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Granite Furniture Announces 'Reinvigoration' Strategy, Including Interim CEO, Updated Processes, Focus Locations.

Lifestyle Editors/Business Editors

SUGAR HOUSE, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 11, 2003

Company Engages Executive Consultant as Interim CEO,

For First Time Contracts Advertising Agency,

Announces Near-Term Closure of Orem Location

Backing up the company's 93-year commitment to vigorously compete in the Utah market and to provide industry-distinguishing service, Granite Furniture is announcing strategic changes, including the hiring of an interim chief executive officer (CEO), the implementation of a new Granite Furniture branding/advertising program, a honed business focus (including the closing of the Orem store), as well as investments in computing and other systems.

"To become more vibrant and strive to provide unparalleled service to the company's longstanding Utah customers," noted interim Granite Chief Executive Officer Jim Taggart, "the Granite Furniture Board of Directors, who are members of the Granite-founding Richards family, unanimously embraced the need to make these strategic management decisions. The company's enduring commitment to our loyal customer base is the value driving this reinvigoration of strategy, systems, business focus and overall Granite brand."

President of national turnaround consulting experts, Renaissance Management Partners, similarly based in the Intermountain West in Cody, Wyo., Granite's interim CEO becomes the first person outside the founding Richards family to lead the company. Having officially started with Granite in May, Taggart's influence has already been profound, with his implementing sophisticated cash management, accounting and other computing systems.

Granite looked beyond internal resources to "reinvent" its company in terms of advertising and strategic marketing programs. Having formerly relied on in-house contributions for newspaper and television advertising and other promotion, the company, for the first time, has hired an advertising agency, Salt Lake City-based DaVinci Advertising and Marketing, a full-service agency whose executives include direct marketing experts and a partner/creative director whose credentials include helping develop Intel's global brand.

In his seven-month dissection of Granite's business, Taggart saw an incredibly asset-rich company with strong customer and employee ethics that needed to reinvent itself with market-driven product lines, consolidated offerings and more aggressive target marketing. What didn't make sense was a lack of market focus. In closing the Orem store, Taggart says Granite will be able to more vigorously compete by providing customers with Granite's definition of "best value." "We define 'value' different from our non-Utah-based competitors," he explained. "With Granite, customers receive 90-plus years of commitment -- commitment to not just furniture, but to Utah." Taggart continued, "Value is more than just price. It's offering interior design-trained, long-term furniture connoisseur employees, coupled with delivery and installation services." In assessing the company's product lines, customer service and overall "buying experience," Taggart noted that Utah customers deserve more than what the prior Granite or other "warehouse" sources can provide.

Sugar House-based Granite Furniture is the largest locally owned furniture source not just in Utah, but throughout the Intermountain West. Founded in June 1910, the company was established by 10 men's investment of $1,000 each and an "in kind" donation from contractor Willard B. Richards Jr., the builder of the company's continuing Sugar House landmark facility who later acquired the company circa 1935. At various times throughout company history, Granite locations have included Bingham Canyon, Park City, Murray, Duchesne, Moroni and Provo. Granite's honed focus includes continuing to service Sugar House, Layton and West Jordan, with the Orem location set to remain open through April 2004.

The closing of the Orem location (55 E. University Parkway) presents great sales opportunities for customers within Utah County and beyond, as Granite will ultimately sell inventory from not just that facility, but from other warehouses. "'Buyer enjoy' is our message, with the opportunity to purchase Granite's same high-quality furnishings at closeout prices," said Taggart. The Orem location's closing sale is anticipated to begin Jan. 15, 2004 and run through the close of store, anticipated at the end of April.

Granite Furniture's new advertising brand, featuring the slogan "Furnish Your Life for Less," has begun to appear in print and broadcast advertising, as has the company's new corporate logo or visual I.D.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 11, 2003
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