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New Baker VP discusses what is, and isn’t, working in today's showrooms
Jan 8, 2018
Katy B. Olson

In his new role as vice president of Baker showrooms, Jay Paschall, who is based in Hickory, North Carolina, will manage P&L. He arrives with three decades of experience in the high-end furniture category, most recently at Century, where he filled in various executive management roles. He worked for Kindel Furniture and Hickory Chair as well. And Paschall’s arrival at Baker is also a homecoming: He spent 17 years with Baker in sales, product development and merchandising roles.

Jay Paschall; courtesy Baker
Jay Paschall; courtesy Baker

Ahead of his return to the company, Paschall discusses what excites—and challenges—him and the brand.

What are you most excited about in your new role? What are the biggest pros of the Baker brand?
First of all, just to return to Baker is exciting. The new ownership and the furniture experience and knowledge of the executive team gives me reason to believe the future is bright. We have the ability to tangibly fulfill our brand promise through our corporate showrooms and their dedicated sales and customer relations personnel.

Aside from the quality of our furniture, textiles and lighting, our people and their relationships with the design community are our best assets. I am very happy to be part of this group of people.

What are the unique challenges of furniture/decor showrooms?
One of the biggest challenges for our showrooms is getting our design clients to hear and see us. The internet has changed the way we all shop and gather information. While actual visits to our showrooms by our clients are vitally important—to see what we offer and understand our quality story firsthand—these visits are no longer the beginning and end of the process.

We are focusing on our clients’ experience through their interaction with our company and its furniture and services. Since we’re not in the commodity products business, we must continually earn our clients’ trust. We need them to depend on our expertise and ability to solve their problems, and instill in them a genuine curiosity as to what we’re doing. To be visible and relevant in a world of so many choices will be our biggest ongoing challenge.

What is working in showroom design? What isn’t?
I refer back to the experience. I believe the design community appreciates great design and unique products, but I also believe they love to be inspired. As an example, our newly renovated showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart is truly impressive with its beautiful furniture, great sight lines and lighting, and easily understood floor plan. It simply isn’t enough to have good stuff, but everything we do must be held to the same high standard. I believe that when everything comes together in such a manner, our clients understand and respond positively.

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