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Book Forwards


It is not too difficult to understand my high level of surprise when someone I did not know called to ask me to write the forward for a book he had authored about the furniture industry, and retailing in particular. My reaction was, “Why me?” since I am sure that writing forwards is not one of my skills. He explained what the book was about and, importantly, why it was being written, so my interest was peaked enough to ask to read the draft.

After that reading, I realized this was a very complete and informative book that could serve as a source of information, a reference book, not only for newcomers to our industry, but for all who are interested in knowing more about the intricacies of our business. Actually, I felt it could be a textbook of furniture retail practices, because it is a very basic, no-nonsense book distinguished by its completeness and real life experience content. Explanation of the words, phrases, and processes unique to the furniture industry could provide a great foundation for learning. Reflecting back, I tried to determine how long it took me to learn the very basic elements of our industry. So, although I am not qualified to judge what is or what is not a textbook, I can make the judgment that if I were majoring in any facet of the home furnishings business, I would certainly benefit from studying this book and having it available for ready reference.

Discussion with the author made it very evident that writing ‘Furniture Retailing 101’ was for him a work of love, evidence of a desire to give back to the industry of his life’s work, and a book that from his personal experiences was needed but did not exist. His intention was not only to introduce the newcomer to our industry, but also to serve everyone in the industry – retailer or manufacturer, newcomer or experienced alike. This book is the work of a caring and experienced industry executive who does not expect to profit financially, but hopes to give back to the industry of his life’s work. For all of these reasons, it is my honor to write the forward for ‘Furniture Retailing 101,’ but most importantly, to recommend it to the industry at all levels.

Patrick H. Norton - Chairman Emeritus, La-Z-Boy Incorporated

There has not been a book written specifically about the retail furniture business until this one. I have known Jim Green for over 15 years and having known of him as a competitor for 10 years before that. During this time, I have learned one very basic thing about him, and important for this book….he knows this business….

At Robb & Stucky we have long been aware of the overwhelming need for more information and resources to help us train our people. This book is just the kind of thing we need and it is long in coming. Jim keeps the focus in the book on the reality that retail furniture businesses compete at different levels. Our company, Robb & Stucky generally markets to a higher-end, affluent clientele. Many retailers compete on a more promotional level and thousands fall somewhere in between. This book will help every new employee understand not only their own company, but in (delete) how companies compete at different levels.

Clive Lubner- CEO, Robb and Stucky Interiors

“Jim Green first came into my life about a year ago when I received a synopsis of a book he was working on and some sample chapters. He asked me if I would be kind enough to read them and give him my opinion. I made the assumption that Jim was an enthusiastic amateur who wanted to write about the furniture industry. My first reaction was how do I tell him to leave a project such as he had outlined to academic and professional trade writers without hurting his feelings? I took his manuscript home and put it on my nightstand with all good intentions to read it some evening. It sat there for at least two months. I never seemed to find the time to get in the mood for this task. Jim was very patient. He would email me, or call, every few weeks saying, “Mr. Carroll, I know you are very busy but have you had time to look over my book?” Finally, one rainy Sunday afternoon, so guilt-ridden that I had not kept my promise to critique his book, I finally started to read it. Once I started I couldn’t put it down. Not only was it clearly and perfectly written, it was the most comprehensive compilation of information on the furniture industry I have ever come across in my 40+ years in the business. I was learning things I never knew about retail strategies and was finding this information extremely valuable. I would have loved to have read this book when I first left college teaching and went to work for an ad agency that specialized in home furnishings. I would have been a much more valuable resource to my clients, who were mostly carpet and furniture manufacturers, if I had been given the insights Jim provides in Furniture Retailing 101. I never took a college course in business. Everything I’ve learned about marketing has come from working with hundreds of clients over the years. What appeals to me about Furniture Retailing 101 is that it is written in clear, layman’s language. It’s a very readable text. I particularly like the summaries and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I can assure you that this book is not theoretical. It is practical, nuts and bolts information that is timely and accurate. I recommend it not just to potential newcomers to the retail side of our industry, but to furniture manufacturers, their sales representatives, consultants, students and the trade press…anyone who wants to grasp the basic knowledge of how our industry works. This book will not create a new CEO from an entry-level employee after reading it. What it does is provide a solid foundation for anyone wanting to succeed in a business that is more complex and competitive today than I had dreamed. It dramatically lessens the learning curve. Both manufacturers and retailers agree today that our industry is undergoing serious change. We are passing from the industrial era into a marketing age. Furniture retailers are facing competition from almost 80 other channels of distribution for their product. Wal-Mart sells more furniture than any of the traditional furniture channels and it’s not even thought of as a furniture store! Manufacturers are no longer manufacturing furniture domestically. They are using factories in Asia and around the world to produce their product. We are truly in an era where only the strongest will survive. This strength comes from having bright, talented management and sales people who are operating from a well-executed strategic plan. It will come from those who understand how to define profitability and run their business most efficiently. The information Jim Green provides us is basic, that’s why he calls it 101. For those who read every word of the 3 volumes of Furniture Retailing 101, a successful, profitable and, most importantly, a satisfying experience in an exciting and constantly changing business awaits.

Joe Carroll - Publisher, Furniture/Today