Apollo Award nominees: Leisure Living, Salt Lake City
Nominees meet their challenges head on
Kristine Ellis -- Casual Living, 9/14/2011 7:16:29 AM
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 | Leisure Living, Salt Lake City
FIFTY YEARS AFTER HORACE SORENSEN'S South East Furniture Store won an Apollo Award, Marc McDonald is channeling the competitive spirit of his Grandpa Horace to find creative ways to expand the family revenue base.
A primary focus these days is moving further into the wholesale business by expanding his Pronto Warehouse Program. The newest addition is a cast-aluminum collection that McDonald will sell at Leisure Living as well as to other specialty dealers.
"The collection is in the warehouse now and ready to ship," McDonald said, adding that they are also close to having a firepit ready for distribution. Development of his alternative table tops, the first products under the warehouse program, is taking a bit longer than originally expected.
"We've run into a few snags - I have a better respect for manufacturing issues now - but we'll be proceeding forward with them," he said.
Having a wholesale business has been a long-time dream for McDonald. As his customers became more value-conscious in recent years, he decided it was time to turn his dream into a reality.
Meanwhile, Leisure Living's overall sales this season kept on pace with last season's. While traffic was down, those who shopped were looking for specific items and were serious about making a purchase.
McDonald will be looking for value at the Casual Market in September. He's hoping that more manufactures will expand their mid-priced offerings in light of growing inflation.
"I don't think they need to make their whole lines midrange, but if they could make a few things it would help us round our collections out. It's easy for me to find $1,000 spring chairs; it's tougher to find one that's $499," McDonald said.
Leisure Living is a five-time Apollo Award nominee. Horace Sorensen opened the family business in 1925. In 1981, McDonald, his wife Sharon and his parents, Charles and Bethann, opened Leisure Living to focus solely on outdoor products.
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