At High Point Market | A Day in the Shoes of a Morris Furniture Buyer


Morris Furniture’s Gracyn Byers, left, and Brenda Dillon review fabric samples with Flexsteel representative Pete Rhomberg during a showroom tour.

AT THE MARKET – On Friday afternoon at this week’s High Point Market, Furniture Today accompanied Top 100 retailer Morris Furniture on two showroom tours.

The day gave us insight into how the 75-year-old Dayton, Ohio-based retailer does business with a company he’s had a relationship with for years, as well as how he reviews a new supplier. potential.

We started when I met Brenda Dillon, Vice President of Merchandising, and Gracyn Byers, Assistant Buyer, at Flexsteel Inds. showroom in the International Home Furnishings Center. We were joined by Flexsteel rep Pete Rhomberg for the tour, which lasted about an hour.

Although Flexsteel’s offerings are known for their customization, what’s on the floor has yet to be dressed, so at the start of the appointment, Rhomberg led us to a table with select fabric swatches, matched to four different seating groups – some already in Morris’, some possible new inclusions – each of which included a sofa, accent pillows and accent chairs.

Dillon liked a grouping with touches of an almost neutral green. “The sage is emerging right now,” she remarked as she reviewed the samples.

In another group, Rhomberg offered the choice of a blue throw or a neutral throw for a side chair. “I feel like this plaid isn’t as traditional as the blue plaid,” Byers said, offering her approval for the neutral print.

“Are these fabrics all doing well?” They’re not on the drop-down list? Dillon asked looking at the selections for the third group, to which Rhomberg replied that they weren’t in danger of being dropped.

For the fourth grouping, Rhomberg brought Morris’ team to the room on the floor and draped the samples over furniture and pillows. They opt for a traditional look. “We should see if this traditional will sell better in Dayton or Columbus,” Dillon told Byers. “Cincinnati will sell no matter what.”

“I think Dayton will outsell Columbus,” Byers replied.

Around this time, David Crimmins, Vice President of Sales for Flexsteel, came over to say hello. “We’re busy in a good way,” he told Dillon when she asked about the activity.

After looking at a modular bundle, Dillon wondered about the transferability of his self-creation app from consumers to retailers as an aid to the customer experience process. Doug Schweizer, Channel Integration Manager at Flexsteel, and Dillon discuss the possibilities and decide to follow through.

“We’ve got all the (outlets) for it,” Russell said of the recliners. “You can tell a story with the three colors and the point of sale.”

After looking at modular bundling, Dillon posed a question: if a consumer creates a look online with the intention of buying in-store, would it be possible for that order to be pushed to the store, rather than having to start from scratch? when the consumer visits a showroom?

She said that having a record of the original build would greatly eliminate errors. Doug Schweizer, Channel Integration Manager at Flexsteel, and Dillon discussed the possibilities and decided to follow through.

The tour ended with a trio of interesting stops. The first was a visit to the Zecliner section, a cluster designed for consumers with sleep apnea or other conditions that prevent them from sleeping in a bed.

“People will spend on health and wellness,” Rhomberg said. “The question to the retailer is what are you doing in your store that is going to resonate with that customer.”

Tim Newlin, Vice President of Product Management at Flexsteel, introduces Flexsteel’s Flex Seating Program, a drop-ship modular option that the consumer can build their own at home in minutes.

Next, we’re joined by VP of Product Management, Tim Newlin, to look at Flex, a modular drop-shipping concept where the consumer can build their own Flexsteel seat at home in less than five minutes. Newlin demonstrated the ease of construction as well as the features and benefits.

The final stop is at the new Charisma room, which offers popularly priced stationary padding. “When we released it, we wanted it to be best in class in terms of comfort, style and selection,” Rhomberg said.

As we leave Flexsteel, we head to our next stop on the seventh floor of IHFC for a visit to Flair Furniture, a division of Minhas. Sales representative Jordan Shindell greeted the group and showed some of the offers. The family business, based in Calgary, Alberta, produces its products in Canada, North Carolina and Asia.

Shindell noted that Minhas recently opened a second facility in the United States, allowing it to ship around 200 truckloads per week with the goal of consistently achieving around 60-day lead times (these are currently between 60 and 90 days).

Flair/Minhas representative Jordan Shindell leads Brenda Dillon and Gracyn Byers of Morris Furniture through the company’s upholstery offerings.

We looked at several different recliners, sofas and sectionals, all with the goal of finding a potential new supplier to add to Morris’ offerings. The visit lasts about half an hour.

“What I would like to see from you are bestsellers,” Dillon told Shindell at the end of the visit. “If we had to put them in our outlet, what would your top five picks be?”

“I’m going to put together a bestseller list,” Shindell said. “If they’re in different covers, I’ll use the best-selling cover. I’ll do that and do our best.

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