How Does A Free Onion Go With Home Furnishings? Ask David Namoff of Rooms Direct!

Before Cornerstone Business Solutions became known for providing merchant services and merchant cash advances, David Namoff was a customer of the fledgling company.  Back in 2000, Dave owned the huge furniture store across the street and was already known by many as ‘Downer’ Dave, the guy with the free onion and the best furniture deals.  Over the years,  Rooms Direct has been an incredibly loyal customer and has been a big part in working to educate Cornerstone on the specific payment services needs of furniture retailers.   Not only is he a valuable customer, he’s also become a great friend!

So, it’s with great pleasure that I post this exclusive interview with the ‘man behind the onion’!  Watch it and you’ll find out:
  • How Dave Namoff and his family started in the furniture retail business!
  • The 50 year history behind the free onion promotion!
  • 2013 Black Friday specials!
  • Two of the craziest furniture stories he’s seen in the past 30 years!
  • How Dave has dropped the pounds and looking at his first Marathon!
  • Why Cornerstone is his payment provider of choice!

I know this short video just touches the surface on Dave and he’s well known by so many friends and customers.  I would ask anyone that wants to share anything about Dave to please add it in the comments below.

Merchant Cash Advance for Furniture Stores

IHFRA_logo_trimmedOne of Cornerstone Business Solution’s specialties is providing payment solutions for furniture stores and I am a proud member of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA).  This organization is comprised of professionals and companies that service the furniture retailers.  I had the privilege of writing an article for their most recent newsletter and I’m posting it below in it’s original form.  This article was targeted to those selling to furniture retailers and to assist them in a little known finance option available to their customers, a Merchant Cash Advance.  To see the entire newsletter where this was first published, you can access the IHFRA site and newsletter here.

Money is No Problem!

As rewarding as it can be for a representative to work with furniture retailers, the job isn’t without challenges. No matter how great a salesperson you are, chances are you’ll eventually come to a roadblock where your client isn’t going to eagerly purchase your goods. There are three main reasons retailers don’t buy:

  1. They don’t want the product you are offering. Maybe they don’t like the line or don’t believe it will sell.
  2. They don’t believe or trust you. This means you’ll need to establish a solid relationship with them before they are comfortable enough to make a purchase.
  3. They can’t afford it.   While dealers may see the value and want the product, they just don’t have the money to buy right now.

The first two points can sometimes be overcome by a seasoned representative with a good offering, but many times circumstances cause a willing buyer to be without capital means. The great news is that lack of funding no longer has to be an obstacle! Traditional financing and relying on credit cards aren’t always enough to help retailers to afford more inventory-so if lack of capital is keeping your clients from buying, it’s time to offer a third option: a merchant cash advance (MCA).

Unlike traditional business loans, MCAs look at immediate cash flow and deduct micro-payments on a daily basis from an account (rather than relying on credit scores). The advance is then recouped based on credit card receipts—typically not more than 25% of daily card receipts go toward the repayment. A set amount can also be determined and deducted on a daily basis. MCAs are ideal for short-term loans (3-18 months) and are designed to secure funds quickly. And here’s more good news: your client most likely won’t even have to change credit card processors!

Setting up an MCA is fast and easy. Retailers can be pre-qualified in just minutes with a phone call, and they’ll appreciate no upfront fees and minimal documentation. Working with a cash flow specialist can boost business when dollars are tight and traditional loans aren’t an option—he/she will have multiple options for non-traditional financing and will find the right finance option based upon the individual needs of the retailer.

So just how much money is available through an MCA? Amounts range from $5-$150K, which can be used to add inventory, put toward marketing, or increase staffing. That’s great for your client and good for you, too, if you build a relationship with a loan specialist who will pay a finder’s fee on every referral funded.

As an additional incentive, you’ll see your client’s store prosper and increase orders. I’ll share one example of a successful furniture retailer I’ve personally seen tap into this non-traditional source of capital. Throughout the recession, he’s grown from one to three stores—and his main location has seen its sales double! This is a direct result of an MCA used wisely to increase inventory, marketing, and locations.

