Meet Parry Gallagher
From the HGO Merchandiser
Few think he or she will end up a sales associate, let alone an incredibly successful one. Sales can be challenging, not to mention stressful at the best of times, but it’s particularly difficult when one’s industry is working hard to grapple with evolving customer needs and major technological disruptions. But for some, the calling can’t be denied – especially when he is selling something everyone needs: furniture.
Parry Gallagher, the soft-spoken and friendly owner Coombs Junction Furniture, not only loves the industry he’s been proud to be a part of for three decades, but he’s also happiest when serving who walk through the door of his Vancouver Island store. That’s why he selected as this year’s Retail Sales Professional Award recipient for the Pacific Region, which covers British Columbia.
“I've been in the business over 30 years and I’ve owned my furniture store for the past ten and I love it here,” he told HGO in an interview after he was feted at the Canadian Home Furnishings Awards gala this past May, who was quick to add he loves what he does for the simple reason he gets to meet incredible people. “I love the people and making them happy with the goods and services that we offer. It’s mainly all about the customer. It makes me happy to help them.”
Gallagher also said he was honoured and humbled by the recognition. “I felt honoured to be recognized by my peers in the furniture industry,” he says.
It was Gallagher’s people-oriented approach that prompted Scott McEachern, a sales representative for ZucoraHome – the award’s Presenting Sponsor – to nominate him. “I nominated Parry because of his dedication to his business, his employees and especially his family. No one in the industry works harder on those three categories than Parry. I was so happy to hear that Parry had won. He deserved it,” McEachern said.
“Parry is a ‘one man’ show,” his nomination reads. “Living in a small community, Parry is responsible for everything, display, sales, delivery, after sales service, and most of all, he does this seven days a week. What you don’t know is that his wife has been very ill for the past couple of years, in and out of hospital but Parry never missed a day of work, and he saw his wife everyday as well. She is doing much better now. This little store does just shy of one million dollars a year, all because of Parry, who cares about everyone.”
While most sales associates do their best to make the customer’s experience perfect, Gallagher works hard to ensure his clients benefit from their time in the store – which is located in the small town of Coombs, on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo – and walk away with the perfect piece of furniture.
“We make the buying experience a good one by having the knowledge to help the customer make the best buying decision,” he says. “I think it’s very important. It’s all about making customers happy and providing the best customer service.”
A good, fruitful buying experience doesn’t just make the customer happy in the moment – it encourages them to tell friends and family about their experience, therefore creating more clientele.
Gallagher works to provide a good experience by listening carefully to what the customer wants and needs. “I’m listening to what they need to suit their needs. I’m providing a good buying experience and showing them the best buys and how they can benefit the best from the products that we sell.”
Coombs Junction Furniture offers locally sourced products, which he believes keeps customers coming through the door. “Our products are all mostly Canadian and B.C. made – 90% of our products are made in Canada and 75% of what we carry is made right here in B.C.,” he says. “It’s a valuable asset and the customers love it.”
It also helps he loves the product he sells just as much his customers. “I also love B.C. made products because they’re such good quality and everybody benefits from that.”
Life outside the store consists of family, sports and walks on the beach (in precisely that order, according to McEachern). His advice for the budding sales associate is straightforward. “Treat your customers really well and give them the best customer service possible. That will always reap the benefits in the end.”
Gallagher isn’t done yet, saying, “I hope to continue to grow a successful business and be a leader in the community. I would like to stay in the business until I am ready to retire.”