Smaller furniture retailers thrive amid adversity as chains go under

Retail is reeling, big-ticket things such as furniture are particularly vulnerable and half of the dozen important Southland manufacturers have flopped into insolvency from the previous 18 months. But that spells great times for many independent furniture retailers: They're flourishing however, and in certain instances as a result the chains' woes.

These independents assert that they're successful as they're not as highly leveraged because their larger counterparts, outdo the larger chains in support, are more conducive to clients' requirements and have kept their clientele via specialty.

A few merchants have reported a spike in business because those huge chains closed down their outlets and off the road.

Other furniture retailers, even however, say their portion of the retail universe is not any different from every other, and they're being hit hard by the downturn.

Until lately, the Southland furniture business was constituted of roughly a dozen leading chains along with a sprinkling of independent shop owners of queen size futon mattresses. However, Corona-based Stylus filed Chapter 11 in February 1991 and finally reorganized using a smaller surgery. Subsequently San Diego-based Furnishings 2000 filed Chapter 11 last summer, but afterwards announced Chapter 7 and then liquidated.

Back in November, Whittier-based Barker Bros., that had 10 shops, announced plans to curtail and reduce the quantity of queen size futon mattresses offered. Weeks after, Irvine-based RB Furniture closed its 28 shops and a few of its unsecured lenders pushed it in an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Most lately, Los Angeles-based Borneo International Furniture Inc. entered Chapter 11 soon after Christmas.

Rancho Dominguez-based Ortho Mattress additionally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December. Ortho functions 80 stores of queen size futon mattresses in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah who have remained open because the filing.

However, some independents say they're flourishing despite the gloom and doom pervading the business.


"We are about 45 percent ahead of last year at the moment," explained Don Fedde, president of Fedde Furniture at Pasadena.

Similarly, "we had an unbelievable January" in earnings provisions, stated Ross Harris, president and owner of TFT Interiors Inc., a Torrance-based furniture merchant.

The merchants spoke about some benefits they have within the bigger chains. As an example, a number of those huge chains have been sucked under by debt following being obtained by other people, stated Brian Fagan, director of advertising to Byrne Home Furnishings at Burbank. By comparison, almost smaller furniture surgeries are carrying small debt,'' he explained.

"Our debt is as low as it has been in quite a couple of decades," said David Marks, chief executive director of the Bank of Antique Reproductions, a four-store series located in Cerritos.

The smaller retailers have significantly less overhead and will place more of the gains into conveniences, such as greater support, Fagan stated.

Echoing that view, Harris stated TFT Interiors provides "support product". Clients can walk directly into his office and speak to him or his spouse concerning the furniture,'' Harris explained, adding that walking right to Barker Bros. has been "like being a few."

Sit'n Sleepa bed retailer, located in Culver City, prides itself same-day deliveries along with also a 30-night sleep trial, even a month where clients can swap a queen size futon mattress if they are not happy. These are bits which weren't provided from the large chains, based on Phil Miller, secretary and treasurer of all Sit'n Sleep.

JoAnn Urich, proprietor of Whittier-based Village Green, stated she's in tune with her clients' requirements than are large chains. Many buyers to the bigger chains were predicated in the East Coast, '' clarified, and individuals in New York do not have exactly the very exact requirements and wants as the folks in California."

What's more, independent furniture retailers could adapt faster to the fluctuations in the market, stated Dave Lane, executive director of National Home Furnishings Association-West at Sacramento.

Lots of independents also pride themselves specialization. "A larger share of this marketplace is slowly being accepted on by separate specialty shops," explained Miller of Sit'n Sleep that specializes in mattresses, futons and sleepers.

In the same way, TFT Interiors accents identifying product, Harris stated. It includes high end, unique furniture objects, like a 9,500"secretary" desk that's leather-wrapped in the top to base.

Additional independents are profiting from the passing of series competitions.

Fedde Furniture at Pasadena picked up company that was able to visit some Barker Bros. socket several blocks away. It conveys one particular line of product that Barker Bros. utilized to likewise market, Fedde clarified. Barker Bros.' passing helped the shop promote company by 45 percent through 1991 compared with 1990. The shop received a surge of company in the end of 1991, '' he added.

"With Barker Bros. and RB departing, the clients do not have somewhere to go," additional Fagan of Byrne Home Furnishings.

However, not all of independents are flourishing. Los Angeles-based Paul's West Furniture will be shutting its doors in approximately eight months, '' said operator Marshall Fried. He is linking roughly half a dozen separate furniture retailers united Western Avenue who have closed,'' he explained.

Consumers are wary on furniture purchasing because most leveraged their own resources in the 1980s and"that they simply don't have the cash," Fried said, including that they ceased purchasing big amounts of furniture throughout 1989.

Marks in Bank of Antique Reproductions said total company is off about 20% from two or three years back. "We have gotten accustomed to doing somewhat less company," he explained, see other guide: Right 'handle' helps folks grasp a business

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