Bob's Discount Furniture
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (February 2014)|
|Founder||Bob Kaufman and Gene Rosenberg|
|Headquarters||Manchester, Connecticut, U.S.|
Number of locations
|57 stores (2015)|
|Eastern United States|
|Robert (Bob) Kaufman (president emeritus)
Edmond J. (Ted) English (CEO)
Mike Skirvin (President and COO)
|Products||Furniture, Bedding, Mattresses|
|Revenue||US$ 329.3 million (2006)|
Number of employees
Bob's Discount Furniture is a privately owned regional chain of furniture stores along the Eastern United States, primarily in the Northeastern United States. Bob's Discount Furniture started in Connecticut and its corporate headquarters are in Manchester, CT. The company has stores located in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Bob's Discount Furniture is continuing to expand in 2015. Three stores in greater Philadelphia – Deptford, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, and Langhorne, PA opened on February 12, 2015. This brings Bob's total to 57 stores and counting.
One February 11, 2015, Bob’s Discount Furniture announced plans to continue expanding retail operations. The company plans to open two new Pittsburgh, PA, locations in the second quarter of 2015.
The company was founded in 1991 with its first store in Newington, Connecticut. Bob's Discount Furniture is based in Manchester, Connecticut and is ranked 14th among U.S. furniture stores. In addition to being known for its distinctive advertisements, the company is also known for offering amenities at many of its stores, which may include an in-store cafe with complimentary refreshments. Many of the stores have a back room where people can get items that are considered imperfect; this area is playfully called The Pit.
In 1976, future company co-founder Bob Kaufman was injured in a motorcycle accident; Bob discovered the benefits of a waterbed for recuperation. The experience inspired Kaufman to become involved with waterbed sales, and during the 1980s, he had rented space in 24 New England stores for selling waterbeds. By 1990, waterbed sales had dwindled and Kaufman partnered with Gene Rosenberg (owner of Wholesale Furniture, where Kaufman had rented space for waterbed sales); at this point, Rosenberg acquired a building in Newington, Connecticut previously owned by a furniture company that had become bankrupt. In 1991, the Newington, Connecticut location became the first Bob's Discount Furniture store. The company was initially co-owned by Rosenberg (two-thirds) and Kaufman (one-third). As time progressed, the company expanded to additional locations, often acquiring buildings that had been vacated by tenants bankrupt during the recession. By 1997, the company operated a dozen stores in Connecticut and two in western Massachusetts. The company's ability to grow during its early years in spite of unfavorable economic conditions has been partially attributed to the extensive use of commercials. In early 2005, the investment firm Saunders Karp & Megrue acquired 70 percent ownership of Bob's Discount Furniture; subsequently, Saunders Karp & Megrue was acquired by Apax Partners Worldwide in March 2005. In November 2006, Edmond (Ted) English, former president and CEO of TJX Companies, became the CEO of Bob's Discount Furniture, replacing Stan Adelstein, who became chairman. Adelstein retired in April 2013, with English taking over as chairman. By this point, Bob's Discount Furniture had recently expanded into Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. Ted has led Bob's into its expansion further south into Maryland and Virginia. In Q1 of 2014, Bob's Discount Furniture was acquired by Bain Capital, with the current management team continuing to own a significant stake in the company 
Bob's Discount Furniture is widely recognized for its idiosyncratic advertising. Bob Kaufman has been characterized as "something of a celebrity in the Northeast, thanks to his quirky television commercials". As of 1997, the company broadcast roughly 500 commercials a week in Connecticut on network and cable television stations. More recently, the commercials have become common during broadcasts of Boston Red Sox & New York Mets games. The commercials usually feature company president Bob Kaufman, typically wearing jeans and a golf shirt or turtleneck, and have also included Bob's Discount Furniture employees. Cathy Poulin, the company's Director of Public Relations, is the female face of the company. Cathy has been publicly criticized, however, for her contrasting style of dress. Cathy appears in commercials and at events both with and without Bob. "Spanish Bob" William Newton appears in Bob's Discount Furniture commercials on Spanish stations, such as Telemundo. "Clay Bob" makes frequent appearances in the company's commercials, often providing seasonal advertisements. The commercials have been characterized as "amateurish", "unconventional", and "wacky", and viewer reaction to the commercials is mixed, with some disliking the advertisements. The advertisements often feature catchphrases, including "Gotcha!", "Untouchable!", "Lickety-split delivery!", "It's a no-brainer!", and most famous (in Bob's early years), "Come on down!".
