After 112 Years, Skaff Furniture Looks to the Future

Skaff Furniture President Dick Skaff is flanked by his brother Mike and son Jeff, who recently joined the business.

New state-of-the-art warehouse opens in Flint, Mich.

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Michigan Region member Skaff Furniture Carpet One has been serving customers in the Greater Flint area for 112 years.

The family-held business, run by third- and fourth-generation owners and led by President/CEO Dick Skaff, is built around a massive 70,000-square-foot showroom that’s fed by an adjacent 30,000-square-foot warehouse. But the scale of operation stands in sharp contrast with the company’s humble beginnings.

“It all started in 1911,” Skaff said, “when my grandfather, George Skaff, came to the U.S. from Lebanon and at 14 years old sold oriental rugs from a cart in Downtown Flint.” Third-generation family members — Dick and his brothers George, Tom and Mike — took the reins from their parents and now are joined by Dick’s son Jeffrey, who is following in the Skaff family tradition.

Over the years and through the generations Skaff Furniture has continued to grow and evolve. Milestones include the opening of a store in downtown Flint in the 1950s and the addition of a furniture line to supplement the company’s flooring business, followed by the move to its current location some 30 years later.

It was in 2010 that the Skaffs joined BrandSource, in a move that Dick Skaff said helped the business tremendously. The family initially sought the vendor rebates, which would more than offset their dues. But after attending a few meetings, it became clear that membership brought other benefits that may have been less tangible but are in fact more valuable.

“The relationships that I have built with other dealers in the group have been tremendous,” Skaff said. “To be able to network with other retailers and hear firsthand from them about what is working and what is not has been fantastic.” What’s more, the connections he has made go far beyond shop talk. “I have made many good friends whom I enjoy spending time with and catching up with when we meet,” he said. “We all have a lot in common.” 

Michigan Region Manager Brad Cole spoke highly of the Skaff family and the way they conduct business. “What stands out to me is that they create such an exciting customer experience,” Cole said. “They truly focus on customer satisfaction and doing things the right way.”

After renting a local warehouse for the past 40 years, the Skaffs recently made a huge commitment to the future by building their own 30,000-square-foot facility across the parking lot from their store. “My son Jeff got the ball rolling,” Skaff said. “He questioned why we continue to pay rent when we could build and control our own facility.” 

Moreover, the state-of-the-art warehouse will allow the business to operate more efficiently and better service its customers by having more available stock. “Having the warehouse located here is better for us and for our customers,” Skaff said. “We can deliver orders right away.”

Dick Skaff, surrounded by the Skaff Furniture staff, officiated at the Jan. 18 ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the opening of the company’s new warehouse.

Skaff’s 70,000-square-foot showroom is unique in that it showcases all its offerings — from furniture and flooring to carpeting and clearance items — all in one space. “The concept of offering home furnishings and flooring as a one-stop shop is attractive to customers and is one of the ways we have adapted our business to better serve them,” Skaff said.

The company lives by the mantra near Dick Skaff’s desk, “Love God, Love Others,” and has donated more than $200,000 to local charities over the last 11 years.

Another family tradition, besides running a successful business and providing great customer service, is community involvement. “Giving back is very important to us,” he said. “It reflects who we are and what is important to us as a member of this community.”

As Skaff Furniture celebrates it 112th year and the opening of its new warehouse, it is also looks ahead toward the future. “We have made a big commitment to this business and this community and are pleased that the fourth generation is here to take the baton and carry it forward,” Skaff said. “We will continue to follow the guiding principles that have made us successful.”

“We are going to be here for a long time,” he added, “to carry on the legacy my grandfather left behind as a local, family-owned business that supports the community.”

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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