With more than 70 percent of Americans still under stay-at-home orders from the coronavirus pandemic, most furniture stores are closed or doing limited business. The Home Furnishings Association (HFA), the nation’s only trade association dedicated to furniture retailers, is working side by side to help members with a special COVID-19 Business Resource web page.
The COVID-19 Recovery Resources page keeps members updated on the HFA’s constant communication with Washington legislators and lobbyists advocating for federal relief funds. The page also helps retailers follow the strict guidelines for having their PPP loan forgiven, write an essential letter they can send local governments and more.
The HFA also hosts a live webinar each week to help retailers with all aspects of the crisis. Retailers can register for Thursday's webinar which features Ashley Furniture Industries CEO Todd Wanek, who will share his insights on what furniture supply chains will look like in the coming months and how retailers should be beefing up their e-commerce games. Past webinars have featured industry icon Jerry Eperson, and HFA members from Badcock Furniture and La-Z-Boy. Topics have ranged from reopening stores safely to how retailers can comply with PPP guidelines for loan forgiveness. All of the webinars are archived on the HFA's COVID-19 Business Resource Page.
Retailers are taking the information and quickly applying strategies to their stores. In Wisconsin, Bilt Rite Furniture's push to become an essential business has turned a once-closed store into one that now is allowed to make appointments with shoppers on a limited basis.
"It's all about baby steps, says owner Gail K. "We're glad to have the HFA making our voices heard to our state economic development committee and advocating on our behalf in Washington. People are starting to see that the small, independent furniture store is just as important as the big box stores and can probably offer an even safer shopping experience."
That determination and innovation is why the HFA created the COVID-19 Recovery Resources page, said Sharron Bradley, CEO of the HFA. “We knew if our members could find one place where they could be inspired they’d take off.”
Bradley said the COVID-19 Resources Recovery page is one of many ways the association is helping its members through this difficult time. "The crisis is changing every day, sometimes every hour," said Bradley. "Our members need to be confident they can find reliable and relevant information they can depend on."
"Our members are some of the smartest in the industry and they enjoy sharing their strategies with one another," says Bradley. "That's really what our COVID-19 Resources Recovery page is all about -- sharing information and ideas."
The COVID-19 Resources Recovery page is growing every day. So are the benefits to HFA members. Just last month the association bought down its finance rate with Strategic Partner Synchrony to help members whose stores are still up and running. "We're looking for every opportunity to help our members," said Bradley. "We're in this together."
For more information about the how the the HFA is helping furniture retailers, contact HFA Marketing Director Denise Mahnick at email@example.com.