Globally COVID-19 has boosted manufacturing and e-commerce to new heights, particularly in product lines that involve home improvement. So it’s no surprise that Home Reserve (EDCUtah/NUEA Project Pam) is experiencing unprecedented growth. It manufactures and operates an e-commerce site in which sales of its ready-to-assemble furniture are made direct to its customer base.
The company is based in Fort Wayne, IN, and in August, it announced it was opening an operation in Ogden and seeking to hire 15 employees. In a matter of weeks, that 15 changed to 25 positions. We caught up with operations director Scott Anspach to learn more.
How has the e-commerce market changed lately?
SA: When COVID hit, online purchasing changed nationwide. People were becoming more accustomed to purchasing furniture online – it was a growing trend. But COVID shot it through the roof.
In 2019, all of our digital channels generated 1X in sales a day. Now with just our Facebook ads alone, we are bringing in 2.5X.
We had been planning the western expansion for some time, and we had sized our plans for Ogden accordingly based on 2019 data. Then our sales started to grow so quickly, we actually had to turn our digital ads off. After COVID, our overall sales tripled, almost quadrupled, and our delivery lead time doubled.
That growth caused us to reevaluate our needs. That’s why we’re looking to expand hiring for the Ogden operations. With new data, we now have more control over our ad strategies, and we have a better picture of what we need out here in Utah.
Home Reserve has always sold nationwide. California is a big market for you. How does the Ogden operation fit in that strategy?
It fits well from a logistics standpoint, and from a sales standpoint, we can be more aggressive.
How has your initial hiring gone in Utah?
We already have five people hired and working in our sewing operations. It’s going well, and the people we’re hiring have a good focus. They are focused and catching on fast, and nobody’s tracking time. They are fully engaged and remind me of the folks we have in Fort Wayne – the way they carry themselves. They are down to earth.
We’re now looking for a plant and production manager and a maintenance manager, more fabric cutters, and soon, we’ll need leads for the sewing and shipping departments.
We’ve had good support from the Department of Workforce Services and the City of Ogden. Both Darin Rogers from DWS and Brant Birkeland from the city have helped us connect to virtual job fairs and handle permit paperwork and other matters.
The company describes these jobs as “great second earner positions.” Please explain.
We start people at $15 an hour, and we like to cross train and promote from within, so there’s a lot of opportunity. The working environment is comfortable and clean, and we believe in work/life balance. While our people are working 40 hours a week, there’s a lot of flexibility to allow folks to adjust schedules so they can attend to matters at home.
What are your first impressions of Utah?
I’ve spent about three weeks in Ogden, and I love the beautiful views. It’s a nice town. The time change and the altitude are taking a little getting used to. And I do have to say, the drivers here are more aggressive than in Fort Wayne!
For more information, visit homereserve.com