Gene Rosenberg (b.1935), a founder of Bob's Discount Furniture and Planned Furniture Promotions, and a partner in the revival of Boyles Furniture, has combined hard work and perseverance with his love for the furniture industry. He cofounded Gene Rosenberg Associations (GRA), now called Planned Furniture Promotions, the country's largest furniture promotion firm. He also cofounded Bob's Discount Furniture, growing the chain to the 15th-largest U.S. furniture retailer with sales of $685 million.
The epitome of the "self-made" man, Mr. Rosenberg grew up in a modest apartment above his parents' grocery store in Hartford, Conn. He started his furniture career as a bookkeeper in a local furniture store, earning $40 a week, and was soon promoted to store manager. Leo Kaufman, the father of his future business partner, told Mr. Rosenberg about an appliance store named Norman's that needed his help. Within three years, annual sales grew to more than $3 million.
In 1962, Mr. Rosenberg and Paul Cohen started Gene Rosenberg Associates. Over the past 50 years, GRA has assisted more than 6,000 retailers with high-impact sales that have enabled them to survive, reorganize or close without extensive debt.
In 1991, Mr. Rosenberg and Bob Kaufman purchased a five-store waterbed chain, transforming it into a retail store offering high-quality furniture at affordable prices in a friendly atmosphere. Today, Bob's Discount Furniture consists of 43 stores located from New England to Virginia, with sales of nearly $700 million. When 70 percent of the company was sold in 2005 to an investment group, Mr. Rosenberg continued as a major stockholder and as an active board member. Recently, he and his partners re-launched the Boyles retail brand in North Carolina.
An active contributor to his community, Mr. Rosenberg enjoys helping those in need. He founded Camp Rising.