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From Home Furnishing Business

Furniture First Symposium Held in Fort Lauderdale

Furniture First held its annual symposium May 14-16 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The three-day event included guest speakers, roundtable discussions, breakout sessions, and devoted networking time.

More than 170 individuals from 94 member stores registered for the event, and 136 representatives from 68 sponsoring vendors also attended.

Activities at the symposium kicked off with a networking event in which 28 teams of retailers and vendors worked together to complete 70-plus challenges while they assembled children’s bikes.

Challenges ranged from trivia questions to team photos and videos. The bikes were given to children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. The winning team handed their medals over to the children as they tested out their new wheels under the hotel’s covered drive.

Day two included the group’s Best Idea session. This year the competition’s grand prize saw a three-way tie between members Mark Bosler of Bosler's Furniture in Evansville, Ind.; Jason Pauley of Dow Furniture in Waldoboro, Maine; and Morgan Marzano of China Towne Furniture in Solvay, N.Y. Their best ideas included strategies to increase sales with RSA incentives, a novel wifi marketing approach and consumer review tactics.

Day three of the symposium featured keynote speaker Kevin Brown, author of “The Hero Effect,” in a presentation on the power of customer service that goes above and beyond expectations.

The final day also included several prize giveaways to members. Serta Simmons Bedding held a drawing for a cruise, won by Chris Cooley of Michael Alan Furniture, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Other giveaway items included Apple products, Amazon products, Visa gift cards, Yeti coolers, and free merchandise and services from Furniture First partners.

Furniture First members were incentivized to network with vendors during the event through challenges in the symposium app. Networking prizes, sponsored by Myriad Software, were awarded to three members; $1,250 went to Julianne Dewey of Dewey Furniture & Carpet in Vermilion, Ohio; the second prize of $750 was won by Cynthia Harkness of Harkness Furniture in Tacoma, Wash.; and the third prize of $500 went to Jessica Smith of Talsma Furniture in Hudsonville, Mich.

Furniture First will hold their 2019 Annual Symposium May 13-15 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

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