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Retail Success Story: Gallery Furniture

Furniture World Magazine


You don’t have to look very far to find the boss at Gallery Furniture. He works seven days a week and his desk is right up front, just inside the door of his flagship store. Store hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale was born with one of those minds Mensa longs to discover. Talk with him, review his history, follow his activities for a day. The graceful leap from greeting a customer to an intense staff training session, dealing with a supplier or negotiating philanthropic outreach might remind you of the energy of the supercharged Capuchin monkeys leaping from tree to trapeze in their central Gallery showroom habitat. There’s a parrot and toucan-filled aviary positioned beside a fountain, too, to delight customers and their children if they’re not already charmed (and motivated) by Gallery’s surprise-packed spaces. Said Mack, “What other furniture store in this world do you know of where children cry when they have to leave?” And maybe the appeal of warm cookies, ice cream and lemonade should be factored in.

Mack is extraverted, quick-thinking, ingenuous. He not only envisions his own future but also that of those fortunate but dazzled folks who share his environment. An opportunity appears and he’s there, strategizing, temporizing, finding the best way forward. A problem? Someone once said, “A problem is only an opportunity waiting to happen!” You know, that “someone” was probably Mack!
A native of Mississippi, one of the sons of kind and tolerant middle-class parents, he attended high school in Dallas, was a student at both University of Texas and University of North Texas where he played football in 1969-70 and 1972-73, a member of the Longhorn’s national championship team. It seems he had a bit of an attitude in his younger years, bounced about from job to job, but he was always optimistic, always looking for the next challenge. And he found plenty of them! But one day his employer at a convenience store did him an enormous favor. He fired him. The undoubtedly disgruntled but not defeated Mack found a new job at a furniture store across town. And here he experienced a bit of a nirvana, realized his entrepreneurial spirit, found his “niche”, that he “was good at retailing and working with customers” and, with his employer’s advice and encouragement, determined to open his own home furnishings store in Houston, then “a boom town”.

His brother George worked in real estate and sought out a location for the new enterprise, an abandoned model home park, unheated and unairconditioned. For those who know the City, it was ideally positioned (as we shall see!) at 6006 I-45 North Freeway. Mack made his usual instant decision and confided in his girlfriend, Linda. She agreed to accompany him to Houston on one condition, that they celebrate their wedding first! Again, an instant decision, “Where else can I get an employee this cheap! So I said, ‘You got a deal!’”

They left for Houston in April 1981,“with $5000 and a dream”. The newlyweds were lucky in their timing. It was indeed “a boom town”. There was a great wave of migration from families all over the country thanks to a surge in Houston’s oil, auto and steel businesses. It was perfect for the couple’s planning since the hopeful blue-collar workers needed furniture to fill their homes. Mack and Linda judged their market correctly and primarily sold value-priced home furnishings. Mack consistently reinvested their profits in more furniture. “Our marketing strategy those first two years was very simple. In 1981, we did a million dollars of sales volume. In 1982, we did two million. But then, in January 1983, the boom in the retail industry in Houston turned into a giant bust and the bottom fell out of the market. Overnight our sales went from $50,000 a week down to about $5,000 a week. We were just about ready to go broke.

 “I knew if we were going to save the business, we had to start advertising on television.” Previously, Mack’s advertising thrust had consisted of nailing signs to telephone poles and distributing door-to-door flyers. He took his last $10,000 and “bet the entire company. I bought $5,000 worth of advertising time on two independent TV stations. However, before placing the ads I had to make three 30-second commercials that we could rotate on the airwaves. Late one night, February 1983, I went to a little TV station and sweated from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., three hours of production time, they charged me $500. Well, I got in front of those cameras and was totally intimidated. Just froze up and started stuttering and stammering and couldn’t come up with a punch line. It got to be 2 a.m. and I hadn’t even made one commercial! So, last chance, I voiced the first 25 seconds of the 30-second commercial very rapidly. As it happened, I had the day’s store receipts in my pocket. Out of sheer frustration, I pulled the money out of my pocket and yelled, ‘And Gallery Furniture will save you money!’ By 1991, 8 years later, our sales had grown to $100 million annually. We never borrowed any money, never had a bank loan, never had any investors. And one of the things I’m most proud of is that two years in a row my TV ads were voted by the marketing students at the University of Houston as the worst television ads in Houston!”

