I’ve spent some time travelling to various stores this past month with sales managers from our various factories. Each factory handles it a little differently but I am thrilled with the people we work with on a factory level. I thought it might be interesting to know a little bit about the people behind the factories as I do.
Robert Van Farowe from Progressive Furniture is one of the greatest sales managers I have ever seen. He is liked by sales-men, retailers, office personnel, and anyone else he comes into contact with. What I love about Robert is he travels to all the major retailers a lot to see what is selling and how he can help Progressive make it better. He looks at the price the retailer needs to sell the product at and then he works with the factory to make the product to price out so the retailer can hit their margins. He has made Progressive a better company because he meets the needs of the retailers he works with and the sales people like me. Travelling somewhere around 250 trips a year, Robert is always in search of the next potential product hit.
My next trip were with Dave and Mark from Woodcrest Manu-facturing. They are a highly niched vendor who absolutely know their stuff. Whether you want to import bunkbeds or get them domestically made, Woodcrest has grown into a tremen-dous resource in the youth category. They hold patents on their type of stairway bed because they were the first into the catego-ry. Dave and Mark are exactly what you would expect from a couple of Peru Indiana fun loving guys. Great to be around, funny in a Larry the Cable Guy / Three Stooges kind of way, but smart as heck when it comes to their products and the overall category.
My next trip was with the new sales manager from Hughes Fur-niture, Mr. Steve Beeker. Steve came from the opposite end of the price curve from Hughes since he has had stints at Kincaid and Lexington. But that is why I think this is an inspired choice by Bruce Hughes as an addition to his team. I have come to know Bruce over the years and I can tell you he is one of the sharpest manufacturing guys around. He knows his costs down to the penny. If you want to remove fringe from a pillow he can tell you, how much. Steve is a great addition because he will be out in the retail stores seeing what works, while Bruce can con-tinue to concentrate the manufacturing. Hughes has become a big factory and Bruce is filling in management to grow it bigger.
Finally, I have spent a lot of time over the last two years with Bob Bruns and his lovely wife Romi as we worked together building Mega Motion and Cozzia. The Cozzia massage chairs business has been absolutely phenomenal for us. The product is innovative for an industry that does not really do innovation. The chairs are technologically advanced, and flying off retail floors. We had our first national sales meeting in LA earlier this month and Emmet and I came back enthused about the pro-spects of these chairs. They are a big ticket item, the consum-ers love them, the retail sales people make more money and it is an easy sell once they get over their fear of gadgets. We see great growth in pioneering a new category and are excited about working with Bob, Romi Mark and Greg to make this hap-pen.
As good as all the other lines are to work with, one line stood out as not meeting our criteria to keep representing them. The line has to be people we enjoy working with, bring good value to their price point and be good for our retailers. When a company no longer offers that we need to make a change. Mega Motion has decided to go in a new direction away from the successes Bob and I brought to our dealers. We truly see little potential for time involved based on the new direction of the company.
The Catholic Archbishop here in Omaha every June reassigns priests to new parishes. In some respects it is to shake things up, in some cases it is to provide new opportunities for younger priests as well as a transition for older priests, & in other cases it is to fix things that are not working. We figured if it was good enough for the Archbishop to make changes, it was good enough for us. Effective June 1, we no longer represent Mega Motion. We have some great factories with good people mak-ing terrific product. We don’t want to waste our time or yours on products we do not feel are a value.