Isn’t this success story inspiring? If you want to increase your own sales, helping your clients grow theirs is the first step—and an MCA is a key way to achieve this goal. If you haven’t yet considered offering this option, there’s no time like the present to start!

 

Robert McBeath is a Certified Payment Professional and President of Cornerstone Business Solutions.  He has extensive experience offering merchant services and cash advances to home furnishing retailers. Visit www.CornerstoneBusinessSolutions.net or call him at 888.979.4731.

Merchant Payment Services for Furniture Associations

Midwest_Furniture_Show_FlierMy father and his experience from the years he owned a furniture store have had a great influence upon me. I applied the principles that he taught me when I founded Cornerstone Business Solutions, a merchant payment provider.  Initially, when we opened in March of 2000, we provided essentially one main service, merchant services, to all local businesses.  Over the years, we’ve added other merchant payment services such as electronic check guarantee/conversion, gift and loyalty card and our very popular merchant cash advance programs.  Also technology and word of mouth advertising now has us servicing customers nationwide.

Through all of these changes, I haven’t forgotten the furniture industry that is a part of my heritage.  When I opened my doors to my business, there was a furniture store literally across the street and they became one of my very first customers.  I had no idea that the owner, David Namoff would end up becoming such a close friend.  First, I shared an affinity for him, as his dad was in the furniture business, just like mine.  I saw in him what my life might have been and I admired him for that.  Over the years I’ve come to appreciate what a generous, gregarious, kind and honest person he is as well as a visionary marketing and business man.

Rooms Direct exteriorDave has also been a loyal customer through the years and I give him credit for helping me to design programs that best meet the needs of others in the furniture business.  I’ll admit that there were some trials and errors over the years, but I always did my best and learned from the experiences.  I count Rooms Direct as one of my favorite customers because of this relationship.  I also enjoy spending time with his great staff, Scott, Glenn, Kerry and Tommy and others.  Last black Friday I even had the opportunity to work side by side with them while helping Rooms Direct/Beds Direct promote their loyalty program.

With the input from Rooms Direct and many other local clients in the furniture and mattress sales, I was able to design a targeted Payment Value Program to help out these businesses nationwide.  I just needed a way to reach out and share my message with these retailers.

I know merchant services programs are competitive for large retailers and they are besieged by companies and representatives all offering “The Lowest Rate Guaranteed!”  (And yes, I offer that too, just like all the rest.  If you understand interchange rates, you realize it’s all a marketing ploy.)  What I haven’t seen by other bank card companies is an entire value program that starts with understanding the specific service needs and includes the programs specifically needed for growth and efficiency.  That’s part of the value that I bring.  Beyond that, it’s important for me to start a relationship by giving something, not selling anything.  This is where it’s my goal to educate first and help these businesses become aware of issues in the payment industry that affect them.

One prime example of this is the $7.25 Billion Visa/Mastercard Settlement.  It strikes me as a derelict of duty that most furniture stores aren’t being informed of this by their current merchant services provider, or anyone for that matter!  This is an easy payout of five figures for many furniture retailers, but not if they don’t know about it and register!  This is just one message I want to share.

I knew I needed the help of a professional to show me how to develop relationships in the industry.  For the price of a lunch, my friend Scott Short, manager at Rooms Direct, Beds Direct and Rooms Direct Outlet shared some of what he’s learned from his 25 years experience.  He directed me to get involved in the IHFRA and the North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA).  He even made some introduction calls for me and helped Cornerstone get an exhibit booth at the 7th annual Midwest Furniture Show!

Special considerations were made by two key individuals to get me a booth at the last minute.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Ted Weisbach, Midwest Furniture Club (MFC) president and Geoff Weed, show coordinator. I consider the show a huge success in that it was a wonderful experience in getting to meet furniture retailers as well as dealer representatives.  I also had the opportunity to speak with representatives Jana Sutherland of the NAHFA and Jennifer Sova of the IHFRA.  Both are deeply committed to providing as much value as possible to their members and we discussed how I might provide value to the organization.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to being a resource for them that can help to inform and assist their furniture retailers with specialized payment services and business cash advance programs.

