BrandSource Member Oscar Miskelly Addresses Furniture Challenges

HFA chief Mark Schumacher (left) with Oscar Miskelly at the Furniture Today conference.

Talks inventory, customer communications at Furniture Today conference.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

BrandSource member Oscar Miskelly, CEO of Mississippi’s seven-store Miskelly Furniture, offered insights into his company’s inventory position and customer communications at Furniture Today magazine’s 2021 Leadership Conference.

Miskelly participated in a CEO panel, where he shared the stage with Tony Boldt, president/CEO of Nebraska Furniture Mart; Bruce Berman, chairman of The RoomPlace; and moderator Mark Schumacher, CEO of the Home Furnishings Association. The annual event was held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.

During the discussion, Miskelly observed that inventory availability remains the biggest competitive advantage in the marketplace, and will remain so in the months ahead.

“Inventory right now is king,” he told the crowd. “We’re seeing people coming in with trailers and trucks and they want to pick it up now.”

To that end, inventory represents Miskelly’s “biggest investment,” he said, with the company now sitting on twice as much inventory as it had when the pandemic first hit in 2020.

Nevertheless, customer communication, particularly sales follow-ups, remains paramount amid continuing supply-chain constraints. “Projected ship dates aren’t always accurate and that’s a challenge, so it’s our responsibility to communicate that,” Miskelly noted. And that task generally falls to the salesperson.

“Most people want to hear from their sales staff,” he said. “That salesperson has a responsibility to follow up with the consumer.”

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Miskelly also recalled how in the early days of the pandemic the company thanked customers for their patience and apologized for late deliveries by sending out 400 gift boxes with Mississippi-made cheese straws, bath bombs and scented candles, along with a letter from his desk and a handwritten note from the salesperson.

Furniture Today’s 2021 Leadership Conference was held Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando.

Hat tip to Furniture Today.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress, and CE dealers.