Some people are known to “flip” houses, taking unattractive residences and turning them into a much more valuable property.
Larry Zigerelli, President of FFO Home, the regional furniture store chain that just opened its newest location last week in the DeSoto Crossing Shopping Center, just off I-55 along Goodman Road West in Horn Lake, has been very successful in his career turning underperforming businesses into successful ones, and is doing the same leading the chain of now 42 FFO (for Furniture Factory Outlet) Home locations in six states.
You might say he’s been “flipping” businesses, always with a sizable return on investment.
“We wanted to expand east and we wanted first to go to the most desirable place to be. We’ve targeted this place for quite a while,” Zigerelli said of the Horn Lake store, filling what was at one time an Office Max location in the shopping center.
Making companies profitable has been Zigerelli’s skill-set during a career that has also seen him involved in several areas of business.
“I worked for Proctor and Gamble for about 20 years, CVS Pharmacy and for 10 years prior to coming here, I started working on turning around companies that had great potential but needed help,” Zigerelli said. “Someone called me when I was living in New York City about this opportunity and when I looked at it and the unique concept that we have here, I thought that we could really improve this business. I love living down here, so I’ve been a furniture man for about five years.”
Zigerelli said there are several unique features about the concept for FFO Home, with the first involving price. Zigerelli said it will be difficult for any competitor to beat FFO Home on price.
“Our prices everyday are up to 50 percent lower than the competition and we also have a guaranteed lowest price,” he said. “In the event there is a similar product that’s priced lower, we match that price plus 10 percent.”
Customers needing assistance in financing their new furniture piece also get help from the company in payment plans, Zigerelli said.
“We’re also unique in that we finance everyone,” he said. “We finance more furniture than any retailer in the country, so if you have top credit or no credit, we can help you with your furniture needs.”
Customers falling in love with an item, regardless of size, can take it home from the store if they want, or have it delivered. Zigerelli said FFO Home sells everything from the stores.
Beyond the store walls, FFO Home tries to be active in the community they are located in.
“We’re big believers in getting heavily involved in the community.,” Zigerelli said. “We are in all of the chambers everywhere. The biggest charity that we are involved with is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We also get involved with Special Olympics.”
It’s that kind of concept, offering the lowest prices on high-quality furniture while showing a willingness to be community minded that has caused FFO Home to grow and expand, now entering the Tennessee and Mississippi markets.
“This is our 42nd store,” Zigerelli said. “We started in 1984 with our first store in Fort Smith, Ark. We have 19 stores in Arkansas,12 in Missouri, seven in Oklahoma, two in Wichita, Kan. We’ve opened in Wichita Falls, Texas, which is our first one in Texas and now here in Horn Lake.”
Zigerelli showed that commitment immediately by donating $1,000 last week to Special Olympics during the store’s grand opening.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.