Now sales hover around the $150 million mark annually and Gallery Furniture’s two locations “sell the most furniture in the nation per square foot”.

Mack embraced Ben Franklin’s famous motto, but paraphrased it just a bit: “Late to bed and early to rise, work like hell and advertise!” Gallery Furniture’s “eureka moment” had arrived. “To me, those words really say it all. Hard work and dedication always pay off and constantly reminding your customers of your brand is crucial, no matter what the economy is like. It helped us to survive despite all my mistakes through that first eight or nine years.”

 The TV campaign really did work, and they experienced huge shifts in sales. Mack branched away from selling only value-priced furniture and included higher-end product lines. He attracted new customers to the store. And he remained consistent to the winning customer service strategy they’d evolved, the now famous, “If you buy it today, we’ll deliver it today!”

Same Day Delivery

Mack acknowledges that, “Any business has to have a unique selling feature. What is it that this company does that other companies can’t do, won’t do, or are unable to do that gives them an advantage over their competitors? Way back, when we first started in the furniture business, I noticed that in almost every store when you bought a piece of furniture the quickest you could get it was two weeks and, more than likely, six to eight weeks.”

He looked closely at a lot of successful companies, Federal Express, Walmart, United Parcel Systems, “people that were doing things better, faster and cheaper. So, from Day One, we decided our unique selling feature would be immediate delivery. Customers buy furniture at our store and we deliver it within three or four hours. Yes, that’s right, three or four hours!

“We had a customer buying furniture in a very unusual situation. Her house had burned down. She came in and bought $46,000 worth of furniture on a Saturday night. It was 7 p.m. when we finished typing the ticket. She lived about 60 miles away from our store and, by Saturday night at 11 we had delivered the furniture, set it up in her house and we were gone. That’s what we do. Emphatically, our unique selling feature at Gallery Furniture is immediate delivery.

“I think if we are going to be successful in business we all have to ask ourselves this question. Would the customer miss this company if it were to go out of business? I think, yes, they would miss us at Gallery Furniture because of our unique selling feature... immediate delivery.”

But there were tensions at Gallery Furniture, and a dramatic management transformation was about to come about, “a life-changing event”. Mack was “taught management at the University of Texas, a very conventional management structure. Somebody at the top, issuing all the orders, coming down throughout the organization. We had done fairly well that first four or five years. But as the business got bigger, we were lurching from one crisis to the next. We made some of the same mistakes over and over again. I knew there had to be a better way and I was actively searching for it.

“The first thing I did as far as quality was concerned was attend a conference with a guy named Philip Crosby in Orlando, Florida. He had written a book called ‘Quality is Free’. It talked about Zero Defects. I got all excited about it. That was my management flavor of the month. Only one problem, to me it meant that I had to do things right all the time. That’s certainly an impossibility, so I was very frustrated.

Sales Quotas And Salesperson Anxiety

“Back then we were a sales-driven company, we still are. The heart and soul of our business is our employees, most especially our salespeople. Our salespeople were commission-compensated because that was the way I thought we’d get the best productivity out of them. But that system created winners and losers.

“We had a weekly quota the salespeople had to meet, $7,000 a week in furniture sales and $400 a week in chemical add-on sales to get their 10 per cent commission of $700 to $1,000. However, if they didn’t make the quota they became a loser and they only made five per cent, or $300 a week.  And this created a lot of anxiety; their focus became making that quota, how much money can I make from this customer. They prejudged customers before they walked in the door by the type of car they drove; if it was a big Mercedes they’d get a lot of service. If they arrived in an old Ford Taurus, they wouldn’t get any.

“It created a lot of internal conflict amongst them, especially newcomers to the staff. I’ll never forget one new guy came in with his lunch in a paper bag; he left it back in the break room. The others went back and put a whole load of cayenne peppers throughout his lunch, trying to run him off!

“Also we discovered that judging performance using arbitrary goals fostered a giant amount of fudging of the figures. A bad system that caused fear in the workplace. We ranked all our salespeople at the end of every month from one to 100. I thought then that was the way to do it. The top ten were superstars, the other 90 were losers. We almost went to the level of firing the bottom 10 every month to get rid of them.

