Next chapter: Wichita’s Storey ready to build on family legacy

WICHITA, Kan. — Jay Storey is like many other leaders in the furniture industry in that he hoped that, one day, he could pass the reins of the family furniture store to the next generation.

That time came in mid-May for Wichita Furniture here, as the elder Storey assumed the role of chairman of the four-store retailer while his son, Jordan Storey, stepped into the position of president and CEO.

“This is something, when you start in business and you have children, one of the things you hope is your children are involved and interested in the industry,” Jay Storey told Furniture Today. “Jordan was interested his whole life. He was raised in it and after he graduated college was working in multiple different areas within our business.”

Jordan Storey said the transition began in earnest after Wichita Furniture opened its 105,000-square-foot showroom last year, and he’s been taking on more of the day-to-day responsibilities to prepare. Prior to that, he has worked in the distribution center, on the sales floor and in leadership roles in management, marketing and technology.

“Jay’s passion over the past few years is infrastructure with me taking over the buying five years ago. My passion has been on the furniture side and the business side,” Jordan Storey said. “I feel I’ve been groomed over the past several years where there was no change (when the transition was made official). It’s not a lot different than what it was before everyone knew. I’ve learned from the best, I truly believe that, and it’s been an easy transition.”

Plus, it helps that the younger Storey is uniquely positioned to better take the pulse of younger shoppers in the marketplace.

“He understands the current technologies and platforms available to us to market. We like to think we’re a technology company and furniture is a byproduct of what we do. This will allow us to go that much further,” Jay Storey said. “When I got in the business, there was TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail and billboard. I didn’t have much to choose from. Now it’s a totally different challenge to rifle approach our customers, and he grew up with that.”

For the short term, Jordan Storey said he’s looking to maintain the level of service Wichita Furniture customers have come to expect.

“I want to continue to focus on our customers’ journey and make sure we’re exceeding their expectations as well as working with our teams and being the best place to work as well,” he said. “Building relationships between customers and employees is my top priority.”

Longer term, growth is always a goal, but it has to be done right, and that’s where Jordan’s day-to-day leadership bridges well with Jay’s managing the facilities side of things.

“Our goal has always been to be the best, not the biggest. Once we establish a solid infrastructure and feel we can go to the next level, that’s when we go to the next location or increase in some capacity,” Jay Storey said. “We want to make sure our infrastructure will meet or exceed our customers’ expectations before stepping out and doing something we can’t handle. Our main focus is to make sure we get repeat business. We look for lifetime value customer relationships.”

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