Furniture First Board Dedicates Trees in Memory of Three Members
When The Furniture First board of directors recently gathered in Middletown, PA for their semiannual in-person meeting, the group took time to remember three late board members with the dedication of eastern redbud trees. The trees were recently planted on the grounds of Furniture First’s office and commemorative plaques will be installed dedicating the trees to the memory of Ron Hatch, Hatch Furniture, Yakima, SD; Riley Griffiths, Riley’s Furniture in Monroe, OH; and Nick Cardi, Cardi’s Furniture in Swansea, MA. Each late member served on the board of directors at one point in the group’s 25-year history.During the dedication several board members shared their memories of the honored subjects. Current board chairman Chris Cooley stated, “I’m here because of Nick Cardi.” Cardi recruited Cooley to join the board in 2011, filling the board seat of Ron Hatch when he rotated off the board after ten years of service, a stint that included the office of chairman. Cooley continued her reflection saying “The character of these three is seen in the work we are doing as a board now. It’s part of the core values we identified in our strategic planning process: relationships, integrity, respect, innovative thinking, and teamwork.”Eric Sinclair, vice chairman of the board, also shared his remembrances, “I roomed with Ron and Riley at performance groups years ago. Both of them were engineers by training and had very different takes on business.” Riley Griffiths was remembered for his willingness to help those in need, no questions asked.In the early days of the cooperative, Ron Hatch paid the stockholder fee of another retailer because he knew how much membership would do to help his friend’s business. The friend didn’t know until he received a congratulatory call for being accepted as a member. Board member Randy Coconis recollected how Nick Cardi contributed annually, unprompted, to the annual Coconis golf tournament benefitting the National Autism Association of Southeast Ohio.“The retailers who have served on our board of directors have built an organization that will endure” said Andrew Kauffman, CEO of Furniture First. “We’ve had challenges over the years, but the leadership of our board has put us on a firm footing for the future. We have a new strategic plan that we have begun to implement to help our members thrive and our organization grow.”About Furniture First: Furniture First is a cooperative national home furnishings and mattress buying group serving full line independent retailers with sales over $2 million. A recent analysis found that collectively the group sells $2.5 billion at retail with their approved merchandise programs in the 501-member storefronts. Furniture First occupies showrooms in High Point (IHFC G-770) and Las Vegas (B530) where they display products from several of the group’s approved vendors. For more information on Furniture First Membership, please visit www.FurnitureFirst.coop or call 800-411-3477.
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