About 20 years ago, Brent Loogman was growing tired of his career in helicopter logging and decided that it was not something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He decided to go to college and ended up at Chico State to study business. Once he was in town, he headed to a local furniture store to buy a new mattress. “I went in to buy a mattress and in the process, the store owner offered me a job,” Brent said. “I was a typical college student who was new in town and needed a bed and a job, so I took the job. The owner helped me get started in the industry. I didn’t end up going through college to earn a degree, but I found a new direction in my life. This is where I met my wife Rochelle and great business partner,” said Brent.
After working in the store for a year and a half, Brent moved to Medford, OR to start his first business venture: Beds For Less. With a $20,000 loan from his parents, he opened up a 1,400 square foot store in 1990. “The business just moved forward from there, and we were really successful. You work seven days a week and any kind of profit you make, you put back into the business.”
By working hard and putting all of his profit back into his business, Brent was able to eventually move to a larger showroom and open up another location. Today the Beds for Less empire includes two Beds for Less locations and two Ashley Furniture HomeStores. “Over the years, I think I have evolved just as much as the business. I have matured a lot, learned more about the industry and have become more familiar with the retail environment and how it is constantly changing,” said Brent. “The product has to constantly change or your store grows stale. That is what is fun about this job — you are constantly changing. If you do the same thing over and over, it can become a little boring but if you get to mix it up, then it becomes fun.”
Fun is an important word to Brent and his business. When it comes to motivating his salespeople, Brent and the store’s managers often like to hold games and contests to help them boost their sales. “Selling can become repetitious, so if you make it a game and do fun things like contests, it is not as boring. Just anything that helps you focus on what you would like to do better in your business,” he said. “Sometimes we play games that are as simple as giving away ice cream coupons — the prize doesn’t have to be much as long as they are having fun.” Brent believes that the first motivator in sales is the fun factor and the second is money.
While fun is an important part in motivating the Beds For Less staff, Brent believes that continuous training for his 97 employees is key to keeping the business a success. One source of their training comes from attending market seminars. “When I attend market, I take between two to eight managers with me,” he said. “We attend market and the seminars, come back and then orchestrate a company-wide meeting and each department will work on the areas and ideas that they learned about while at market.”
With all of the training and motivational games and contests that they play, the Beds For Less employees have a clean and inviting store atmosphere for customers. “Anybody can sell furniture, and anybody can put furniture in a store,” he said. “You need to have the right product mix so that when the customer comes into the store, you hear them say, ‘Wow,’ and they are excited about being there. I think one thing that our store does well is that we have a very clean operation. Our stores are neat, tidy and priced well. Our sales and service staff are well educated and looking sharp.”
Even with the store’s success and strength in all areas of business, Brent believes there is always room for growth and motivates his team to aggressively “play the game” and improve store efficiencies.
“One thing that separates our stores from the competition is that we are always playing the game,” Brent said. “We are not in the first quarter thinking we have all four quarters of the game to carry out our goals. The first quarter is as important as the fourth quarter. We are aggressive and playing the game.”
One area of business where they have successfully played the game is with their store promotions. Beds For Less is almost always holding a store promotion to get the community excited about visiting their store. “We won’t always have a big sale but we often try and throw themes and games into our promotions to create excitement. One idea that we have done in the past is that if you buy over a certain amount of furniture from our store during the weekend, you will be entered into a drawing to win all of that furniture for free,” said Brent.
Since the community has been a large part of the store’s success, Brent believes it is important to give back to it. Last year alone, Beds For Less gave away $87,000 in donations. Recently they helped a young girl who has a kidney disease and her family was going broke due to medical bills — they didn’t even have furniture in their house. “A donor came into our store and said that he wanted to buy furniture for the family, so we turned around and matched what the donor was giving. We were able to deliver truckloads of furniture to the young girl’s school graduation,” Brent said. “It was pretty cool. We are very fortunate, so when you see things like that you want to help.”
With all of Brent’s success in business, he still believes his family is his largest success. “My greatest success is my wife Rochelle and my two children Brooke and Skyler. The entire Beds for Less, Inc. staff is a part of our extended family and we appreciate it every day,” he said.
In the future, Brent would like to continue his good fortune and, “Run a tighter ship, play the game stronger and look for more opportunities for growth.”
With his future goals in mind, Brent always remembers this advice that he once received, “to be successful, you don’t ever rest. You have to be aggressive and find something you are passionate about and do well with. Pursue it with all of your heart because if you don’t, you are only going to get half of the results.” It is clear that Brent’s passion for the furniture industry and local community has led to his tremendous success and he and Beds For Less will continue to be successful for years to come.