How COVID IS Helping Me See What’s Essential

For many business owners, myself included, COVID has obviously been a major disruption and one that I hope never to have to face again. And for most—especially those of us in the real estate world—the amount of economic uncertainty has made it challenging to take confident steps to move forward.

But five months in, and after much reflection, surprisingly I have also found COVID to be an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

I say this with the utmost compassion for the millions of victims of COVID’s growing human and economic impact. Nonetheless, the shift in action has afforded me the opportunity to reflect on what is really essential in my personal and professional lives.

For me, nothing is more essential than family. In addition to my actual family, the people I work with are family. My partner Ron and I have been in business since 2000. Many of our team-members have worked with us for over a decade, for which I am both grateful and proud. We are invested in each other like family, and since the beginning we have been committed to ensuring that all our team-members are well-paid and receive quality benefits. This is one factor that has contributed to our high retention rate and has helped build our happy work family.

But my vendors are also my family. Among others, Resource Furniture has been deeply connected to the Colombo family, the owners of our wall bed-manufacturer Clei, for more than a decade. Being that Italy was impacted so hard and so early by COVID, my heart went out to the Colombo’s and to the entire nation. (Ron and I visit often and are Tri-State guys, so we barely consider Italy a separate country). We all know and trust each other because we are invested in people, not just products and prices.

Ultimately, our family-driven approach throughout our entire supply-chain and sales channels also translates to a warm and exceptional customer experience – our ultimate goal. Conversely, most fast-furniture suppliers are usually seeking the cheapest and quickest solution. The origins of these products—who it came from and how it was designed, manufactured, and distributed is a mystery. What matters most is that it can be had cheap and fast.

In a world of rapid growth, exploitation of cheap overseas products and labor, and light-speed economic development, we believe our patient and continued focus on family—on responsibly-sourced, high-quality products, on what’s essential and possible in our built-environments—this focus will enable Resource to not just survive, but to thrive with our heads held high in one of the most challenging economic situations of all time. Who knows if the same can be said of all the fast-furniture companies out there?

To make our products more accessible to different economic demographics, our Contract Division works with multifamily developers and other operators to maximize functionality of smaller units. Some have baked our furniture into their FFE in their pro forma, such that it is integral to the deal structure and has a nominal net-impact on rent.

We also support initiatives from Citizen’s Housing and Planning Council, The National Building Museum, and The Solar Decathlon, all of whom support important messages about how efficient design and smart policy can create more diverse and dignified housing, and help improve and possibly save lives—because aren’t we all family, really?

Specifically, those organizations have promoted ADUs, working-from-home, affordability, multigenerational-living, and housing for singles. All of these topics are very much in the news and are the type of spaces Resource Furniture specializes in.

In this world now overwhelmed by a global pandemic, racial and economic turmoil, and overall uncertainty, I think many would be served, as I have been, by taking this family-focused approach. Are my employees and those I am responsible for doing okay? Are my vendors and customers okay? The easiest way to know the answer is to know the people and places where we buy and sell.

This approach may not break any lofty sales numbers, but it may enable my family, my business, and all those I care for to succeed where others falter.

Drop us a line if you’d like to see how my family can help yours.