Furniture First recognizes long-time board members Randy Coconis, Tom Schwaab

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Last month, in a general membership meeting prior to their annual symposium, Furniture First recognized two long-time board members as their terms on the cooperative buying group’s governing body ended.

Andrew Kauffman, chief executive officer of Furniture First, left, presents a plaque honoring Randy Coconis, of Coconis Furniture in South Zaneville, Ohio, for his 14 years of service on the Furniture First board.

Randy Coconis of Coconis Furniture in South Zanesville, Ohio was recognized for 14 years of service on the Furniture First board of directors. Coconis Furniture has been a member of Furniture First since 1998.

Tom Schwaab of Howell Furniture in Beaumont, Texas was recognized for 8 years of service on the board, including a two-year term as Chairman, from 2017 to 2019. Howell Furniture joined Furniture First in 2009.

Eric Sinclair of Montgomery’s Furniture in Sioux Falls, South Dakota concluded his term as board chairman at the meeting and Pat Callan of Callan Furniture in Waite Park, Minnesota assumed the office at the membership meeting. Joining Callan on the board executive team are Kyle Deets of Deets Furniture in Norfolk, Nebraska as Vice Chairman, Mike Moss of Bear’s Furniture in Franklin, Pennsylvania as Secretary and Jack Steger of Steger’s Furniture Pekin, Illinois as Treasurer.

Andrew Kauffman presents a plaque honoring Tom Schwaab, of Howell Furniture in Beaumont, Texas, for his eight years of service on the Furniture First board.

Joining the board this year are Jessica Smith of Talsma Furniture in Hudsonville, Michigan, and Travis Turner of Turner Furniture in Avon Park, Florida. Talsma Furniture has been a member of Furniture First since 1999 and Turner has been a member since 2015.

“We are fortunate to have such a sharp group of retailers serving on our board,” said Andrew Kauffman, CEO of Furniture First. “It’s a volunteer position and only retailers who are members can serve. We don’t have bankers or lawyers on our board, so that we are governed by what is in the best interest of independent retail furniture stores, whether they do $2 million in sales, or $100 million. It’s a key element of our success.”

In addition to the recognition and election of new board officers, the general membership meeting included a two-minute video rendering plans for the buying group’s new showroom under construction in High Point. The showroom will house Furniture First’s private label mattress line, Mattress 1st, as well as selected products from Furniture First partners, and information tables for affiliated service providers. A hospitality area and conference rooms will be on the second floor of the building.

The membership meeting occurred in conjunction with Furniture First’s Annual Symposium. The three-day event was attended by 176 people from 99 Furniture First member retailers, as well as 77 sponsoring companies. Featured events included keynote speakers Will Bowen and Mark Sanborn, speaking on “Complaint Free Business” and “Leading the Future Now,” respectively. Tuesday evening saw Michael Drury of Drury’s Furniture in Fountain, Minnesota winning the grand prize of “Best Idea” for his protection plan sales strategy. The agenda was rounded out with panel discussions on social media, selling protection plans, succession planning and use of the Tools 2B First Sales Analytics. Networking was a central feature of the symposium with ample time for retailers to visit sponsor booths and tables.

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