“My idea of business was that the way to solve any problems was to ride into town like John Wayne and solve all the problems by yourself.

Deming: A Better Way

“My search for solid answers continued and, in August, 1990, I walked into that landmark seminar. Dr. Deming (W. Edwards Deming, renowned American statistician, lecturer, author) taught me a better way, that if we are going to raise the barn, we need to raise the barn together.

“It was only at my first Deming seminar (that life-changing event!) that I got a blinding flash of the obvious. I learned that in any distribution of people, half will be below average.

How Mack’s business model changed following his introduction to Deming is described in the following edited extract from a speech he delivered to the British Deming Association’s Annual Conference.

“To say the least we were on a roller coaster of highs and lows. A great month then a very poor one. After each poor month we would start another flavor of the month program, another round of firings, another new sales contest, more incentives. Dr. Deming calls this “tampering” and, believe me, I did lots of it.

“This was a four day seminar but I stayed for only three days that time because his concepts of cooperation and win-win were so radical and off-center to me. I had grown up in a world of competition, I win, you lose, beat the other guy. A world of incentives, of building superstar mentality. But I knew in my heart that Dr. Deming was right and that he was certainly on to something.

“I went to two more Deming seminars in the fall of 1990 and then one in January 1991. At the urging of Dr. Deming and of Dr. Edward Baker who at that time worked for the Ford Motor Company, we decided in March of 1991 to do away with our commission scheme and pay all the salespeople salary based upon their years of service. Dr. Deming taught me to see the Organization as a system. We got furniture products from our suppliers, we added value to them, we distributed them to our customers, we got feedback from the customers on what they liked and didn’t like and started all over again.

A Company of Winners: “We started to see the business as a system, asking ourselves internally, person to person, ‘What can I do for you to make your job easier. And what can you do for me?’ We wanted all the employees to come up to the level of being improvement project players.

“When we made the change from commission to salary, a lot of the hotshot salespeople who were making lots of money left, they didn’t want to be a part of this new thing. Many of my friends in the furniture business told me I was crazy, that it would be the ruination of Gallery Furniture.

“However, I believed in what Dr. Deming said. We decided we would give it a go and see if we could make it work and that if we were going to build the business we had to identify customers’ needs and concerns. Before the Deming transformation, we had a team of three or four professional furniture buyers who would go to all the furniture markets. In between, they sat at their desks and read computer flows, trying to figure out how much furniture to order each week. They felt it was beneath them to go on the sales-floor and talk to customers or salespersons. After the Deming transformation, we took those people (some of them left us) and did put them on the sales-floor and this made a tremendous difference. We started to identify customers’ concerns and needs and people began to perform in harmony like members of a symphony orchestra.

“Dr. Deming taught me to recreate the business to have 100 winners, not 10 out of 100. Now all 100 felt like outstanding people, they felt like winners.

“He taught me about quality, the quality of our product, our service to our customers. That’s what we’re selling, the service and the furniture. And that’s the direct result of:

  • how well the different parts of the Organization work together

  • how well the salespeople work with the people in data-processing, typing the customers’ tickets

  • how well the people answered the phone and told the customer when their delivery would be made

  • how professional the delivery people were when they got to the customer’s home
Changes In Delivery: “Before, we had contract delivery people. When they got to a lady’s home – she was an elderly lady and wanted them to move her sofa out from the living room to the garage, they’d charge her an extra $20 to do that – but now all the delivery people were paid salary rather than incentive pay, they would move the sofa just to help the lady out. Which was the right thing to do in the first place.

Different Salesperson Profile: “The quality of the company, Gallery Furniture, is certainly dependent on how well the different people work together. We started to work on getting a different profile of salespersons. We wanted people who would cooperate and could work together. In the old days we were looking for racehorse-type used-car salespeople, the best commission profile. After Deming and now, we look for turtles with a fast twitch!

Manage The White Spaces: “Dr. Deming taught us how to work with the system and manage the white spaces, increase the number of positive interactions between people and groups, and create more cooperation. We were looking for people who liked retailing because of the joy of working with customers, who didn’t focus all day on how much money they were going to make. He talked with us about increasing the number of positive interactions between people and dependence.

