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).

 

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  1. […] My father and his experience from the years he owned a furniture store have had a great influence up… 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. […]

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