January 2017 —
Eight lucky members of the Home Furnishings Association spent last week going back to school. Their classroom: American Furniture Warehouse in Denver as part of the HFA’s Leadership Immersion Experience.
The program is designed to allow HFA members who are also members of the Association’s Next Generation Now group, to learn from some of the industry’s best and brightest retailers. For three days, class members met with leaders from American Furniture Warehouse and learned how the Top 100 retailer runs its daily operations while also learning more about the company’s philosophy.
The participants learned about AFW’s pricing and margins, visual merchandising, vignette design, customer service, marketing, warehouse safety and more.
Erin Donaghy, of Dunk & Bright in Syracuse, N.Y., said the program was packed with invaluable knowledge and insight. “The amount of information we are able to take in in just a couple of days is unbelievable,” she says. “And the networking with other participants proved invaluable. Getting immersed in every single part of the business was amazing.”
Bijan Lalji, of Lajli Home in Canada, enjoyed the open dialogue and access AFW’s employees gave the group. “One of the best parts of coming to the Leadership Immersion Experience was the networking with peers and talking openly with others about best practices,” he says. “We talked at breakfast, all throughout the day and well into the night. This really helped me get out of my business and see an overview with others. AFW shared an immense amount of knowledge with us and in today’s current economic climate, this is exactly what retailers are looking for.”
That’s exactly what Sharron Bradley, the CEO of the HFA is hoping members will get out of the experience. “We want to support our younger retailers and the Leadership Immersion Experience is a great way for them to grow,” she says.
The Leadership Immersion Experience was created in 2015. Since then HFA members have visited Top 100 retailers like El Dorado Furniture and R.C. Wiley. The next program is scheduled for June at Hudson’s Furniture in Florida.
HFA members who are also Next Generation Now members interested in attending should contact HFA Education Director Kaprice Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Immersion Experience sponsored by