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Furnishings 411 owner has model for success

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Cast aside your preconceived notions of home improvement businesses. Linda Greene’s turning it up a notch. Her view of home improvement involves new furnishings, accessories and artwork.

Her modest 26,000-square-foot showroom on West Green Drive in High Point isn’t your mom’s furniture store.

“If you look around, I mean, we are a warehouse,” she told me recently. “It’s hot. It gets cold. We sweat. We freeze. But people are now so savvy and so cost-conscious, they’ll sweat a little to save a hundred bucks.”

Greene’s journey began 10 years ago after she worked for a catering company that served one of the High Point Furniture Market buildings.

“And (I) made friends with all of the manufacturers in the building. And they were like, ‘Gosh we wished you worked for us. We wish you did this. You want to come sell?’ And I was like, ‘No,’ because that involved travel. I’ve been a single mom forever. And I couldn’t travel that much,” she said.

But Greene quickly realized since the High Point Market was closed to the public, there was an opportunity to link the public to the furniture displayed and sold at market. Hence her company, Furnishings 411 was born.

“And it was ‘Finding Furniture for You.’ It was sort of my line. ‘Finding Furniture for You’ because if you need it, I’m in High Point. I can find it.”

Everything on the warehouse floor is new. There are market samples, overstock or manufacturers’ discontinued or closeout items with prices pretty close to wholesale.

“Now with technology, it’s such a benefit to me because I’ll say, pull up this piece of furniture online and if you can find it cheaper anywhere I will match it. And it’s never happened,” she said.

Speaking of technology, Linda’s daughter Nicole and Nicole’s friend Chelsea run Furnishings 411’s internet presence.

“I’ve tried print. I’ve tried billboards. All that stuff,” she said. “But social media is what drives 'em.”

And Facebook— with its photo sharing capabilities— has been the most effective with more than 11,000 followers and growing. But despite the technological advantages, Greene hasn’t forgotten tradition.

“I would never purchase a sofa on Amazon,” she told me. “I’ll believe until the day I die, people want to sit on a sofa.”

Greene says with everyone selling furniture these days -- including Sam’s Club and Big Lots -- you have to decide where you fit into that category.

“And for me, it’s about quality, value and customer service.”

For more information on Furnishings 411, click here.