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I Like the People in This Industry, Update

December 8, 2007

One of the things I like best about our industry is its small size. My family started this business in 1952 and we have been dealing with the same reps or their children for many years. As for our vendors, we keep seeing the same people, albeit in different jobs, year after year. Being small, we treat each other as family, or at least as well liked in-laws.

This week one of our own suffered a loss that highlighted how compassionate our industry can be. Most of you probably know or know of Happy Land. I met Happy when she was Happy Williams and worked at Pawley’s Island Hammocks. That was many years ago and during that time she left Pawley’s to rep several other lines. Right now she is repping several lines including Suncoast. Happy met and married Ken Land a while back. When she married Ken, she thought it was funny that her name would now be Happy Land. To her it sounded like a park in Disney World. I thought it was  an apt description of her because she has always struck me as the happiest person in the land.

Unfortunately, Happy’s son, Averill, passed away unexpectedly this week. He was just 36 and it came as quite a blow to Happy and Ken. Within hours of Averill’s passing, emails were flying to her industry friends from other industry friends passing along the news. Within a day, a memorial fund had been set up in Averill’s memory to help with the burial expenses. CFR contributed to the fund, as have several reps and retailers.

I don’t know of many industries that could or would have responded so compassionately. I am sure that like me, many of you sometimes lose your patience with casual furniture. Poor delivery times, inadequate quality control, abusive clients, and inconsiderate staff can be overwhelming. We have a saying in Louisiana, "It’s hard to remember you came to drain the swamp when alligators are snapping at your butt." There are so many darn alligators in our work like, we sometimes forget how likable our industry can be. I hope the way our industry rallied around Happy will bring some seasonal cheer to your day.

Yours in confused retailing, Bruce

If you would like to contact Happy, her email is happy@sc.rr.com. If you would like to send a contribution, mail it to Happy Land, 2060 Deerfield Ave., Surfside Beach, SC 29575. Note: zip code was incorrect when I first published the blog. Corrected 12/11/07