Business Focus: Ward Furniture & Flooring

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Business-Ward-FamilyPhotos by Kelly Sue Photography

When David Ward was a junior high student, he spent every Saturday dusting the furniture at his family’s business, Ward Furniture. Starting at the front by the display window, he worked his way through the long, narrow building until he reached the back of the store. He also raked the then-stylish shag carpet in the showroom.

David remembers the small-town atmosphere in the store’s first downtown Huntsville location. The Ward family offered quality merchandise, greeted customers by name, and provided courteous, personal service.  David didn’t realize it at the time, but the furniture business was already getting into his blood.

While he was a student at Texas A&M University, David made the decision to join Ward Furniture on a full-time basis. Jackie, his wife of 26 years, joined him in the business a few years later. “I came on staff at First Baptist Church as a youth and children’s minister and married the single deacon,” Jackie says with a chuckle. “The church really worked at that.”

Years later, David and Jackie bought the business from David’s father. They have been at the helm of Ward Furniture ever since and are proud that their two daughters, Scottie and Madison, are fourth-generation members of the family business.

A history of customer service

Business-Old-TypewriterAfter losing a cotton gin during the Great Depression, David’s hard-working maternal grandfather, G. A. Hardy, founded Hardy Furniture in 1944. When David’s parents, Norman and June Ward, took over the business in the mid-1960s, they changed the name to Ward Furniture; in 1985, they moved the business to a larger downtown location. Throughout the years of the store’s existence, the business was committed to offering quality products and courteous service.

“A handshake was a contract back then,” Jackie says. “Our motto is ‘where personal service is a tradition.’ Our personal service, in my opinion, can’t be beat.”

Business-Wall-ClocksIn 1997, Ward Furniture moved to its present location on I-45 at 19th Street in Huntsville. At that time, the business, which already offered flooring, officially changed its name to Ward Furniture and Flooring. Whereas the flooring display room at its downtown location was limited, there was ample room at the new location, and David and Jackie beefed up the store’s selection of flooring products. They also began offering professional installation.

Today, Ward Furniture and Flooring offers a remarkable variety of flooring options, including carpet, hardwood, laminate, porcelain tile, and natural stone floorings. It also offers luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is surging in popularity because of its hardwood look, durability, and resistance to water damage.

Several years ago, Ward Furniture and Flooring began replacing the flooring in some of the buildings on the Texas A&M campus. (David is looking forward to installing flooring during the summer in Hart Hall, the dormitory where he lived while he was a student.) After successfully completing projects on campus, many customers in the Bryan/College Station area began making the short drive to Huntsville to do business with Ward Furniture and Flooring. Customers from Montgomery County, too, usually prefer the easy drive to Huntsville to the traffic headaches that accompany drives into Houston. The store’s flooring business is booming, David says, and now represents about 70 percent of Ward Furniture and Flooring’s business.

Business-Kitchen“As always, efficient, on time, and the job is perfect,” reads one Angie’s List review. Ward Furniture and Flooring also has an excellent record with the Better Business Bureau.  “We have had no complaints in I don’t know how many years,” David says.

David and Jackie, however, have not forgotten that their roots are in the furniture business. Their store offers competitive prices on a wide selection of quality furniture made by such respected names as Bassett, Broyhill, Flexsteel, Lexington, Stanley, and Hooker Furniture.

Business-Bedroom-Vignette“We want to sell quality furniture that we can put in someone’s home and know they have something that is going to last them a long time,” David says.

Many customers take advantage of Ward Furniture and Flooring’s website (wardfurniture.com), which shows links to furniture manufacturer’s own websites. There, customers can browse and identify pieces they’d like to special order (if not in stock). Fabrics are sometimes difficult to choose online, but Ward’s showroom has hundreds of fabric samples that are available for sofas and chairs. Special orders generally take about four to six weeks for delivery, David says, although leather orders sometimes take a little longer. Customers don’t mind the wait, he says, because they get exactly what they want.

Business-Kitchen-VignetteWard Furniture and Flooring has two on-staff designers who have created the beautiful vignettes in the store’s showroom. By browsing through the vignettes, many customers glean ideas they are able to utilize in their own homes. Some customers ask the store’s designers to help them with small tasks (like helping them arrange their new furniture purchases) or large ones (like assisting with remodels and new construction). “Our designers are really good, helpful and fun. They can help the customer with all color selections of walls and countertops, window treatments, flooring—everything for inside the home,” Jackie says. “They know that whatever the customer likes is best,” David says, “but they may make suggestions that, often times, the customer hasn’t thought about.”

Some customers aren’t in the market for new furniture or flooring, but shop at Ward Furniture and Flooring for beautiful accessories and accent pieces. Although the furniture and decorative accessories in the vignettes are artfully arranged, the Ward family doesn’t mind rearranging them when items are sold. “People ask, ‘Do you sell off the floor?’ Absolutely!” David says. “Nothing is nailed to the floor.”

In addition to flooring, furniture and accessories, Ward Furniture and Flooring offers custom window treatments. Among the options available to customers are shutters, blinds, solar screens, and custom draperies. The business also does re-upholstery and may offer kitchen and bath remodeling in the future.

The store even stocks a few basic appliances—such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and freezers—for customers who might need them in a hurry. “They don’t even come in. David picks it out and takes it to their house, and it’s a done deal,” Jackie says. Customers might panic if they have spoilable food stored in a malfunctioning freezer, but David can come to the rescue. To help his customers in such situations, David plugs in a new freezer at the store. “When I get ready to pull out, it’s already getting cold,” he says.

Ward Furniture and Flooring has in-house financing and—to the delight of many of their long-time customers—keeps accounts current both on computer and on old-school ledgers. “We never say, ‘Our computer is down, so I can’t help you,’” David says.

Such a level of customer service may be unheard of at some big-city stores, but to David and Jackie, it’s a way of life. They are proud to serve their customers in the same way they have always been served at Ward Furniture and Flooring.

“Customers sometimes tell me, ‘We have been dealing with your store since your granddaddy had it,’” David says. “It’s a generational business.”

Contact Information:

(936) 295-2514

wardfurniture.com

180 I-45 • Huntsville

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