Serving Home Furnishings Retailers since 1944
1943: In Los Angeles, CA, a meeting was held to form an organization for protection and clarification of OPA rules and regulations. The new Association pledged itself to maintain the best possible selling prices and service under war conditions, to generally improve the retail furniture industry, and express their wish to work hand in hand with the policies of Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles, as well as various governmental agencies. A large portion of the retail furniture trade for Southern California was in attendance.
1944: The first meeting of the membership of the Furniture Retailers Association was held in Los Angeles with 65 members in attendance.
1976: The Association’s name was changed to Western Home Furnishings Association. Sylvia Marks held the position of the first WHFA President.
1977: The Association affiliated with National Home Furnishings Association.
1986: The State Fund Workers’ Compensation Program was started for California Retailers.
1989: The Association’s first permanent Retail Resource Center was opened at the San Francisco Mart and 12 training seminars were offered at no-charge to the industry. The Bank of America Bank Card Processing Program was introduced.
1990: The business insurance program with Atlantic Mutual was introduced. The first monthly Western Reporter Magazine was mailed to the membership at no-charge.
1991: New member sign-ups for the first time totaled over 100 members in one year.
1992: Membership passed the 500 member mark.
1993: The first annual Advertising Planner Calendar was mailed at no-charge to the membership, and the Association’s finance program was introduced.
1994: The San Diego County Home Furnishings Association voted to merge with WHFA, and the Equifax Check Guarantee Program was introduced. The first Annual Computer Software Systems Comparison was made available to the membership.
1995: The first annual Western Retailer of the Year Award was initiated, and the first annual Western Manufacturer/Vendor Directory was developed for the membership.
1997: WHFA moved into its 100 percent member-owned corporate office building in Roseville, CA, a 5,600 sq. ft. building with 2,600 sq. ft. of warehouse space.
1998: For the first time total membership passed the 700 mark. WHFA began shipping warehouse supplies from its 100 percent member-owned warehouse. The American General Finance program was introduced.
1999: WHFA incorporated the NHFA Northwest members and territory. This merger added 175 new members and five new states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
2000: The WHFA Office Depot program was introduced, saving the members 30-40 percent off their office supplies. WHFA established a custom uniform program.
2001: WHFA introduced the Employer Resource Program, which provides all members with no-cost access to human resources lawyers and specialists to answer all their questions along with free telephone and discounted legal representation. Dave Lane retires as Executive Director with over 15 years of service to Western retailers. Sharron Bradley joined WHFA as new Executive Director.
2002: A milestone was reached with 89.8 percent of members utilizing at least one program. Warehouse product sales reached an all-time high mark of $275,000. WHFA introduced six new programs and significant changes were made to existing programs, lowering costs for retailers.
2003: WHFA membership exceeds 1,000 for the first time. A new Internship Program guide was introduced. Participation at the 2003 Conference broke records for both attendance and tradeshow. The new Furniture Industry Procedures & Guidelines Manual is published.
2004: WHFA Membership reaches 1,069 in June of 2004. Lighting and warehouse products program achieves a milestone of $3 million in sales since the program’s inception. Six new programs are introduced to help reduce members’ costs in Operations, Advertising and Human Resources. WHFA created a new full-day regional training educational program for retailers called the WHFA Academy. The Academy will travel to various regions at least twice a year giving retailers a cost- effective venue for high performance industry specific education.
2005: WHFA extends services to Hawaii and Wyoming. WHFA also opened the 6,000+ square foot Retailer Resource Center in the new Las Vegas World Market Center. The RRC provides retailers resources and education during Markets help them grow and thrive.
2006: WHFA membership reaches 1,176 members in 12 western states. A new career brochure, “Fashion a Career in the Home Furnishings Industry” was developed to assist industry retailers, designers and manufacturers in recruiting young people into the industry. The WHFA Retailer Resource Center at the new Las Vegas Market has become a huge success with more than 5,000 visitors to the RRC and over 1,000 participants in the 27 educational seminars held during each Market
2007: WHFA relocates the Retailer Resource Center to the 16th floor in Building B of the World Market Center. WHFA launches a redesigned website and adds new sections such as Sustainable Business Practices, Podcasting and an eNewsletter.?
2010: The 2010 WHFA Conference in Anaheim, CA, saw the highest attendance in the last four years. Western Retailer magazine was awarded the Gold Award in magazine publishing by MarCom awards.
2011: WHFA and NHFA host the first annual Home Furnishings Industry Conference in San Antonio. This event brought almost 400 retailers, vendors and manufacturers together to discuss key issues on moving the industry into the future. The Retailer Resource Center at the Las Vegas Market opened in a brand new, 10,000 square foot showroom that is easy to access on the fourth floor of Building C. A new and improved WHFA website is launched that is easy to use and offers a robust store providing retailers with products they use everyday in their stores.