Best ideas from retailer roundtables at Furniture First

Luna Ruth

The best retail idea from Furniture First’s Symposium came from Table 9, which included Furniture Mall of Kansas’ Jamie Winter, who presented the winning idea.

ORLANDO, Fla. — While Better Call Saul is deeply entrenched in today’s pop culture landscape thanks to the hit TV show, Better Call Angelique might soon find its way into similar prominence in the furniture industry lexicon thanks to a winning idea at Furniture First‘s Symposium.

The idea, presented by Furniture Mall of Kansas owner Jamie Winter, to use the expertise of a corporate tax consultant to take advantage of the Employee Retention Credit, was a hit as retailers revealed their best idea at dinner.

“We had heard in the news about the Employee Retention Credit, and there are a couple of ways you can qualify. The first is on a significant reduction in sales, and we didn’t meet that requirement, so we assumed we wouldn’t qualify,” Winter told Furniture Today the day after the dinner. “We kept researching and realized that we qualified, but it’s difficult to figure out how to apply and get the credit. We found an expert in the business and got them involved, and they made it very simple.”

At the dinner, Winter asked if the gathered retailers liked the money that came with the Paycheck Protection Program during the early days of the pandemic. Many indicated that they did, so he went on to talk about how store owners can take advantage of the ERC, which is a refundable payroll tax credit for 2020 and 2021. Businesses that experienced a significant revenue drop, businesses that were impacted by government COVID orders or any businesses affected due to vendors affected by COVID government orders are eligible.

The potential payout is $5,000 per employee for 2020 and $21,000 per employee for 2021. In his presentation, Winter used the example of a store with 25 employees, meaning it could recoup $125,000 for 2020 and $525 for 2021 for a grand total of $650,000.

While those refunds are eye catching, Winter said it’s a complicated process as the bill is 800 pages and has had four significant updates, and retailers have to document specific government orders that allow them to qualify. He said most accountants won’t touch it and don’t know how to do the research, and there’s no form to fill out.

To that end, Furniture Mall of Kansas researched and found Angelique Garcia at Warner-Robinson, a group of corporate tax consultants in Kansas City, Mo., at (361) 343-1361. He noted that the service has a 15% pre-negotiated cost (or free, if the retailer doesn’t qualify).

“I had a lot of comments last night, and today that people are working on getting their Employee Retention Credit approved. We made it simple to call somebody to get the expert help to do all the difficult work and make it an easy process,” Winter said.

Earlier in the day, retailers had a series of roundtables in which they exchanged ideas, with the best from each table earning a presentation at dinner. Other ideas that made the cut included:

  • Sales bingo, presented by Jay Hawkins from Room to Room of Tupelo, Miss.
  • VIP text codes, presented by Amber Beane from Room to Room of Tupelo, Miss.
  • A QR code to a Google Reviews page, presented by Kyle Deets of Deets Furniture of Norfolk, Neb.
  • An in-house magazine, presented by Lisa Hawkins of Room to Room of Tupelo, Miss.
  • An exchange of value board, communicating to sales which products need to be moved, by Cailey Ehgoetz of Michael Alan Home Furnishings of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
  • A booster club sale by Pam Miller of Miller Home Furniture & Mattress of Falls Creek, Pa.
  • Increasing protection plans, by Travis Turner of Turner Furniture of Avon Park, Fla.
  • Digital business cards by Austin and Klay Klopfenstein of Home Rooms of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Winter said the exchange of ideas is one of the best parts of the annual Furniture First gathering.

“That’s a big reason we come,” he said. “Usually, the best ideas session is where you get the most things you can take home and implement in your business.”

See also:

Best ideas from retailer roundtables at Furniture First

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