Bob's Discount Furniture
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (February 2014)|
|Founder(s)||Bob Kaufman and Gene Rosenberg|
|Headquarters||Manchester, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Number of locations||43 stores (2011)|
|Area served||Eastern United States|
|Key people||Robert (Bob) Kaufman (president)
Stan Adelstein (chairman)
Edmond J. (Ted) English (CEO)
Mike Skirvin (COO)
Catherine (Cathy) Poulin (Director, Public Relations)
|Products||Furniture, Bedding, Mattresses|
|Revenue||US$ 329.3 million (2006)|
|Owner(s)||Apax Partners Worldwide (Saunders Karp & Megrue): 70%|
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 still in Manchester, CT. The company has stores located in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Bob's Discount Furniture has continued to expand in 2013. Two stores, Fairfax, VA and Waldorf, MD, opened on February 14, 2013. May 23, 2013 is the Grand Opening of two more NY stores: one on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and another on Bartow Avenue in the Bronx. This brings Bob's total to 49 stores and counting. 
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 30th among U.S. furniture stores, with estimated 2006 sales of $329.3 million. 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 in-store home theaters, video arcades, and 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. 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.
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 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, drives a "Random Acts of Kindness" van to places in need in the communities served by the stores, as submitted by customers via email. As of 2005, the company's charitable contributions totaled about $1 million a year.
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. The 25th Bob's Discount Furniture Charity Golf Outing was held on July 17, 2012; Bob's Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation and Planned Furniture Promotions, Inc raised over $447,000 at the event.
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, Conn 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)
Bob's Discount Furniture offers a warranty plan for all furniture products, marketed as Goof Proof Protection. This warranty is fulfilled by a third-party, Guardian Protection Products. Guardian Protection Products is the most poorly rated insurance provider according to the Better Business Bureau. Guardian has received 19 complaints as of September 2012, compared to nine other companies of similar size and service, eight of which less than five complaints.
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- Bob's Discount Furniture
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