Bob's Discount Furniture has received attention for its community involvement. The company has been recognized by the American Red Cross for its blood drives and financial contributions to the organization. It has also been involved in food drives and charity walks, and conducts a "Celebrate the Arts Contest" to provide grants to regional schools. Bob's commercial sidekick, Cathy Poulin, Director of Outreach and Public Relations, drives a "Random Acts of Kindness" van to places in need in the communities served by the stores.
In December 2008, Bob's Discount Furniture donated a household full of furniture to the family in Voluntown, Connecticut receiving an ABC Extreme Home Makeover. In March 2011, the intensive care unit waiting rooms at the Rhode Island Hospital received $25,000 worth of furniture donated by the company. In April 2012, it donated $45,000 in gift cards to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to aid in fundraising efforts.
In response to the devastation to New York and New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Bob's Discount Furniture and its employees have provided relief assistance in the following ways:
- provided trucks to transport food, clothing and other relief supplies collected in New Milford, CT by employee Peter Sorrentino’s sister Tracey. Mr. Sorrentino, Bob’s Director of Delivery Operations, coordinated volunteer drivers and Bob’s 26-foot box trucks to bring the donations to New York City
- donated 464 pillows to the evacuated nursing home patients who were temporarily sheltered at New York City’s Brooklyn Technical High School
- donated 1400 turkeys for Thanksgiving, with employees from all 43 stores donating an additional 1,200 turkeys or more. The turkey donations were split between Island Harvest (Long Island’s largest hunger-relief organization), and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (serves 20 of NJ’s 21 counties)
Café Collections for a Cause
At each Bob’s Discount Furniture Café, a statue of Bob collects thousands of dollars from its customers for a different non-profit charity each quarter. In 2014, Bob’s collected and presented 100% of these donations to four charities: - Special Olympics – January 2014 to March 2014 - $30,000  - Autism Speaks – April 2014 to June 2014 - $50,000  - Pajama Program – July 2014 to September 2014  - Save the Children – October 2014 to December 2014 - $45,000  Starting with the 2014 Café Collections for Autism Speaks, Bob’s began matching all customer donations dollar-for-dollar, presenting all of these proceeds to the respective charities along with customer donations. All first quarter donations in 2015 will be given to the Special Olympics.
High School Heroes & Blood Drives
Since 1996, Bob Kaufman has been supporting the American Red Cross in New England by hosting blood drives in store locations. Over the years, Bob’s has also sponsored blood drives in partnership with sports teams like the New England Patriots  and the New York Giants. This commitment has led to the creation of the Bob’s Discount Furniture High School Heroes program, which awards a total of $250,000 in college scholarships to students who organize, promote, and host at least two high school blood drives in a year. The program, which gives high schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey the ability to compete with other schools, awards scholarships from $250 up to $1,000 to individual students, based on a school’s participation rate and total units of blood collected. In total, Bob’s Discount Furniture’s support of New England blood drives has resulted in almost 40,000 units of blood.
Bob’s Golf Outing
In 1991, Bob’s Discount Furniture became an event partner of an annual charity Golf Outing with Planned Furniture Promotions. Money raised from event goes directly to a number of non-profit charities, including Cardinal Cushing Centers, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Family & Children’s Aid, Prudence Crandall Center, the Jimmy Fund and Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. The 27th annual outing raised more than $440,000 in July 2014. Bob’s Discount Furniture gives $2 million a year to various charitable causes.
Celebrate the Arts
Bob’s Discount Furniture launched its Celebrate the Arts contest in 2006 after seeing numerous school districts deal with budget cuts that affected cultural arts programs. Bob’s Outreach program created the annual contest to help schools deal with these issues, awarding more than $300,000 since the inception of the contest. In 2014, Bob’s Discount Furniture awarded a $25,000 check to Gov. John Fairfield School of Saco, Maine, chosen randomly from a pool of nearly 4000 entries.
Stores States and cities with stores: Connecticut
- Taftville (Distribution Center – Pickup only)
- South Attleboro
- West Springfield
- Cherry Hill
- Monmouth Junction
- North Plainfield
- Carle Place
- New York
- King of Prussia
- NE Philadelphia
- Falls Church
- Ryan, Bill. Now About Bob and Those TV Spots... The New York Times. Section 14CN, Page 1. November 30, 1997.
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- Collins, Megan. Furniture store's grant will help Pleasant Valley Elementary's arts program. Journal Inquirer. September 9, 2006. Last accessed September 15, 2007.
- Bob's Discount Furniture