Broad River goes full throttle on bedding at Sleep Connection

CONCORD, N.C. — Top 100 retailer Broad River Retail’s Sleep Connection summit was all about revving up sleep sales performance in advance of Memorial Day. See more: Activities galore at Broad River’s Sleep Connection

Fittingly, the annual event was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway here, a place that has seen its share of revved up performances. It brought together the Ashley licensee’s retail sales associates, or “Memory Makers,” as well as managers and general managers with partners, including Tempur-Sealy International, Purple, Ashley Sleep and Bedgear. To keep groups small, partner sessions were held Tuesday and Wednesday while management got its turn with vendors on Thursday.

“The way I like to describe it is it’s high-performance people that are part of a high-performance team in a place that’s known for high performance with high-performance partners,” Stacey McCormick, senior vice president of retail performance and merchandising for Broad River, told Furniture Today. “The value is we get every one of our retail guest-facing Memory Makers in one place.”

Manny Rodrigues, chief operating officer for the group that owns and operates Ashley stores in the Carolinas and Georgia, said Broad River has been elevating and expanding its sleep shops as part of the Ashley 7.0 model, and he noted that another key value of the Sleep Connection event is that it takes place a couple of weeks before what is traditionally one of the biggest holiday sales events of the year.

“Our Sleep Connection Summit is a launching pad for our retail team in the very important month of May,” he said. “It combines education on new sleep products and the power of connection with fellow Memory Makers and partners to create positive momentum and energy in our showrooms leading up to Memorial Day.”

President and CEO Charlie Malouf said while Broad River has held an iteration of Sleep Connection for a few years, it came back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a second year because having an event in a memorable venue gets people into a mindset of learning. He said sleep is an important category for Broad River, and there’s a lot to learn about each product rollout, so this is the best way to get the more than 350 participants on the same page.

“When you add texture to time, the learning sticks,” Malouf said. “We want it to be memorable for when you need that quick recall in front of a guest.”

To help reinforce the learning, whenever a Memory Maker participated or answered a question, he or she received a raffle ticket for a chance to win sponsor-provided prizes at the end of the day.

Lisa McLachlan, senior key account manager for TSI, led a team to talk about Tempur-Pedic’s new LuxeAdapt, ProAdapt and Adapt mattresses, and she later split attendees up for a few activities, including an obstacle course.

“Rather than going to all 31 stores, this is a chance to see everybody all at once,” she told Furniture Today.

Purple’s Eric Warbach was next and talked about the brand’s features and benefits and demonstrated the well-known raw egg test (the egg didn’t break until Warbach crushed it at the stage). Later, attendees played team Connect 4 with chips that had Purple facts.

Ashley Sleep’s Todd Kester shared information about Ashley’s latest sleep products and innovations. Following the presentation, Memory Makers played a few rounds of BINGO, which involved having to correctly identify correct product or Ashley facts before they could darken squares.

During the final presentation, Bedgear’s Meagan Murphy talked about the value of being “additive.” To illustrate the point, she invited four volunteers to the stage to make things from buckets of sand. However, three of the buckets only had dry sand while the fourth had kinetic sand, which was the only one that held its shape, because it had sand with an additive.

“What value are we adding to the experience?” she asked. “When we don’t add value, consumers will always revert back to price.”

Dwayne Baker, a Memory Maker from North Charlotte, said the activities and training served their purpose. “It’s impactful,” he said. “We’re all on the same page; we’re all seeing the same benefits and features, and we’re seeing how better sleep impacts you.”

See also:

  • Broad River found a way to strengthen ties in greater Augusta market
  • River rising: Ashley licensee ups store count in Charlotte metro

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