Furniture Warehouse Design Gallery was honored as “Retailer of the Year” at the 20th Annual Furniture Industry Awards Gala on April 20, 2015. Retailer of the Year is the highest honor given by sales representatives within the retail home furnishings community. It recognizes retailers who have distinguished themselves through industry leadership, business achievement and service to their communities. FWDG is a member of Furniture First, the group recipient of the award. This year is the first in which multiple retailers united as a buying group were honored.
Furniture First is a cooperative of 217 family-owned furniture retailers, operating more than 456 stores. These stores work together as a group to bring outstanding values and exclusive products to their communities in 47 states. Because these independent furniture stores work together they can negotiate deals to rival larger corporate retail chain stores. The group’s buying power boosts the furniture values these community and customer-centric retailers offer.
Furniture First member retailers have a lot in common. The typical member store has been in business for more than 40 years and is run by a second or third generation. Furniture First retailers have a strong connection to the communities they serve, and pride themselves on being good corporate citizens.
The qualifications for membership in the national buying group result in a high-quality cooperative. Furniture First only accepts stores that are full-line independents that have been in business for more than five years. Stores are required to have good credit and meet minimum volume requirements. Most members, whether they have a single storefront or a chain of locations, serve the solid middle market of consumers. Members are not in direct competition with each other, adding to the overall willingness to share and collaborate.
A gala dinner was held April 20 during the High Point Furniture Market to honor the award winners. The award was presented by the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA), an organization of over 2,000 independent manufacturer’s representatives and retailers who work together to support the industry’s educational, financial, regulatory and charitable interests. Furniture First members FWDG were also in attendance at the celebration.