Furniture Market: Excellent Quality and Outstanding Prices from a Locally Owned Comapny
Furniture Market’s goal is to offer its customers the very best quality at an outstanding price and to do so with a personal “family” touch. A little more than ten years ago, Dwain Schuh and his wife Kim set out to do just that. In the mid-nineteen-nineties, they decided to sell their California Bay Area businesses and enjoy life a little. They sold their pizza restaurants and hair salon and charted new territory by helping a friend start an oak and pine furniture business in Southern California. Inspired, they arrived in Austin in 1996 and started a wholesale furniture company of their own. After wholesaling to retail stores across the southern United States, Schuh decided the retail side of the business looked more interesting and more profitable.
After purchasing a building on I-35—the site of the current main Furniture Market location—they opened the Oak and Pine Superstore. Because they were new to the retail furniture business, they did things a little differently. “We realized we could buy furniture in bulk from China and Malaysia, have the containers shipped directly to our warehouse or store, and sell everything at a really low margin. By doing so, our customers would save twenty-five to thirty percent off retail right off the bat.” Volume selling turned out to be the most profitable approach. Schuh says, “China took over the furniture industry years ago, which opened up a wealth of opportunities.” Soon other Asian countries got in on the act and the Schuhs were able to work with a range of vendors and expand their line. In May 2006, the Oak and Pine Superstore was renamed the Furniture Market to better reflect our evolution in to a full line furniture source.
In January of this year, MyFurnitureMarket.com was launched. Schuh says, “We were slow to get on the Internet because the business didn’t really need that kind of exposure.” Before the company even had a web site, word-of-mouth advertising was responsible for drawing business from a thousand and twenty-five ZIP codes in Texas and locations throughout another forty-one states. Schuh says, “We simply offer the lowest furniture prices on the planet. That goes a long way in explaining why we have the best grass-roots customer base in the industry.”
The Schuhs figured out early on that their method of buying furniture in bulk from India, Vietnam, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan and Hong Kong—and pricing it to keep the margins incredibly low—would allow them to offer the best furniture for the best price. So far, the strategy has worked. A second retail location, at 1300 W. Oltorf, has been doing well for the past four years and the original location, according to Schuh, “is just a monster.”
One of the biggest sellers is their line of rustic furniture. “We found a Mexican supplier that makes all Brazilian Pine furniture and now we’ve become known for it. It is a very cool, very affordable alternative in furniture that people really seem to like.” Furniture Market does so well with the rustic furniture, they’ve begun selling it to a handful of wholesale clients. “We have it shipped to our warehouse and they pick it up. It works well for all of us.”
When asked his thoughts on running a small, local, family-owned business, Schuh answers, “We are in an especially good position because customers usually have to pay a little more to trade with small, local businesses. With us, you pay less.” He adds, “We feel good about putting people to work, too. We employ a staff of twenty-five people, most of which have been with us for ten years or more. Many have been able to buy their own homes while working for us, which we feel very good about.”
Outstanding furniture, unbeatable prices, wonderful employees and loyal customers—that’s what makes Furniture Market special.