“And he taught us the aim of the system, the system being a network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the aim of the system. The aim of our system was real simple: to please customers, sell furniture, produce income. That’s the only reason we were there.

System Management: “And he talked about system management. A system, the Gallery Furniture System, must be managed. It will not manage itself. Left to themselves, components become selfish, competitive. The secret is cooperation between components toward the aim of Gallery Furniture.
“We spent lots of time (and we still do) talking about the vision and the aim of the company. We re-molded the entire Organization, and we asked ourselves every single day, all day long, ‘Would the customer pay me for what I’m currently doing? If not, why am I doing it?’

Eliminate Accounts Payable: “Most businesses of $100 million annually or thereabouts would have four or five people in an accounts payable department. We don’t have an accounts-payable department. When we get a shipment of furniture or whatever we’re buying from our supplier we pay cash on delivery for all of it. The reason, that way one person does the entire amount of payables and all the other people in the Organization can work with the customers. We don’t have to match up the invoices three weeks later. We get all the employees having daily contact with the customer and we spend our time on revenue-generating activities and all that starts and ends with the customer. What else is there?

“I have disciplined myself and the Organization to focus on the critical few issues, not the trivial many. And the critical few issues are: pleasing customers, selling furniture, producing income, getting the whole group to work together as a system to delight customers.

Break Up Department Barriers: “Before Deming, we managed the business with chimneys of excellence. Every department had a quota and a budget and they were expected to stand up by themselves. We had the sales department, the pickup department, the data-processing, the receiving, the delivery department, the back office. And every one of them had their own little chimney of excellence. They would never talk to the other departments, they were almost in competition with each other. Dr. Deming taught me this was the wrong way for the company to function. No optimization of the whole, no way to best serve the customer. He said we should ‘Improve constantly and forever the systems of production and service, plus quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs. Break down barriers between departments.

Institute Leadership: “We decided that we would have to ‘institute leadership’. The aim, to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job, and leadership in management was in need of overhaul as was leadership of production workers. The problem with the entire business started with me, it started at the top. I’ve learned over the years that people look to the leader. How I say ‘Hello’ to somebody when I walk in has a profound effect on these people. That’s why my office is at the front desk. I work Saturdays and Sundays and nights and holidays because if I ask the rest of the employees to do it, if I’m going to be a leader then I need to lead from the front, not from the rear.
“Dr. Deming said optimization is ‘the process of orchestrating the efforts of all components toward the achievement of the stated aim’. We have everyone going in one direction because the train moves a lot faster if you’re all pulling in the same direction.

The Bottom Line: “Now, all this Deming stuff is fine in theory. But what about the bottom line? Does Gallery Furniture indeed walk the walk and talk the talk?

“When the switch was made from commission to salary in 1991, all full-time employees were allowed to share in the progress of the company. Mack held quarterly profit-sharing, gain-sharing meetings where the goals of the company were reviewed, how they were doing, how they were treating customers. Five per cent of all profits every quarter were divided equally among all employees regardless of job title; a senior salesperson and a warehouse person would receive the same amount. There was also a gain-sharing program; 20 per cent of company profit gains went to the employees in the form of long-term retirement benefits.

“So, the bottom line? In the six years between 1993 and 1999, we put $6.6 million into those two accounts for the employees, over and above the better-than-average salary the people at Gallery Furniture made.

“And if you subscribe to the theory that success is measured by results, here are results. In 1991, when we started the Deming process, we were going about $30 million in sales. In 1998, our sales were right at $100 million. In 1999, about $110 million. If success is measured by results, we were indeed successful using Dr. Deming’s quality improvement methods.”

Mack spread the word to others in the industry, including industry icon Simon Kaplan, founder and president of Crest Furniture. Simon first encountered Edwards Deming’s concepts in the 1990s in a conversation with Mack. “It was in August that he told me about Deming,” said Kaplan, “and that he was offering a series of seminars. A couple of months later I attended one of them in California. Deming talked about the points for management and that it’s not a cookie-cutter. It’s how you perceive the rules, how they can apply to your own business, how to utilize them. It was a defining moment! He didn’t tell me what to do, what to think about or how it ends up. To this day, every time I make a decision I reflect, ‘which point is applicable?’ He said there was one goal in life and that is continuous improvement. It was an initial turning point for me.”