Payment Solutions for Home Furnishings Industry a Return To My Heritage

Cornerstone Business Solutions premiered their Merchant Payment Value Provider program for furniture stores last week at the Midwest Furniture Show.  As a member of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) and Midwest Furniture Club Service Provider, Cornerstone shared with furniture stores a merchant services and growth capital program specific to the needs of the home furnishings retailer.  Although a multitude of companies are facilitating credit card processing for businesses, only Cornerstone has the expertise in providing a Merchant Payment System that is designed to increase revenue, cut expenses and maximize efficiency, specifically for furniture businesses.

Hart_and_McBeath_Grand_OpeningExhibiting at the event last week had a feeling as if I was embracing my roots and almost like fate.  You see, it is no accident that my company specializes in payment services for the furniture industry.  You could say that it’s in my blood.  Growing up in the ‘70s, my father co-owned Hart & McBeath Home Furnishings in Pontiac, IL.  It’s among my earliest child hood memories of how my dad worked long hours and poured his heart, sweat and blood into the business.  I remember well the many trials he faced, from the sales and marketing to self delivery.  Finance options for his business as well as for his customers were also limited and made sales even more difficult.  I KNOW how critical cash flow, customer financing and access to operating capital are to the health of a furniture store.  Unfortunately in his day, options were limited and it was a factor in the closing of the business.

I remember the business struggled to meet bills and there were little funds available for advertising and stocking affordable inventory to sell.  The only financing they received was a bank loan for the building.  I can’t help but wonder how a quick and easily approved loan with no collateral, might have helped Hart & McBeath to grow.  I’ve firsthand seen the growth that a merchant cash advance can facilitate for a furniture business.  I’ve helped furniture stores get the growth capital they need for advertising, inventory, marketing and expansion.  Helping them obtain $100,000 or more in days to launch a campaign can mean a furniture store is able to jump start sales and turn on the cash flow faucets.  Combined with easy payment terms over a short period of time and the business growth can be phenomenal without a long term debt burden.

Customer finance options were also cumbersome and costly to the business.  In those days, credit card acceptance hadn’t reached the small towns yet.  For customers that didn’t have cash or check, my father’s businesses only option was to offer in house financing.   I found it interesting that it was actually a local bank that funded the loan for the amount of the furniture purchase, but it was guaranteed by the furniture store.  The bank collected all the interest, but the payments were made to the business, which then paid the bank.  And any default to the loan was the furniture stores responsibility!  You can imagine the issues with this system!   “Furniture store owners have it pretty easy these days.  All the customers have a line of credit already approved that they carry in a card in their pocket.  It makes it so easy for a customer to just swipe that card and get what they want on the spot.  And the store owner gets his money in his checking right away and don’t mess with monthly collections or any hassles!” says Bill McBeath.

Mom Dad and IUnfortunately, the same payment programs that I offer to my customers today weren’t available in my Dad’s era.  And so after almost 8 years, Hart and McBeath Home Furnishings closed their doors which ended my expectations of following in my Dad’s footsteps as a furniture store owner.  However, my father did leave me a legacy with something much more valuable.  The time I spent with him at the store he taught me some of the most important keys to achievement in business.  He taught me about hard work, integrity and going the extra mile for a customer.  I learned that a man’s hand shake, character and reputation are more important than money.  Based upon those principles, my father is still one of the most successful men I’ve ever known, even if his business wasn’t.

It may seem a little overly nostalgic, but I am proud to carry this history forward in applying these principles while servicing the industry that my father introduced me to all those years ago.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring real value in merchant payment processing to the owner’s of furniture stores because I’ve seen what a difference it can make in the success of their business.  Presenting the Cornerstone ‘concierge’ payment services program at the Midwest Furniture Show was exhilarating for these reasons, and I’m looking forward to continuing my relationship with those in the industry.  I’m already preparing for our next big event with the Las Vegas event in January with the North American Home Furnishings Show Association (NAHFA).

