By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – For 41 years, Richard Compton Jr. has sold furniture to countless stores across his beloved Alabama and a good portion of the panhandle of Florida.
It was a surprise to him – but not to his friends, family and colleagues – that he was named the Tupelo Furniture Market’s Manufacturing Rep Award winner for the fall market on Friday.
“There are so many great salesman in Tupelo and so many sell a lot more than me,” said Compton, 64. “All of us deserve an award to have succeeded in this economy.”
Make no mistake – Compton has earned his stripes, earning every award that’s come his way. During a 25-year career with Bassett Furniture – the company his father worked for for 50 years – Compton won several “most over quota” awards and many sales contests.
Representing Webb Furniture and American Mirror for five years, he snagged several more sales contests.
He now represents Select Design Upholstery in Ecru, as well as American Woodcrafters’ master bedroom and youth bedroom furniture.
Charlie Stubblefield, Select Design’s owner, said he’s proud to have Compton represent his company.
“It’s unbelievable what dealers tell us of how honest and friendly he is,” Stubblefield said.
Compton said the secret to his success is simple.
“This is a relationship business,” he said.
Having attended every Tupelo Furniture Market since it opened in 1987, Compton has developed a rapport with people throughout the industry.
And it’s a good reason why he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“The problem is most of my friends are out on the road selling, so if I want to spend any time with them, the only way to do that is to call on them while I’m on the road, too,” he said with a laugh.
Compton has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1977, and they have a daughter, Sara, who is a senior accountant with Thompson Tractor. They were at his side as he received his award.
“Linda’s been the best sales manager anybody could ever have and Sara is the best kid anybody could ever have,” he said.