March 25, 2020
Independent Retailers are Preparing for the Unknown
But Contemporary Design Group’s members aren’t going it alone.
Like many worldwide, Contemporary Design Group retailers are closely following the COVID-19 pandemic, wondering what tomorrow will bring. But ‘social distancing’ doesn’t mean they’re on their own. From financial planning to freight management to customer outreach; CDG retailers are putting their heads together to figure out how to weather the storm. When considering the sheer volume of data for a small business owner to digest, combined with the rapidly changing conditions—61 heads are clearly better than one! After all, as Ken Blanchard famously said, “None of us is as smart as all of us”.
“Our online chats are buzzing non-stop with ideas, advice, and strategies, not to mention plenty ‘virtual hugs’. It’s a lot to keep up with! “says Executive Director Alicia Mendez Stevens. “We began Zoom-based meetings this week, each focused on a specific topic currently impacting the group. Our member web portal now has a COVID-19 dedicated page with store status updates, resources, and shared materials for download.” The CDG web portal is accessible only to current CDG retailer member owners and their staff. Stevens recommends webpages managed by the Home Furnishing Association, Small Business Association, US Chamber of Commerce, and Center for Disease Control as resources for retailers wanting to learn more about Covid-19 impacts on their business.
“So glad that we have this community to sound off and share our ideas and tribulations,” says Peggy Burns, owner of Circle Furniture in Boston. “If ever a time more important it is now and in the coming weeks.” Perlora Furniture in Pittsburgh has been a member for 23 years. “The help, guidance and camaraderie that we share as a group has helped our business grow,” says owner Lora Sigesmund. “I do not know what I would do without CDG during these unprecedented times. The resources and knowledge that we share with each other is invaluable.” CDG president and owner of Lawrance Furniture in San Diego agrees. “I can’t imagine trying to navigate this issue on my own. The ideas from my fellow CDG’rs are so valuable. The emotional support, even more so.”
The group is also reaching out to their 78 vendor and manufacturer partners located all around the globe. “We recognize that the ability to present at market and connect with customers face to face is a major part of many of their business models,” says Stevens. “With markets now postponed, we want to help bridge that gap by helping facilitate communication with retailers. Many of our partners are using this time period to update their profile pages within our member portal; uploading images, digital catalogs, and COVID-19 strategies of their own.” In addition, CDG’s annual design award is still accepting entries for the December 2020 competition. The contest is open to all manufacturers and vendors, partnership with CDG is not required.
The Contemporary Design Group is a national association of independent home furnishings showrooms, specializing in modern and contemporary design. Currently the buying/performance/networking group has 42 showrooms with 27 retail members in 22 states. They have plans to continue to recruit new independent retailers in additional markets.
For more details on retailer membership, becoming a vendor partner, or entering your design in the Eddie Awards, visit www.contemporarydesign.com