Sports-minded Linda and Mack also used the Deming systems when they bought, developed and redesigned the unique and now very popular Westside Tennis and Fitness Club which at that time was in danger of closing. Again they defined the unique selling feature, what would the customers miss if the club were to go out of business. ”Again, we paid all our pros salary not commission.” After following the program as they had with Gallery Furniture, Westside became “the most profitable tennis club in the United States, because of the Deming method”.

You will find plenty to amaze and excite you if you choose to track the McIngvales’ connections with sports, sport celebrities, their interactions and adventures over the years. And read about Mack’s thoroughbred racehorses and his ambition to see them win the Kentucky Derby. Also, that Ferrari collection!

And there was that noticeable brush with the entertainment industry. “I’d always wanted to get into the movie business, and one day Marvin Zimner, a local TV personality, told me he was doing a movie in Houston called ‘Sidekicks’, also starring Bo Bridges, Joe Capiscopo and several other people. Linda and I agreed to be executive producers. That meant we would be the suckers who would put up $10 million for this film.” There were many complications, Linda and Chuck Norris and his entourage did a 30-city tour to ensure distribution and Mack commented,”I’m proud to say that at the end of the day we ended up making money on that movie. Somebody asked me what I learned about the movie business. I learned I should stay in the damn furniture business!”

But back to Gallery Furniture. “We always wanted to have multiple locations. Dr. Deming said, ‘Go to where the customers aren’t. Think ahead of the customer.’ Our idea was to have 10 million locations rather than one with basically the same amount of dollars invested. It’s called Gallery Furniture.com. In GalleryFurniture.com it’s our vision is to get people into the store without actually being there. Our system is set up so that our salespeople welcome the idea of making more sales on the Internet, although if they were on commission they would have fought it tooth and nail.”

Mack believes in the spirit and energy of youth in his sales force, “to come up with new ideas, to embrace change. They’re always challenging the status quo. I think Dr. Deming would approve.
“I know that I need to become a better teacher of Dr. Deming’s philosophy of the big picture. And we must not take our success for granted, nor our customers. Each customer needs to be treated specially, just like every employee needs to be treated specially.”

While living a full life with Deming, Mack and Linda are very much involved with life outside or on the periphery of Gallery and not only their intense interest in sports, the sports world and their own Westside Tennis and Fitness Club which brought them in touch with many celebrities. There was the time when Mack “knocked out” his friend Mohammed Ali in the ring. Look it up!

In 2002, an inspired Mack authored his autobiography, “Always Think Big” with Thomas Duening and John Ivancevich, Dearborn Trade Publishing. In the Introduction Mack talks about his early failures, “the real deal”, how he’d picked himself up, dusted himself off and tried again until he found his niche. He had developed Seven Principles that he “uses every single day” of his life, his “compass points”, explicitly revealed on the book’s contents page.

  1. Establish a Value-Based Culture 

  2. FAST – Focus, Action, Search and Tenacity

  3. Action Before Energy

  4. Sell With Price

  5. Build Relationships

  6. Always Think Big

  7. Managing and Marketing Philanthropy

Reviews call the book and Mack’s teaching as “Specific, practical and powerful”. And “Always Think Big” is still selling well.

All this was preliminary to a monumental shockwave. Early in 2009, Mack decided the time was right to create a second location in Houston’s Galleria area and this proved to be a “blessing”. During the night of May 21 the McIngvales watched while a devastating, arson-initiated fire, “flames 150 feet into the air”, consumed their warehouse and severely impacted their adjacent flagship store.

Typically, Mack recalled that prophetic question at a turning point in the growth of Gallery Furniture: “If we went away tomorrow, would we be missed?” Right after the fire, the family received “more than 3,000 letters and many emails telling us to ‘Please rebuild, this is our store.’”

By midnight they had decided to accelerate the opening of the new Galleria store for business and, by late afternoon of that day, one of their suppliers, the Ashley corporation, ”were gracious enough to lease us some of their warehouse space. We had 15 to 20 trucks of merchandise on the way and needed a place to put it. We are people of faith, and we believed the good Lord would take care of us”.

