Laura gave us an inside look at how J.Nevel furniture began, as well as how this family-owned and operated business continues to help the Long Island community turn their houses in to homes with their white-glove service approach.
Question 1: How did your father get involved in the furniture business?
A: My father started working for Winston Furniture in Queens, New York as a part-time job in 1959. He has been in the furniture business ever since.
Question 2: When did he decide to start J. Nevel Furniture, and why?
A: Winston Furniture was experiencing financial trouble and just before Christmas, they put my father on commission-based salary. Having four children at home, he needed to provide for his family and was having trouble making ends meet. He took a leap of faith and left Winston to start J. Nevel Furniture in East Northport, NY in 1964. In 1996, he moved to a location in Hauppauge, NY for 10 years, and then decided to close the showroom and transition to two home offices in Manorville and Southhold. This was the start of our shop-at-home experience!
Question 3: Tell us a little bit about J. Nevel Furniture.
A: J. Nevel Furniture prides itself on offering lower prices than any of the big, brand-name stores. We sell exactly the same furniture, but since we sell it through the manufacturer’s catalog, there is less overhead which equals a better price for the consumer. We also special-order all of our furniture to make sure that the clients’ needs are met. That’s not something you can find anywhere else.
Question 4: At what point did you get involved in the family business?
A: I graduated from The Willsey Institute of Art and Interior Design in 1982, and as business grew my father realized that there was a need for interior design services for his clients. We added interior design consultation to our list of product and service offerings, and over the years have hired designers to work for us on an as-needed basis. Offering a design service alongside selling retail furniture has proven to be very beneficial for our customers.
Question 5: What’s the toughest part about your job? What’s the most rewarding?
A: Making sure that our furniture is delivered on-time as well as ensuring that the furniture we deliver is in prime condition can be very challenging. There is only so much that we can control in the delivery process, but we do our best to guarantee 100% satisfaction for our customers.
In fact, we are probably the only furniture company that inspects furniture before it is delivered. Most companies will send the furniture out in the box it originally came in without looking at first. Our pre-delivery furniture inspection is an extra step that we take to ensure that our customers are happy with their purchase and that there are no surprises upon delivery!
Question 6: What’s one thing that you have learned about operating a business from your father?
A: Over the years I have learned the importance of providing a positive customer experience. Customer satisfaction is very important to us, and I was always taught to follow up after a customer has received a delivery to make sure that they are happy with their purchase. And if they’re not happy – fix it immediately.
Question 7: How does being a family-owned business set J.Nevel apart from the competition?
A: Our personal, customer-oriented approach continues to set us apart from the competition. We take our work personally, and invest a great deal of time to get to know our customers and understand their needs. We have grown to know our customers’ children and families and take that ‘trust’ very seriously. Unlike the ‘big box stores’ where you are simply a number or someone’s commission, we are family-owned and apply that family-approach to all facets of our business model.