Warren celebrates 40 years with Brashears
Brashears Furniture has become a second home for Sam Warren. This year he celebrates his 40th anniversary with the company.
Warren said it all started in 1976, when he was a high school student looking for a summer job.
"I knew I was going to be needing a job for the summer at that time, and someone told me about Brashears," he said. "So I went down and applied and basically got hired on the spot."
He said he began as a basic delivery person, moving furniture with one other crew member with an open-bed pickup. When school resumed that fall, Warren kept delivering furniture after school.
He said he has been with the company ever since, moving from sales to management all the way up to his current position as vice president. Warren said Vol Brashears was the one who encouraged him to move up through the company.
"Vol got me involved in helping purchase furniture and that transitioned into sales," he said. "It was fun when he allowed me to start selling. It was kind of unexpected at the time."
Warren said moving up into sales and eventually management is one of his proudest
accomplishments during his time with Brashears.
"It was very exciting to make that transition and then becoming vice president and overseeing more aspects of the business was great," he said.
Through his various positions within the company, Warren said he has seen the business change dramatically during his time. Consumers used to want heirloom pieces, he said, to pass down to their kids. Now people replace furniture more often.
"The buying habits of people have totally changed. People don't want to spend as much money on an item because they don't want to keep it as an heirloom piece," Warren said.
He said he has watched Brashears grow over the years as well. The company was established in 1935.
"We've gone from a relatively smaller store serving a local market in Carroll County to a network of stores with a broader market. Internet and technology have affected some of that as well," Warren said.
He said he has enjoyed working for the company because of its dedication and the support the owners give their employees. Warren said he has developed a great friendship with the Brashears family during his 40 years.
"There's always been this bond between me and the ownership of the company. It started with Vol and continued with his son, Doug, and Doug's wife, Susan. when he took over the business from his father," he said.
Warren continued, "We've always relied on each other to push each other to be the best and make the business go forward."
Doug Brashears, owner of Brashears Furniture, agreed with Warren wholeheartedly, describing him as part of the family.
"Sam was very important to Mom and Dad back in the early years, and he was a big help to me when I came back," he said.
Brashears continued, "Many people think he's my brother. He's lived through the growth and change of the business all these years, and I've been glad to have him here with us."
Another aspect Warren said he has enjoyed about the furniture business is the face-to-face work he does with people through customer service.
"If you don't like the challenges of business and you don't like dealing with people, retail is not for you," Warren said. "I love customer service, especially when I can resolve a situation where a customer is unhappy and keep them as a customer with Brashears."
He said he has had lots of great support from his wife, Lora, and his family. Sam and Lora Warren have one son, Eric, a daughter-in-law, Carey, and two granddaughters, Skyler and Riley.
Although Warren has been with Brashears for 40 years, he said he had no idea he would be with the company as long as he has been.
"I didn't plan on it," he said. "I didn't have aspirations of doing anything else, but you wake up one day and realize you've been with a job 40 years and it kind of blows you away."
Warren continued, "I was born in Berryville and grew up here. When my wife and I were younger kids, we kind of wanted to get out of here, but the longer we stayed the more we liked it. We're so glad we didn't."