About Us | NFM Blog
A Thriving Company Culture…
It began in 1937 when our founder Rose Blumkin (Mrs. B.) opened her first store in the basement of a pawnshop. Following her belief to always “sell cheap and tell the truth”, Nebraska Furniture Mart has grown into a vital company of hard-working Midwesterners with a sincere dedication to treating their customers with honesty and integrity.
Integrity & Honesty
We are honest and ethical with everyone, maintaining the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.
We create loyal customers by each of us doing our part and doing it right the first time. Everything we do begins and ends with our customers.
Quality Products and Services
We are committed to providing products and services that meet, and wherever possible exceed, our customer’s requirements. We strive to “do it right the first time,” practice prevention and continuously improve our work processes.
We work together to find solutions that have positive results for others as well as ourselves. We treat everyone with respect and fairness, recognize each other’s contributions, and celebrate our achievements.
Cost-effective & Competitive
We strive to be the low-cost operator in all our practices and processes, to be able to provide our customers with the best value, while ensuring a profitable company. We will not be undersold by our competitors.
The Story of Mrs B.
Born outside of Minsk, Russia, in 1893, Rose Gorelick followed her husband, Isadore Blumkin to America in 1917 to take on the American dream. By 1922, the young couple had scraped together enough money to have her family flee Russia and join them in America.
In addition to raising their four children, Mrs. B helped with her husband’s business ventures, including a second-hand clothing shop. Finding deals on men’s suits and accessories, she printed 10,000 circulars that offered to outfit a man from head to toe for five dollars – an amazingly fair deal for the times. It worked nicely, and she made a respectable profit.
In 1937, the Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded in the basement of her husband’s shop. Her belief in selling at tiny margins created rough going early on with the manufacturers boycotting Mrs. B at the urging of local competition, who generally operated on higher markups. Traveling by train to Kansas City, Chicago and New York, she became a proficient furniture bargain hunter by buying from large furniture stores at 5% over their cost, and still making a profit using her low markup sales strategy.
An American legend, Rose Blumkin (Mrs. B), knew early in life that honesty and integrity would serve her well. Those beliefs laid the foundation for Nebraska Furniture Mart’s rise to its status as a Midwestern retailing legend.
Still, battling reluctant suppliers and a depressed Korean War economy in 1951, Mrs. B filled Omaha’s old city auditorium with the store’s inventory for an all-out, three-day sale. In three chaotic days, she took in $250,000 and eliminated her debt forever.
The growing success led to moves to various downtown locations, and the flagship store at 2205 Farnam eventually expanded to 120,000 square feet and operated in tandem with the present 72nd street location from 1970 to 1980. Joining his mother in the business in post-war 1946, son Louie contributed immeasurably to the growth and success of the business.
A devastating tornado in 1975 caused only a minor blip on the business record of the business. With millions of dollars in damage to the 72nd street store, Mrs. B and her son simply rebuilt bigger and better.
Impressed with the success, business savvy and honest dealings of the Blumkins, investor Warren Buffett and Mrs. B used a simple handshake to seal the purchase of 90% of the business for Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway portfolio in 1983. The ‘Historic Omaha Handshake’ plus a simple two-page written agreement were all that were required – no audit of the store’s books, no inventory of its merchandise.
Daily dealings with her customers over the years, long work days and later in life, her motorized cart buzzing around her store, she was always bringing a smile to a customer’s face with a great deal.
Throughout the years Mrs. B supported many causes and various community events, many times behind the scenes. The most notable is the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and the renovation of the Astro theater into ‘The Rose’, – the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center – the home of the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater.
Until her death in 1998 at 104, Rose Blumkin rode the crest of a simple business tenet: “Sell cheap and tell the truth.” The store, now under the leadership of her three grandsons, Ron and Irv Blumkin and Bob Batt, still adheres to this advice as Mrs. B’s philosophy continues to help them meet each new challenge.
Amidst constant modernization updates to the store and 77-acre campus, a massive electronics and appliance store was added in 1994.
In 2000 a remodel of Nebraska Furniture Mart Omaha was completed. Also in 2000, the Homemakers store in Des Moines became a part of Nebraska Furniture Mart.
In 2003 Nebraska Furniture Mart added a 600,000 square foot state-of the art warehouse and distribution center and a new store in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City store encompasses more than 1,000,000 square feet of retail and distribution facilities and became the first location outside of Omaha to offer its full compliment of products.
In 2006 Nebraska Furniture Mart launched a new website with full ecommerce functionality. For the first time customers could shop and buy online.
In 2007 Nebraska Furniture Mart renovated the Appliance and Electronics store in Omaha.
2008 sees major renovations and updates of Omaha’s Recliner Department and Kansas City’s Appliance and Electronics Departments.
In 2009, Des Moines celebrates with a grand opening of its totally remodeled and updated store, while adding all brands of HDTVs to their line-up. Meanwhile, Kansas City has an all-new look in their HDTV department and The Kitchen Design Studio is completely redesigned and expanded with enhanced services.
In 2010 Nebraska Furniture Mart makes major advances in “green” and recycling procedures as well as customer Online Shopping. Exclusive Bose, Apple, HP and Sony are opened in both locations. Kansas City holds an Electronics Grand Opening for their updated department, while Omaha celebrates its new, totally modern Flooring Department. Not to be outdone, Mrs. B’s Clearance Center and Factory Outlet receives a complete facelift.
2011 started off strong with the completion of a total redesign of Omaha’s Furniture Store, celebrated with a gala grand opening. That was followed by a totally new look to the Home Office and Entertainment Furniture Building, and its grand opening. www.nfm.com continues its aggressive remodel, on track to becoming a world class website.
In 2012, NFM broke ground for its new store in The Colony, TX. After years of planning and hard work came to fruition, NFM of Texas opened in the spring of 2015. NFM of Texas is an incredible home furnishings experience unlike any other. It boasts over 560,000 square feet of retail showroom with a Distribution Center the size of 20 football fields!