 

Merchant Payment Services Value Provider for Furniture Stores

Merchant Services Furniture StoresMerchant services and payment processing for furniture stores is a specialty that Cornerstone Business Solutions takes great pride in.  It takes a real specialist to understand and anticipate the payment needs of home furnishings and mattress retailers.  Of course there are plenty of credit card processing companies that can set up a merchant account.  Thousands of companies will promise the absolute best rate, when in reality most rate structures will be similar and based upon interchange.  The expectation should be an excellent pricing structure, not the selling point, particularly when it involves this unique industry.  Beyond a low processing rate, furniture stores have special needs and considerations.  These needs can only be met with a ‘concierge’ bank card representative that has the connections and understands both the furniture business as well as the payment services industry.

Some of the challenges in payment processing that furniture stores face are:

Most merchant services providers won’t approve furniture stores because they are considered high risk.  Unfortunately due to a past record of charge backs and instability of some furniture stores, combined with the high ticket size and monthly volume, the industry is often considered high risk for many providers and is on their restricted list.

Reserve accounts are common within the industry.  Many of the banks that will approve furnishings businesses will put a portion of their deposits in a rolling reserve as security.   This means the business doesn’t get all of their funds right away from the cards they accept.  This can tie up tens of thousands of dollars in working capital.

Credit card funds are often held and delayed.  Often, a credit card processing company’s risk department will put a hold on funds if it’s a large ticket, holding up the funding getting deposited for a long period of time.  Merchants may have to ‘fight’ to get the money they are owed.  Also furniture stores often have large promotional sales with huge volumes on those dates.  The extraordinary volume can have some risk departments holding all the merchants funds.

Bank card providers set up the processing and fail to service.  Many agents and credit card processing companies are eager to sell a merchant account, but fail in the servicing aspect.  Areas of expertise that a merchant should expect help with include PCI compliance, continued rate optimization, settlement recovery assistance and terminal support.  It’s critical to have a personal agent that can be reached for support on the weekends of big sales.

Banks aren’t always a viable source for growth capital needs.  Easy and fast access to capital is critically important to the growth of a furniture store.  Merchant cash advances are funds advanced based upon the projected future sales of the business.  These funds can help fund marketing and advertising as well as build inventory that can be turned around for quick profit.

Bad checks can be extremely costly and difficult to collect on.   In the furnishings business, one bad check can be a huge loss to the business.  Having an adequate check protection program in place is critical to avoid these losses.  It’s also important to have a cost efficient program based upon the individual needs of a particular furnishings store.  Many options are available and it’s important to choose the correct one.

Earning customer loyalty instead of giving away discounts.  Although it’s common practice to discount furniture and have sales, these discounts may drive sales, but they do little to build future loyalty.  Some furniture stores are now offering electronic gift cards in lieu of some discounts.  These funds are good for future use and ensure the customer returns for future needs.

These are just some of the special payment processing needs for furniture retailers.  If these basic needs aren’t met, the entire business could be jeopardized.  When analyzing the service provided by a merchant payment provider the following questions should be asked:
• Does your merchant services provider really understand the home furnishings industry?
• Who is making sure that you aren’t stuck holding bad checks?
• Who can you call when your credit card processing terminals go down?
• Who is offering you capital for inventory and growth when you need it?
• Does your merchant service provider make sure you get your funding on time, every time?
• Who is helping you get your share of the $7.25 billion Visa/Mastercard settlement?

Cornerstone Business Solutions and Robert McBeath have helped home furnishing retailers with answers to these questions for years.  With a long history in merchant payment solutions and servicing the industry, they are uniquely qualified in being the ‘concierge’ service provider for furniture stores nationwide.  For more information, please feel free to call Cornerstone at 309-820-0076.

 

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