Frank Verna is no stranger in the outdoor industry. Working at Brown Jordan and Tropitone for nearly 20 years, he designed and implemented a comprehensive e-commerce platform to digitize sales processes while adding revenue and efficiencies. He also transformed product development strategy for the retail channel to ensure that the company’s portfolio is on-trend and increased volume and margin every year with double-digit growth in 2017.
A few months ago, Verna was named VP of sales for Sunset West — which was also recently acquired by Hooker Furniture to bring the manufacturer into the outdoor category — and now he’s taking his experience to the next level. Casual News Now caught up with Verna to ask a few quick questions about the new role and what the industry can expect.
1. How did you get connected with Sunset West?
Wes Stewart has been an industry colleague of mine. I have gotten to know him through the ICFA events over the years.
2. What did you connect with and like about the company when they approached you?
I have always appreciated Sunset West’s aesthetic and market position as luxury goods at affordable price points. When I saw the positive impact the Hooker acquisition is having on the company in terms of resources and scalability, I saw a tremendous opportunity to be part of an exciting growth brand.
3. What will you be doing in your new role? How will it be different (or similar) to your previous role at Tropitone?
My title is the VP of Sales. My role is very similar to what I was doing previously. The products and model are quite different, but the responsibilities are essentially the same. I “fly around and sell chairs” and I love it.
4. How will your previous experience in the industry help you in this new role?
The understanding of the various retail models and their unique needs I have acquired over the years will be the most beneficial in this role.
5. What’s your take on the casual industry right now — the big picture?
The demand levels we saw in 2020 and 2021 will be difficult to surpass, but I don’t see the industry “normalizing” back to pre-COVID levels as more national retailers and full-line furniture stores commit to the category rather than treating it like a purely seasonal product. I think this added exposure will help specialty retailers as consumers will choose the shopping experience they prefer.
6. What are you most excited about?
I am excited about learning new products, developing new relationships, and finding new successes with reps and retailers. I think we have the people, products, and programs at Sunset West for sustainable growth.