Sharron Bradley, who led the merger of three furniture retailer associations into what is now the Home Furnishings Association, will retire next month. Executive Vice President Mark Schumacher will replace Bradley as the Association’s new CEO.
Bradley informed the Association’s Board of Directors earlier this year of her intention to step down, but the move was delayed when the coronavirus pandemic closed many parts of the economy, including furniture retail. “I feel extremely confident where we are as a company and how we are helping our retailers during these times,” said Bradley. “Our top leadership in the Association has never been stronger and is going to do great things for our members in the coming months and years.”
Bradley took over as executive director of the Western Home Furnishings Association – then the largest regional furniture retailer association in the country – in 2001. In 2012, she helped merge two other furniture retailer associations, the National Home Furnishings Association and the Home Furnishings International Association, with the WHFA.Those three groups collectively became known as the North American Home Furnishings Association in 2013 before changing the name to the Home Furnishings Association.
HFA President Jesús R. Capó said Bradley “was the right person at the right time for the Association. She helped the HFA regain the respect of the industry. I believe we would not be celebrating our 100th anniversary if not for Sharron.”
Bradley said the time is right to step down as CEO. “After the merger, I had goals I wanted to complete,” said Bradley. “I wanted to make sure I was leaving the Association in a strong leadership position to move forward. I’m confident we are there.”
Schumacher came to the HFA in 2018 as the vice president of membership. He possesses a deep background in business development and marketing, having spent a decade with nonprofits Victory Junction and Make-a-Wish. In another life, Schumacher spent 25 years in broadcasting as a news anchor and reporter in Florida, Texas, California and New York.
Schumacher said he’s thankful and excited to assume leadership of the Association now. He hopes to build on Bradley’s legacy. “Sharron has been at the helm of the Association through some incredibly challenging times,” he said. “Her fiscal prudence allowed for the Western Home Furnishings Association to weather the 2008 recession, a time when members really needed a strong partner, and most recently this year as the HFA, like its members, navigated the downturn. We will be building on her successes for years to come.”
Schumacher said the pandemic has shown just how important the HFA, celebrating its centennial anniversary, is to its members. “This crisis is what we were built for,” he said. “The pandemic has changed our industry and our country in profound ways. Our challenge is to continue to help bring members back to financial health through the dozens of services we can connect them to at discounted rates and to prepare them for the next disruption, whatever it may be.”
Schumacher said the Association’s growing list of Solution Partners can help retailers not just rebound but thrive in the new economy. “Our Solution Partners are businesses that provide valuable solutions by partnering with HFA to provide their services at an affordable cost only for our members,” he said. “The pandemic hasn’t slowed this process but sped it up as our team looks for more and more valuable relationships that benefit our retailers.”
He said another valuable benefit that members will soon be taking advantage of is the new HFA Healthcare plan that will be rolled out later this summer. “Our members have been asking about healthcare alternatives to cover their employees at a more affordable cost,” said Schumacher. “We are excited to roll this out knowing that for many, we will be meeting an important need. That’s the value of membership.”