Apollo Award nominees: Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas
Kristine Ellis -- Casual Living, September 14, 2011
Sunnyland’s showroom evokes a tropical fantasy scene with oversized palm trees and plants as well as repeats of stripes and solids in accent pillows and rugs. It sets the scene for medium- to medium-high priced outdoor furniture.
WHILE SOME RETAILERS HUNKER DOWN TO WAIT out bad weather and trying times, this year's group of Apollo Award nominees stands out for their determination to create their own destinies. Their ability to adapt is exceeded only by their drive to succeed. This group sets the bar for industry excellence in today's marketplace.
Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the Apollo Awards banquet at the Field Museum on Sept. 14, during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago.
Single store | Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas
GOING INTO FALL WITH A DOUBLE-DIGIT SALES increase for the season, threetime Apollo Award winner Sunnyland Furniture leads by example when it comes to paying attention to every detail.
"We rigorously watch inventory levels and expenses. For example, shopping freight carriers in order to get more aggressive pricing - every freight bill is examined to make sure that the correct freight class was charged - and we aggressively price our merchandise when necessary," said David Schweig, who co-owns the business with his wife Debbie.
The Schweigs opened the store in 1997. Although the recession didn't hit North Texas as hard as it did some other areas of the country, like specialty dealers everywhere, they too stepped back in 2008 and began examining every facet of their business strategy. Three years later, as recovery takes hold in the area, Sunnyland Furniture remains a leaner operation with growth driven by experience.
"We're not taking as many chances on untried or unproven products or categories," Schweig said.
As a consequence, profit margins are up and inventory is down.
Sunnyland customers continue to gravitate to the medium-to medium-high priced collections. While they are willing to spend, they want multiple pieces and accessories for their dollars.
Sunnyland Furniture is an aggressive advertiser. For 2011, Schweig increased both his radio and television advertising and continued to expand the company's Web presence via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Yelp.
But it is the company's commitment to exceeding its customers' expectations that Schweig believes sets Sunnyland apart.
"Exceeding Customer Expectations' isn't just a slogan on our business cards," he said. "It's an attitude, a way of life that our team members embrace. It includes our sales and merchandising presentations, customer service, purchasing, deliveries, warranty claim - basically, any opportunity that gives us the chance to exceed expectations."
Debbie and David Schweig