When the call came to HFA member Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance in North Lima, Ohio, last month, the nervous operator immediately paged Sherry Sheely, the company’s COO.
“The White House is on the phone,” the operator told Sheely.
“You mean the White House as in Washington?” Sheely asked.
“Who is it?” Sheely asked.
“I don’t know!” the operator replied.
“What do they want?” Sheely asked.
The operator sounded frantic. “I don’t know! What should I do?”
Sheely told her to relax. “It’s not like we’ve done something wrong,” she told her. “Put them through to me.”
Turns out Sheeley’s didn’t do anything wrong—just the opposite. Shortly after the tax reform legislation passed in December, Sheely’s gave all of its full-time employees a $1,000 bonus. Bryan Jack, Special Assistant to President Trump was inviting Sherry and her husband Dale to a roundtable discussion With President Trump in Cleveland on May 5.
Sheely was one of four business people who met with Trump at the Cleveland Public Auditorium and Conference Center to talk about tax reform. She spent the days leading up to the event a bundle of nerves preparing what she might say to Trump. “I wasn’t just speaking on behalf of Sheely’s, I felt like I was speaking for the entire furniture industry. That’s a lot of pressure.”
But after Sheely met Trump onstage she felt completely at ease. “As soon as he looked me in the eye, he has something about him that just made me feel so relaxed. He has the way about him.”
Sheely told Trump she and her husband had long pondered expanding their store, but never thought the political climate in Washington was conducive to such a venture. That changed the night Trump was elected.
“We felt, with your strong leadership, that now was the time to reinvest in our company,” Sheely told Trump.
Next week Sheely’s Bargain Bonus Center, a 4,500-square-foot addition to the store, will open in response to Trump’s pro-business position, Sheely said.
“We’ve got great buyers who sometimes come across really good deals or closeouts at market and this gives us a place to put them,” she said. It’s not a clearance or discount center. I like to think of it as a treasure hunt. Shoppers are going to find some really good deals back there.”
And Sheely says it’s all because of Trump. “He’s not a politician,” she said. “He’s a businessman who understand what we are trying to do for ourselves and our communities.”
Sheely said she’s received a lot of publicty from her roundtable with Trump, which was broadcast live on some cable news networks. A man in Florida emailed Sheely to tell her he was moving to Tennessee in the coming months. “He said he was so moved by my talk with the president that after he settled in to his new house he was going to rent a truck, drive up to ohio and buy all his new home furnishings from us. It’s been crazy. People have called from Yonkers, N.Y., Louisville, Wisconsin. They are so thankful for the words of encouragement I gave our president, because they feel the same way. He’s doing a great job.”