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From Home Furnishing Business

Next Generation-NOW Members Take Retail Tips from El Dorado Furniture

Five North American Home Furnishings Association members spent three days touring El Dorado Furniture during the Leadership Immersion Program.

Lael Thompson, Broyhill Home Collections in Aurora, Colo.; Travis Turner, Turner Furniture, Avon Park, Fla.; Erin Donaghy, Dunk & Bright in Syracuse, N.Y.; Joey Gunn of Knight Furniture in Sherman, Texas; and Jason Wells, Wells Home Furnishings in Charleston, W. Va.; had exclusive access to the Miami Gardens, Fla., retailer’s leaders who shared tips for growing their own stores back home. The retailers, members of Next Generation-NOW, toured El Dorado’s 105,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse, and took part in breakout discussions on topics ranging from marketing to operations to customer service.

The program is part of the NAHFA’s commitment to Next Generation-NOW. October’s event followed the debut of the program last spring at the R.C. Wiley headquarters in Salt Lake City.

“There was something in every meeting that I learned and can take back home to implement,” Thompson said. “Everything about operations and inventory right down to the price tags and wiping down finger prints. It was amazing.”

Gunn was impressed with the family values that permeate every aspect of El Dorado’s work. 

“Everything they (El Dorado) do is done without a corporate mentality,” he said. “In terms of how they run their business, how they treat their employees, the help they give them and looking out for the customer, those are characteristics you see with a family-owned business, which they are only on a much larger scale. But all of the values I saw on display I know apply to my family store, too. I can’t wait to get some of them going back home.”

Next Generation members were particularly struck by El Dorado’s branding strategy. El Dorado will mention mattress brands, but chooses not to mention furniture manufacturers in its advertising and direct mail programs. Instead the company likes to enhance a different brand: itself.

Andres Capo, El Dorado’s warehouse management software leader, said the changing landscape in furniture manufacturing has rendered branding useless.

“The average shopper couldn’t name but maybe two or three furniture brands,” Capo said. “We are the brand. We are what we want people to remember, not the product.”

Sharron Bradley, chief executive officer of NAHFA, said events like the Leadership Immersion Experience is one of many educational benefits the association offers members.

“Our training isn’t limited to just the markets and Retail Resource Center,” she said. “Whether its webinars or experiences like the Leadership Immersion program, we’re always looking for ways to help members learn and grow their business.”

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