With Mack firmly at the helm, Gallery Furniture began a whole new chapter in its eventful life. The day after the fire, he filmed a television commercial and told his Houston audience that it was “business as usual” at the new Post Oak location. And within a week, he announced the reopening of the main store on July 4.

When asked if there had ever been a “really special time” since the founding of Gallery Furniture, Mack told us that it was, “Right now, this minute, it will always be this moment”. Then he said, “But it was the most exciting time in Gallery Furniture’s history when we transformed our store completely. Almost immediately after the 2009 devastating fire, we began working on the all new Gallery Furniture, the Greatest Furniture Store in the World! Working with designers, furniture experts and customers alike, we created a confusion-free shopping experience that is unlike any other. So rather than letting adversity get us down, we used it as an opportunity to enhance the customer experience, to create something great literally from the ashes of disaster”.

The McIngvales dedication to their growing family (children James Jr., Laura and Elizabeth, and grandchildren Sydney and James), their business enterprises and sport, is more than matched by their commitment to philanthropy. Just two years after Linda and Mack opened Gallery Furniture’s doors they began their annual Christmas give-away of 30 households of furniture. They helped start and continuously fund the KickStart Kids Program in Houston. They have furnished and continue to furnish USO facilities round the world. They host events and donate generously to the Salvation Army. Hundreds of teachers’ lounges in Houston area schools have been gifted with their furniture. When Presidents Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton were seeking funds to aid those affected by the tsunami in Southeastern Asia and hurricanes Katrina and Rita, they helped to raise $12 million. They underwrote the YMCA playground at Reliant Stadium for Katrina evacuees and housed several hundred evacuees during the hurricane crisis. They co-founded with their talented daughter, Elizabeth, the non-profit Peace of Mind Foundation for those affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Gallery Furniture is one of the largest contributors to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and they underwrote the National OCF Conference held in Houston. They provided a $4 million donation for the Menninger Clinic’s move to Houston to provide mental health care, and were recipients of the Mental Health Association’s Award in 2006. Gallery furnished the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A & M University.

And there’s more, really there is! Gallery is a large contributor to Baylor College of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School, and sole sponsors of the magnificent Pilgrimage of Faith, sending 500 kids and their chaperons from the Galveston/Houston school system to Rome. Every year they buy 10,000 toys to distribute to needy children during the holidays. And every Thanksgiving they provide dinner for 25,000 people. They underwrote the Wolf Exhibit at the Houston Zoo and, in line with their sports interests for children, built and paid for the tennis facility at Yates High School. Along with that they’ve donated tennis racquets to inner city kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to take tennis lessons.

Gallery Furniture has the distinction amongst many other distinctions of being ”the furniture retail store with only two locations that sells the most furniture in the nation per square foot”. Said Mack, “It’s all about the process, good management, leading, mentoring, growing and improving continuously.”

Hanging on Gallery Furniture’s walls and appearing on their website blog you’ll find some profound statements. Amongst them, “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” A Mahatma Gandhi quote. And from Isaiah 40:31, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not grow faint.”

Some of Gallery’s suppliers, Tempur-Pedic, Vi-Spring, Sealy, Mayo, United Leather, American Leather, Lane, Broyhill, HGTV Home Furniture Collection and many more.

We asked him, “What one issue, cause or policy stands out among all others that have ensured the success of your business, benefited your customers and your community?” Mack answered: “Same day delivery! It was something that we did when no one else could and it helped the business grow to what it is today. Most customers really want three main things... good prices, to be treated well and to get their product as soon as possible. We knew we had the best customer service and, of course, Gallery really will ‘Save you Money!’, but other stores could also make those claims. Same day with no exceptions delivery however was something that no one else could offer so, by making it happen and consistently putting that message out in advertising, we were able to grow the business, make profits and therefore give back to the Houston community”.

At the next Las Vegas Market, Mack hopes to find great “Made-in-America furniture, and more sources for contemporary furniture”.

At the conclusion of that monumental speech to the British Deming Association Forum so many years ago, Mack talked of the great man’s perseverance and determination to complete a four-day seminar at age 93 and ill. Said Dr. Deming, “I’m doing this because I have a responsibility to make a difference.”

Mack added, “We all do.”

Janet Holt-Johnstone is retail editor at Furniture World Magazine.