Keep looking for exciting furniture
Ray Allegrezza -- Casual Living, September 1, 2009
When I was growing up, my father shared this bit of wise counsel: "God gave you two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak."
That pearl of paternal wisdom helped me as I grew up and has stuck with me to this day. But in these upside down times, I find myself listening harder than ever.
One of the things I've heard is that many of us are hunkering down; operating in what only can be called a bunker mentality. And let me be the first to say that on one hand, I can understand why. It can be scary out there.
In a recent talk given at a convention for Human Resource professionals, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, said, "Everybody is scared these days. Are you feeling excitement, thinking about new ways of doing things, and how to restructure to come out thriving? Or are you hunkering down scared?" That's good advice.
Another guy with much closer ties to the business is my friend Ron Wanek, head of Ashley Furniture, one of the most successful suppliers to the home furnishings industry.
Over the years, I've learned much from Ron, a student of history. One of his favorite sayings is that, "In peace, prepare for war. In war, prepare for peace."
Given the wisdom of that advice, and given the fact that we certainly are in the midst of an economic war, I'm surprised that more of us are not preparing for peace.
While none of us can predict exactly when we are going to come out of this recession, it's a safe bet that we will dig ourselves out.
There are encouraging signs that our housing market, which was one of the drivers that pushed us into the ditch, may indeed be on the mend.
Reuters recently polled more than 60 economists who believe U.S. sales of existing homes may have risen to their highest level in 10 months in July, probably as the result of consumers hoping to take advantage of the $8,000 government tax credit that is available until November to first-time homeowners.
The survey indicated sales of previously owned homes climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million in July, the highest rate since last September and the fourth consecutive month that sales of existing homes have improved.
You and I both know that when we are all standing on firm and level ground once again, the race will be on to regain market share.
But what about right now? Most of us still have a bunker mentality, meaning we only stick our heads up out of the foxhole long enough to grab a quick look at the landscape before ducking back down for cover. But in doing so, are we really getting a realistic view of the landscape? Probably not.
Here's a suggestion: As you shop the upcoming market, try seeing it through the eyes of Welch and Wanek.
In the midst of this economic war, plan for peace. Keep your eyes open for the many new products that will be there than can help you create new levels of excitement back at your store.