By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Boscov’s Department Store, which bills itself as the largest privately owned independent department store chain in the country, won the Tupelo Furniture Market’s National Buyer Appreciation Award on Friday.
The 100-year-old retailer operates 39 stores with annual revenue of about $1 billion.
“We hope for $30 million in sales in furniture this year, so it’s a big part of our business,” said Ditlef Wergeland, the company’s senior furniture buyer.
The company has been attending the biannual furniture markets in Tupelo for the past decade, having bought countless truckloads and containers of furniture from market exhibitors.
“I really like the deals here,” Wergeland said.
However, Boscov’s didn’t always come to the market first when its buyers came looking for inventory.
“It was more of a factory visit first,” Wergeland said. “We’d come two weeks before the market to ‘seal the deal,’ but then we stepped back and said ‘OK let’s go to the show.”
Those early visits turned into regular visits, and Boscov’s has been coming faithfully to Tupelo ever since. While High Point and Las Vegas also are scheduled stops, Wergeland said the more relaxed pace in Tupelo is welcome relief, allowing the company to do business without feeling too rushed.
Amanda Bowen, the recliner buyer for Boscov’s, said Tupelo fits well in the store’s merchandising strategy.
“Our store is definitely for the average American,” she said. “We get to see recliners for every room in the house, whether it’s the family room or the den. ”
Boscov’s was founded by Solomon Boscov in 1911 in Reading, Penn. The company has 39 stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. It’s 40th store is opening later this year in Monmouth, N.J.