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Industry Voices: Furnitureland South

Industry Voices: Furnitureland South


Founded in 1969, Furnitureland South features more than 1,000 home furnishings brands in a 1.3 million square feet retail location in Jamestown, North Carolina. CEO Jeff Harris said FLS’ strategy evolved as situations changed.

Furnitureland South

“First of all, we got on our hands and knees and started praying,” Harris says. “One of the primary goals was to not shut the business completely down.” 

Harris said that Furnitureland South was able to obtain a PPE Care Act loan that allowed the company to bring furloughed staff members back to work quickly to prepare for the surge in consumer demand that resulted from stay-at-home mandates across the country.

“In late 2019, we had just put in place an order entry system that allowed our people to work remotely which was a stroke of genius luck,” Harris says. “One of the additional things we did was use 8,000-square-foot tent in front of the store to run huge outdoor furniture promotion. It was like a huge garage sale – discontinued, damaged, etc. Our executive director of merchandising tells me to not go down there and see the prices.” 

Harris added that transparency was key to instilling confidence among the employees during the early weeks of the pandemic. Then as the situation progressed, the company utilized its square footage to create a safe shopping experience for customers.

“With 1.3 million square feet, we have plenty of space to social distance,” he said. We have our own facilities services team, and they are invested in taking things up to a higher level to make everyone feel safe. “

For 2021, Furnitureland South remains committed to the strategies that have propelled the company to the home furnishings retail forefront. Harris says that day-to-day traffic continues to grow and that current consumer demand is creating a positive outlook for the industry.

“You can ignore your furniture an hour a day for an infinite time, but when you are looking at it every day, it’s a different story,” he says. “Part of our DNA is to update the store experience and keep it fresh, so we shift, shuffle, and find new solutions for our space. One of the categories we launched was Furnitureland Luxe, and we increased space devoted to that brand during the pandemic.”

Harris concludes by pointing out that consumers are in an “I don’t want to wait” mindset that is likely to continue for some time, underscoring the need for timely delivery from vendors and strategic marketing by retailers.

“People are leaving big cities and coming to North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas, and they are able to afford bigger homes and get more home furnishings,” Harris concludes. “We’re a one-stop-shop, and we’ve got to throw our hat in the ring and let people know we are the solution.”