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For high impact furniture promotions, I suggest you adopt this technique I use for direct mail: Sell your product quickly and directly with an " irresistible" offer on the envelope. Then, expand on the offer inside. Wow your customers and exceed their expectations when they respond and come to your store. Establish and practice techniques to bring customers back and encourage them to tell their friends about you.

Yes, I am aware you don't have time for all of this. So, develop a team of a few young lions to work with you and pursue these ideas. What incentive do they have? They get to learn something valuable. Young people today are motivated by training, learning something that will give them an edge. Reward some aspiring person with an eye of the tiger to study copywriting by getting some of the great advertising books for them or paying for his or her writing course. Time spent training and brainstorming your Brand is not down time, it will repay you many times over. Most of all: Don't just talk about your Brand, begin to LIVE your Brand. I look forward to our next visit.

Contributing Editor Larry Mullins has 30+ years experience in the front lines of furniture marketing. Over the past ten years he has developed a Visionary Management program that can impact the culture of an entire organization and bring it to life. He also produces state-of- the-art promotional advertising packages for everything from quick cash flow to complete exit strategies and store closings. Larry is the President of UltraSales, Inc.. Questions about this article can be sent to Larry care of FURNITURE WORLD to [email protected].

See more articles by Larry in the marketing management archives on or call him direct at (904) 794 9212.

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Making Decorium A Retail


Retailer institutes programs to create a destination shopping experience.

Furniture Trends by Janet Holt-Johnstone

To declare that Decorium's philosophy is unique and far-reaching might be an understatement. Third generation Steve Forberg, now CEO, is convinced that, "Knowledge is key, and we can always learn something from someone else at any age and at any point in life". It was in 1 999 Steve attended a meeting that opened his consciousness to a well spring of information with an esteemed U.S. based performance and friendship group. It was his introduction to the concept of open intellectual exchange amongst his industry peers.

The only Canadian retailer in this exclusive furniture sector gathering, Steve asserts, "We all have the same issues, the same likes and dislikes. It's so beneficial. We share information on everything, advertising, marketing, product lines, even our financials.

"The first half day we walk through the host city's store and critique it, then provide feed back. It's so worthwhile!" An annual event, Steve "spends three dinners, and two full days in the boardroom, all this time brainstorming nonstop with other furniture CEOs.

"There is another group devoted to the needs of sales managers, and an operations group that talks about warehousing and so forth. It's well worth the investment in time and in money."

Both retailers and manufacturers are involved, small and large.

"The group was planning to come to Toronto on September 12, 2001. Obviously, it was necessary to postpone the meeting until October. Once here, they enjoyed their Canadian experience. We certainly learned from it, and we changed some things as a result of this visit. You can become complacent. You must be ready to change."

Forty years ago, Steve's grandfather came to Canada from Poland and made his start in the manufacturing business, Starchrome Furniture, "the largest metal furniture company in the country in the '40s, '50s and 60s".

In 1976, his father, Joe, was selling in a retail furniture store when he decided to establish Furniture Plaza, his own business. His younger brother, Bill, joined him in the enterprise.

In the early '80s, they changed the name to Grand Design, and soon there were seven stores, "all over the GTA, the city of Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, two in North York, and west to London and Kitchener". Decorium's current location was the distribution centre at Supertest Road off Dufferin Street in near-north Toronto.

Later in the decade, North America was visited by a memorable recession, and the GST (goods and services tax) was imposed. The resilient Forberg's "closed all our stores and liquidated the distribution centre. We had a small little store below our centre for the design trade, our product lines imported from

"Once They Register with us, we offer them a broad spectrum of opportunities, including our very popular $1,000 shopping spree.'

V Howard Forberg in Blue, - > Steve Forberg in white and Joe Forberg V in stripes.

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Did You Have The Best Decem ber In The History Of Your Store?

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If you are a furniture, bedding or appliance store owner and not using the Traffic Guys marketing systems, you don't have any idea what you are missing out on. ...My sales have been up significantly because of what I'm learning and implementing from the Traffic Guys. The stuff they share doesn't cost a lot to implement, but it sure work wells. I highly recommend them to anyone.

--Yoder's Furniture, Indiana can and traffic and poor sales. In fact, it's easier than you might think. (And you waste from your marketing and advertising expenses at the same time.)

T hursday, December 21, 2007 AM

To: [email protected] Subject: Re: 4 page letter

Sat, Sun & Mon we wrote in excess of $100,000. I suppose that's all relative for stores; for some that might be a lot; for others disappointing. For Us, It's Phenomenal!

We were very pleased -- daily averages would run $16,000 to $20,000. We're consistently hitting over $25,000. On Tues and Wed we pulled in over $50,000. The staying power of the promo is surprising...

As you know, we've been in business for over 60 years. And after 10 down months in a row, I was amazed to see that We Had the Best December in the History of our company... Now that is saying something.


Giff Gates is a past president of the Western Home Furnishings Association, and NHFA National Retailer of the year. He is currently on the WHFA Board.

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New Surroundings Area,. 10,000 sq. ft.

Bedding Area

New Surroundings Area,. 10,000 sq. ft.

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Europe, Italy in particular. A boutique, really, and we called it Decorium, a combination of Décor and Emporium! We moved Decorium upstairs in '93-'94, and opened it to the public. At first it was 5,000 square feet, then, as business improved, 10,000 to 15,000 to 20,000 and, finally, our last big expansion to 100,000 square feet, the whole distribution centre.

"I came into the business in 1996, just as things started to change. I had spent a couple of years as marketing director for Sports Authority, before pursuing our family business.

"Since 2007, the three of us, my father, my brother Howard, and me, have run Decorium. We're big enough to bring the consumer great value and to move a lot of product, and small enough to grow! We offer a lot of style at every day prices, a little better store and a little better fashion. We're a one store operation and we are very hands on, shipping all over the world."

"Decorium Is A Destination.

We don't have many browsers because of our location. People come to us because we give them what they really want."

In the last few years, the forward-thinking Forbergs have structured an innovative corporate division, recognizing and applauding the enormous surge in Toronto condominium development. "We've created a furniture package with the Shane Baghai condo people, and recently furnished 200 units completely down to lamps and accessories,

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of the inventory items.

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As you know, inventory is what makes you money. It starts with recognizing your best sellers, not just by volume or turns, but by individual GMRQI and keeping those best sellers in stock. This is a great way to start controlling your inventory, Now pair that with identifying your dogs and move them out as quickiy as possible at the highest gross margin attainable. Together, these are key tools that heip you manage your inventory and improve your bottom-line.

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