MICKEY WARSAW OF LEWIS FURNITURE TESTIMONIAL
This is a transcription of an audio testimonial given by….
Mickey Warsaw, Lewis furniture, Portsmouth, OH
The question poised to PFP clients is: If another retailer called you to ask about what Planned Furniture Promotions did to assist them, what would you say?
This is Mickey Warsaw speaking. I’m the President of Lewis Furniture in Portsmouth, Ohio. The company was started by my grandfather in 1908, Pete Warsaw, and he worked there the better part of his adult life. My father Paul Warsaw followed him and did the same. I’ve been there since 1966 when I got married up until the past week. When I decided it was time for me to retire, I began looking (this was a couple years ago) for the best means of doing this. I honestly in the beginning considered running a going out of business event myself. Thank goodness I decided not to do that, and instead sought the services of a professional company that are experienced in running an event of this type. I think over the years I was taught and learned very well how to operate an ongoing retail furniture business, but I had no idea how to stop it. It does take a lot of doing and a lot of know-how and I really without too much effort, talking to other friends in the industry, (I’m part of a national buying group…..energy, and I talked with the director of that and some of the principles of that organization) and I really, very quickly got a short list of three primary companies that I thought I should take a good look at. I did that. I did some….. on each of them, talked with some people that I knew, and ended up, in a very short period of time, (a lot less time than I thought it would take) zeroing in on PFP.
At that point I contacted the company and talked with Roy Hester several times. He drove into Portsmouth to meet me and look at my physical plan to learn about my business. Apparently at his judgment, we were very good candidate for running a strong GOB. He helped orchestrate a manager to help me do this. It ended up being a man named John Tackis who was really a perfect fit for what we needed through the entire negotiation of the contract stages and the different components of putting on paper what I expected and what PFP expected. It was really done very professionally. I had the assistance on my side of a good accounting firm and a good lawyer to help with my side of the contracts. There were really no issues other than tweaking it here and there to get what I needed and wanted and what PFP needed and wanted. We ended up getting a signed agreement.
John Takacs came into town and assembled his group of workers from his assistants to bookkeepers to warehouse personnel. They were extremely considerate and respectful of my employees and my customers from beginning to the end. Those employees of mine who chose to stay with us to the end, did so with his graces and blessing and all were, I think, very pleased with the way they were treated and how they were compensated during that time. I was able to place probably 75% of my employees either before the fact, or pretty early on during the cycle as they all needed to have full time gainful employment, and realized when PFP left, they wouldn’t have a job. So, I was able to place about 75% in very good full-time employment early on through this process, and learned we didn’t really need to have them, because John was able to supply all the people that had left, and they left with my good graces and with his. The people he brought in were really exceptionally good at picking up where my employees had left off. Really up to the very end, we were a credit store, and had been for many, many years. When my credit manager left, we didn’t really need to replace that function. Instead we just worked a local financing company that would take some of the outside contracts that would help facilitate some of the sales.
I think that the way my customers were treated and the way my employees were treated was a very important component to me, and I couldn’t have been happier with either of those.
From the very beginning when John came in, we ended up getting all the proper licenses and permits from our city, and followed the laws and rules scrupulously. That was important to me. I’ve lived my whole business life and personal life that way. There was not a bump in the road there. That went very well. There was some merchandise that John brought to supplement areas that I was short. This was done way in advance of the sale. The inventory that was brought in and done appropriately was a very good fit to the merchandise that I have in the market. I’ve heard stories of other companies bringing in a lot of low end, less than desirable merchandise, and of course when this whole event was over, I’m still going to live in this town, and I didn’t want to have customers talk to me about the stuff they have that was falling apart. It was anything but that. The merchandise brought in was as good as or better than what I carried. The customers were very happy with that. To this point I’ve not one gotten negative comment from anybody in the community about the merchandise or the advertising or anything about the promotion. Everything was above board and done very, very professionally. We put a lot of value in our name and reputation. They certainly did nothing at all to hurt that. If anything they helped it, because of the legitimacy of the way they ran the event. The advertising was highly professional. They did what they said they would do. They followed their contract to the letter, if not better. They just did everything the way that I hoped it would have been done. You just never really know until you’re involved in something, and I couldn’t have been happier with that portion of it, the technical back office side.
As far as the sales and margins and overall success of the event from a selling standpoint, it was exceptional. They did a very high volume of business very, very well. It was hard work. The warehouse guys got pretty tired a lot of days. The customers were happy. The employees were happy. They were very well compensated. The event as far as I’m concerned was a homerun from the beginning all the way through to the end. I would very, very highly recommend, based on my experience, that other respective retailers that are thinking of taking the course that I took, they should certainly take a very close look at PFP, at Roy and his team. If their experience is anywhere near as good as mine, they will be highly satisfied.