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Thread: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

  1. #1
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    Alexandria VA
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    Default Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    I heard today from one of my manufacturer's sales reps that Shofer's Furniture in downtown Baltimore has closed their doors, which really stunned me. They were a premier dealer of high quality brands for many years and one of the few better quality stores in that area. My store is an hour's drive away from their location and we carry many of the same lines. If you are a Shofer's customer and in the market for something they may have carried, give me a call.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    66

    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    Interesting, I thought that the demand for upscale furniture was elevated during the last 6-9 months due to the people staying home and refreshing their home offices, etc.
    The infamous leathergroup.com dumped their "True 8-way hand tied (knotted)" which was an option for $300 on sofas and increased price by 5-7% "heavy gauge sinuous spring" suspension, so they getting too close to the cost of H&M which is unreasonable. So, I guess if anybody wants to buy H&M they have to hurry up and do it in December before the price hike!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    I don't know the details on why the store closed, just was told that it did. Furniture retailers as a whole have low margins, and overhead/fixed costs/payroll have been the demise of many of them.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Alexandria, VA
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    18

    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    Shofer's has a very large showroom, I think 3 stories, that would cause a high overhead, especially in/near Baltimore's Inner Harbor. My rent was high when I rented an apartment at The Standard in 2004.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    307

    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    We had a local long time furniture store of better brands close a few years a go. I was surprised until I talked to them. They were retiring. None of their children were interested in taking over. They could not find a buyer. They said no one now a days wants to own a furniture store. Maybe if it were a larger chain another company might be interested in buying it out, but a smaller business with only 2 or 3 locations didn't. So it could have been high overhead and the economy, but it could also have been other reasons.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    From time to time I get calls from people that want my advice on opening a furniture store, and I advise against it. Margins are low. furniture is heavy and it's a very physical job with a lot of sweat equity. Furniture also requires display space, so you need more square footage than say a jewelry shop or bakery. Pay is low for employees, and it requires a warehouse and trucks. Customers run the gambit from pleasant to disagreeable as in any retail business. and hours are long. I still do 60 hour work weeks at age 66. What kills most furniture stores though it too much overhead, i.e., rents and loans. Furniture floor models have to be paid for, manufacturers don't put items in on consignment or floor plans. Get a few bad months and you're finished. My store was almost done in twice, right after 09/11 when no one bought anything for 9 months afterwards and the 2007/2008 Recession when sales dried up and I was down to the last few hundred dollars in the bank. I called my suppliers to tell them I was finished. Two things made a difference, one of my suppliers said "Don't do that, let us float your next order for up to a year for payment, we will help". Then one single customer came in and bought a Secretary Desk for $ 10,000 (marked down from $ 15,000) that I had on the floor and those two things gave me enough operating capital to last two more months and business started coming back then. Over half the retail furniture stores died during the Recession and most never came back, which is why there are fewer and fewer around.

    Jack Glasheen, founder of Hancock and Moore, came into my store many years ago and he's the smartest man I know in the industry. I know he has visited hundreds of stores, most much more appealing and grand than mine and I asked his opinion on if I should take on a loan and expand to create a beautiful, large showplace. He said "Duane, don't do that - so many do and they can't service the debt. What you have here is perfect, you are not so large that you can't keep your arms around it, and you operate on a cash basis. Times will come when its very lean - you will be able to survive. What customer really want is not a fancy showroom, they want knowledge of the product, a fair price, and to be treated right - and you check the boxes on all of those so stay just as you are". And that's what I did.

    Jack retired and sold the company in 2017, but I talked to him just last week on the phone. I think we have a mutual admiration think going on, I tell him I miss him not being around and active in the business and he tells me I was the best dealer he ever had. lol. He asks me when I'm going to retire and I tell him - I don't know - when I can't lift a sofa anymore I suppose.
    Last edited by drcollie; 12-10-2020 at 05:33 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  7. #7
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    Nov 2020
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    IL
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    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    He said "Duane, don't do that - so many do and they can't service the debt. What you have here is perfect, you are not so large that you can't keep your arms around it, and you operate on a cash basis. Times will come when its very lean - you will be able to survive. What customer really want is not a fancy showroom, they want knowledge of the product, a fair price, and to be treated right - and you check the boxes on all of those so stay just as you are". And that's what I did.
    Duane, please don't retire before our sectional is finished and shipped.

    I highlighted the words that are SO VERY IMPORTANT and the reasons why my wife and I said we HAD to order our H&M leather sectional through you.

    Knowledge? Check, you have it in spades. You know the product inside and out.
    Fair price? Yes, check again.
    Treated right? Absolutely.

    For anyone considering ordering through The Keeping Room and Duane, I will say our experience thus far (order went in a week or so ago) has been terrific. As more proof, I put my deposit check in the mail to Duane and really didn't expect a note saying it was rec'd. However, when I rec'd Duane's note on Tuesday saying the check had arrived with another thank you for the business, it CONFIRMED for us that we made the right decision.

    The local H&M dealer here in IL knew NOTHING. Couldn't answer a single question. Price was higher (obviously) and follow up was non-existent. My wife is still waiting for the images promised of the wood colors we were considering for the tapered legs. When I placed the order and talked to Duane, he made me feel 100% confident of our leather color choice and wood color selection.

    There is something to be said for experience and follow up. Plus a nice, pleasant personality on the phone.

    Duane, I hope my post helps you land a lot more business. I am grateful for this forum and for your help.

    Dennis

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    <laughing> Not retiring any time soon as long as my health holds up and I can still lift things. Besides, there is one more car I need to get that's on my bucket list that won't happen if i retire.

    I'm being really careful with Covid, because if I get that bugger than there is no one to run the store, it just gets locked up. Not many people come in the store, and when they do masks are required and I stay 6' away. Anyone coughs or sneezes, I retreat back to my sales counter which is covered with clear plexi shields. i will be first in line when that vaccine is available.

    And i appreciate each and every order, I pride myself in offering good customer service and also that my clients are very understanding of the supply change issues these days, knowing their orders may run longer than expected.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    What happens if a company does go out of business? Where do you get repair work, cushions done? Call Hancock and Moore direct?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Shofer's Furniture in Baltimore has closed their doors

    If a dealer goes out of business, which is quite common, for any warranty work you would contact the manufacturer directly.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

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