Alaskan Dave Cavitt Dubbed “Western Retailer Of The Year”
Furniture World Magazine
Anchorage resident Dave Cavitt, president of Furniture Enterprises of Alaska, has been named 2005 Western Retailer of the Year by the Western Home Furnishings Association (WHFA), a 12-state nonprofit organization representing the interests of some 1,100 home furnishings retailers. The award will be presented May 17 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, during the 45th Annual WHFA Managerial Conference and Tradeshow.
The prestigious Western Retailer of the Year award is given each year to a home furnishings retailer who is exemplary in merchandising, advertising, store design and all business betterment of the home furnishings industry. Cavitt was nominated by a fellow retailer in the western states and was selected by a committee of his peers due to his dedication to his industry, his employees and his community. He has served in a litany of volunteer positions, including that of president of the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA).
According to Cavitt, there isn’t a day that goes by that he isn’t thankful for what he has. He is an essential community member: involved, committed and convinced that he can always do more. That isn’t just talk. The listing of his contributions is as thick as a phonebook. Deeply committed to his Alaskan community, he is involved in a variety of charities, including Walk for Hope, Sadler’s Ultra Challenge – the World’s longest and toughest wheelchair race, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, La-Z-Boy Non-Run, Arc of Anchorage and Sadler’s Christmas in July. Additionally, he donates mall space to a variety of charitable organizations. Cavitt’s Sadler’s Home Furnishings received the prestigious Business Philanthropy of the Year award in 2004.
According to WHFA President Marvin Kerby, Cavitt’s retailing philosophy reflects strong beliefs. “Dave sums up his philosophy succinctly,” Kerby said. “Never be completely satisfied that you did all you could to satisfy the customer. Provide as much education as possible before the sale in order to help the customer make the right decision. Continue to give the same excellent service after the sale.”
“Dave is unique in the business,” said Kerby. “While many home furnishings retailers may pull a 3 or 4 percent market share, Dave manages to bring in about a 50 percent share in many key categories. That tells you a lot about him as a retailer and as a member of the Alaskan community.” Cavitt admits his market share may be better than many, but praises the Alaskan people for his success. “We get a great deal of repeat business,” he said. “In fact, we get repeat generational business where our customers come to us over many years and have children who grow up to become our customers.”
It seems Cavitt was destined to be one of Alaska’s most successful retailers having settled in the state at the age of 17. After being laid off from a job when the season slowed, he went in search of employment and landed a jack-of-all-trades position with a new home furnishings store, Sadler’s Home Furnishings, becoming its second employee. Thirty years later, he’s still there, only as the owner. As a testament to his dedication, Cavitt has grown the organization to seven furniture stores in Alaska: three Sadler’s, Anchorage, Sterling and Fairbanks, Williams & Kay, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries, The Ultimate Mattress Store and Rooms Express in Anchorage. His employees stick with him. Cavitt says that he has several employees who have been with him for many years. In fact, four of his staff have more than 100 years combined service with the company.
Cavitt continues to credit Alaska and his staff for his success. In any event, all seem to have come out the better for his efforts.
Cavitt will receive his award during a formal Retailer of the Year Dinner & Gala celebration as part of WHFA’s 2005 conference and tradeshow at the Westin Regina Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, May 17.
About WHFA: The Western Home Furnishings Association is member-owned and the largest affiliate of the National Home Furnishings Association, providing programs, services, and networking opportunities to western home furnishings retailers since 1944.