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Lehman Joins the Furniture First Board of Directors, Schwaab Named Chairman

HIGH POINT: Furniture First Buying Group held elections for positions on the board of directors Monday at their annual meeting at the High Point Market.

Furniture First CEO Andrew Kauffman presented outgoing board chairman, Art Scholet of Scholet Furniture in Oneonta, NY, with a plaque recognizing his years of service and contributions to the leadership of the group. Scholet will continue to serve on the board in a nonexecutive role. Scholet Furniture has been a member of Furniture First since 1995.

The leadership of the board will be assumed by Tom Schwaab of Howell Furniture in Beaumont, TX, who becomes the new Chairman of the executive committee. Schwaab joined the Board of Directors two years ago; Howell’s Furniture has been a member of Furniture First since 2009.

The executive committee of the board of directors includes Chris Cooley of Michael Alan Furnishings in Lake Havasu City, AZ, who will serve as Vice Chairman. Michael Alan Furnishings has been a member of Furniture First since 2009. Eric Sinclair of Montgomery’s Furniture in Madison, SD will serve as Secretary of executive committee. Montgomery’s has been a member of Furniture First since 2001. Steve Kloss of Kloss Furniture in O’Fallon, IL will continue in his role of Treasurer on the executive committee. Kloss was one of the founding members of Furniture First in 1994.

Beckey Waldrop of Miller Waldrop Furniture in Hobbs, NM was recognized for her contributions to the board as her term ended. While Waldrop did not attend the High Point Market this April, she was honored in the meeting and will receive a token of thanks from the group at a later date. Miller Waldrop Furniture has been a member of Furniture First since 2012.

Todd Lehman of INTERIORS HOME in Lancaster, PA was approved to join the board of directors by a vote of acclamation. INTERIORS HOME has been a member of Furniture First since 2015.

Retailers serving on the board of directors include:

  • Pat Callan of Callan Furniture in Waite Park, MN, member since 2002
  • Larry Mark of Furniture Warehouse Design Gallery in Beaufort, SC, member since 2006
  • Mike Kordik of Mike’s Furniture in Joliet, IL member since 2001
  • Randy Coconis of Coconis Furniture in South Zanesville, OH, member since 1998
  • Ron Deets of Deets Homestore in Norfolk, NE, member since 2001

“We are fortunate to have such strong retailers serving on our board of directors,” said Andrew Kauffman, the recently named CEO of the group. “The pressures facing the independent furniture retailer are only getting bigger. Our board is a fiercely devoted group of successful retailers who are dedicated to continually forge a positive direction for all Furniture First members.”

Furniture First is preparing for their Annual Symposium, which will be held in three weeks at the JW Marriott in Phoenix, Arizona. Sponsorships for the 2017 symposium sold out in record time when they were opened up to approved vendor partners last November. The Symposium’s theme “Igniting Ideas, Sharing Solutions” speaks to the strong member-to-member and member-to-vendor networking that the cooperative’s annual event is known for.