From Home Furnishing Business
Take 5: Lee Goodman
Sixty-one years old and still growing. Jerome’s Furniture has been on a store-opening spree over the last few years. Since 2009, the San Diego-based retailer has spread its wings into the Los Angeles market opening six stores—an average of one store a year.
That’s impressive by anyone’s count.
The expansion has introduced the family-owned retailer to a new area and new consumers who continue to welcome the 11-store company with open pocketbooks.
Lee Goodman, president and CEO, joined the retailer in 2005 and was named to his current post in 2007. He took time to share his thoughts on Jerome’s growth with Home Furnishings Business.
Home Furnishings Business: Over the last few years, Jerome’s has opened six stores in the Los Angeles area. What’s been the driving factor for the expansion?
Lee Goodman: We've been selling furniture for 61 years in San Diego. It was time to climb some new mountains. We made our first expansion into the L.A. media market in 2009 when the recession had people jammed up. Real estate deals were plentiful and the right location opened up at the right time. We went for it, and then just kept moving. There's an old adage about growing in times of recession. We did it, and the benefits are really stacking up now that the economy has taken a turn for the better.
HFB: What is the attraction of the L.A. Market for Jerome's?
Goodman: The L.A. media market is comprised of 18 million consumers and is directly adjacent to the San Diego market. That’s a lot of homes to furnish. After the loss of Wickes and Levitz, there really was not a strong competitive player in that market. We couldn't resist.
HFB: What strategies have you put in place to create synergies between San Diego and L.A. Markets?
Goodman: It's not a strategy as much as simply leveraging who we already are. New stores reap the benefits of our strong management team, our distribution center, our powerful vendor relationships. Everything.
Also, our story is a good one. Consumers respond to it. We believe we could successfully tell it in all 50 states.
HFB: What other expansion plans are in Jerome’s future?
Goodman: No big announcement for you today, Sheila, but we will continue to make smart moves as they present themselves.
Learning how to read data, analyze data, and execute action plans to capitalize on data is a big part of a successful future.
HFB: Overall industry big picture thinking. What trends do you see impacting furniture retail in the next few years?
Goodman: The Internet. I know that sounds like an old trend, but it has changed everything, and will continue to change everything.
Business intelligence is huge right now. The community is seeing real pay-offs in their technology investments.
If you don't do those things, somebody else will, and they will eat your lunch.
We are also seeing the return of a lot of on-shore manufacturing. As a retailer that means faster turns, and as an American that just feels good.