WENATCHEE — The past four years haven’t been the roughest that Roger Bumps has seen in his 34 years in the furniture business, but certainly the most dramatic.
“It was so good and then it decreased so rapidly,” said Bumps, owner of Davis Furniture in downtown Wenatchee.
The country’s cycle of voracious borrowing and spending ended in a crash that abruptly halted a frenzy of lending, real estate and home building.
It was late 2008. The recession had begun. Bumps got through it.
“The downturn was so dramatic. It was hard to adjust quickly,” he said. “The furniture business is directly impacted by the housing market. As the housing market shrunk, the furniture business shrunk. It caused us to make some adjustments to the decreasing volume.”
The early years of the recession, 2008 and 2009 were not profitable ones for the store.
Like virtually every business owner who responded to Business World’s Small Business report card survey this month, Bumps had to cut costs. For him, that included a 20-percent reduction in staff.
But he’d been through tough business cycles before, including his first year in business, when the prime lending rate — the rate at which banks lend money to other banks — was in the vicinity of 20 percent. It made financing very expensive. Today that rate is 3.25 percent.
He’s learned to be prepared.
“We were not saddled with debt. I’ve always run the business conservatively,” he said. “We made adjustments, and we are now profitable.”
Since the recession began, his store has improved its inventory control and watches expenses. They reviewed their product offerings and level of customer service. He worked to build morale and create an attitude of optimism in the future.
Bumps credits his staff, customer loyalty and long-standing reputation for helping him get through it.
Community members help, by shopping locally and referring others to local businesses that give good service.
“You take the good with the bad and you prepare yourself to weather it all,” he said. “You have to make conscious decisions to adapt.”
He added, “There are no big secrets in this deal. We’re all in this together in this community. The way we all support each other is important. There will be good times again. We’re cycling up.”