Mike Bachman, president
Warren Barnett Interiors, 14755 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield
Industry: Furniture and accessories
Number of employees: 20
Family: Wife Barbara, daughter Emily, sons Jake and Ben
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“We’ve gone against the grain and brought higher priced, higher quality merchandise into our showroom, at a time when other retailers chose to merchandise their stores with lower priced, lower quality furniture.”
What’s new at your company?
“We are changing our company name from Thomasville Home Furnishings to Warren Barnett Interiors, which is a combination of my wife’s and my middle names. We are re-branding the company to reflect the expansion of the furniture lines we carry beyond the Thomasville and Drexel Heritage brands to also include higher end furniture brands Henredon, Century, Lillian August, Hickory White, John Richard and others.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We will be increasing our staff by 10 percent immediately, and will hire additional staff as it makes sense. We are remodeling the store and re-setting it with all new furniture and accessories.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“We are essentially re-inventing our company with a new name and new collection of merchandise. Our challenge for the coming year will be to establish top-of-mind awareness with our audiences.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“Many of our clients are looking for eclectic, very personalized mixes of furniture that create a truly unique environment. Our nine interior designers on staff make this daunting task look easy, and our free in-home design service takes away the risk of making a mistake. We also have a large assortment of fine art, antiques, and decorative accessories, which our interior designers place in their clients’ homes to finish the look.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“One message I’ve always given my team is that we need to treat our customers as we would treat a guest in our home.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“My father, who is now retired, was a brilliant businessman. It was a privilege to have worked with him for 20 years.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“Nat Ancell, the founder of a highly respected furniture brand, told me to ‘never worry about the volume, build a business that is focused on creating beautiful homes for your customers, and when you turn around, the volume will be there.'”
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“The one that comes to mind is the customer that accidentally drove into, and destroyed, about a four-foot square brick column that’s part of the front of our building, and then came in to the store to shop.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“My wife bought me a guitar for my 50th birthday, and I’m working really hard at not being terrible. I also like to ski out west in the winter, hunt, fish and do almost anything outdoors.”