retailing: In some cases, what not to do. I took some time to review some of my articles, which required more glancing than reading. Since 1971, I have published about 550 monthly Furnishings Digests, written more than 570 columns for Furniture Today, published about 130 periodic studies on demographics, the economy, imports and exports, the changing structure of furniture retailing, the longer term perspective and even a few studies on mattresses, recliners and other products. This does not count the hundreds of investment reports or my book “50 Years of Furniture Styling: Fond Memories.”

But the deeper I got into my memories of furniture retailing, it brought back so many brilliant thoughts, dumb moves and even a few adventures that I kept writing and writing, even after the HFA webinar was long over. The result? My firm is about to release a 32-page short written report, “Reflections on 48 Years of Visiting Furniture Stores: The Good, the Sad and the Ridiculous.” For your copy, you can email research@maeltd.com and you will have it shortly.

Trust me, there will not be anything about computer programming, scheduling advertising, contrasting vendors and their prices or how to find a new store location. There are professionals who do that.

I did leave some adventures out like who pulled a pistol out during an interview, or why I spent the entire night at Havertys old headquarters in Atlanta, or getting bogged down in the deep Malaysian mud looking at rubberwood sawmills. One of the best was having the High Point police banging on my door at the old Holiday Inn on Main Street at midnight, and how I could not get to the door.

I hope you enjoy this light-hearted book. We all need some humor these days.

W.W. “Jerry” Epperson, Jr. is a founder and managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Ltd., an investment banking and research firm. Jerry is the head of their research efforts and has in excess of thirty years of experience in the publication of hard/soft dollar research which focuses on demographics, consumer products, furnishings (residential and contract) and related issues. More specifically, Jerry’s research in the furnishings industry is recognized on a world-wide basis for its in-depth coverage of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.