Meet independent retail’s brightest stars

This time a year ago, none of us had any idea what the future held for small and independent retailers of home furnishings. The world was in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the U.S., non-essential businesses were closed.

Fast forward to 2021 and the picture is much brighter. Vaccines are going into arms at record rates and business is booming. Home décor has been one of the bright spots in an economic recovery and its demand shows no sign of stopping, even if supply is still a burr in the saddle.

On that note, Home Accents Today is pleased to bring to you 50 stories of success from around the country. For 17 years, we’ve made Retail Stars one of our cornerstone features, and as optimism continues to rise, what better time than now to celebrate?

This year’s Stars come from 27 states. California and North Carolina lead the way with a quartet of Stars apiece while Washington, Missouri and Illinois are well-represented with three Stars calling them home. Texas, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio each boast two Retail Stars, while Mississippi, Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Massachusetts, Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado and South Carolina are each home to a Star.

Since the dawning of the millennium is becoming more of a memory with each passing year, for this year’s inside look, we decided to see how many stores opened before and after the Great Recession, using 2010 as the dividing line. Of course, the class splits it perfectly, with 25 founded as of 2010 and 25 founded since 2011. Of those more seasoned retailers, Wright’s Furniture & Flooring is by far the oldest, having been in business since 1889. Garber’s Interior Design opened in 1935 while Weisshouse started in 1943 and Bide & Burgeon has been in operation since 1945.

Most of the Class of 2021 is made up of single operations, with 35 businesses owning one storefront. Fifteen of our Stars have multiple stores, led by Minnesota’s HOM Furniture with 17 doors, followed by Moe’s Home Collection, which boasts 13.

Interior design continues to be an open avenue for sales at the retail level. Of our 50 retailers, 40 report that they offer the service. In terms of overall sales, 33 of our Stars say their annual business is less than $3 million, but four of them report the lofty air of $10 million or more in sales. E-commerce is gaining more…

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