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The Next Generation

Koenig family values continue to guide City Furniture’s leaders.

Entrepreneurship and family ties go hand in hand with the Koenigs. It’s been that way for more than 50 years when, in 1971, Kevin Koenig opened a small waterbed store in Fort Lauderdale and named it Waterbed City. A year later, his younger brother, Keith, joined and they became partners in business in 1975, after opening their third Waterbed City store. When the waterbed business began to falter, the two brothers put their heads together and evolved their chain of stores into furniture stores.

Waterbed City officially became City Furniture in 1994. Kevin passed away in 2001 and Keith Koenig has continued to grow and nurture the business, which today counts 20 City Furniture showrooms, 14 Ashley Furniture showrooms and annual sales, in 2022, of more than $760 million.

In 2022, Keith’s son, Andrew, took over as CEO of the company while Keith is chairman.

Andrew says that the corporate values, which took root with the Koenig brothers’ partnership, speak to the core of the company. “We have seven corporate values,” he says. “The first one is entrepreneurial spirit—my dad and my uncle really started our business as entrepreneurs. And, our second is family spirit. One of the reasons we’re around 52 years later is creating a family atmosphere.”

The 41-year-old CEO says that there is purpose in having every member of the family—the next generation—involved in the business. That includes brother-in-law Ryan Cronin as senior vice president of real estate and finance, for the company, along with sister Daren Koenig Cronin and Koenig’s wife, Deanna, as part owners. “We’re hopefully creating a good family atmosphere that all of our kids want to participate in and be part of one day.”

The generational dedication to the family business is one that Andrew says is top of mind for him as he takes the business into, what he says, is the next 52 years.

“We have very specific vision statements about becoming the No. 1 home furnishing retailer in the country. Before I retire, that’s my goal. We”re No. 1 in all of our markets throughout Florida and our goal is to take that across the country. It’s not just me, but our younger leadership team that wants to make that happen—to make the older generation proud and take what they built and turn it into the best home furnishings business in the country.”

The Koenigs also count the people who work within the company as family, according to Andrew. “Our perspective is that when you have one another’s best interests at heart, you can call yourself a family and we really work hard at that.”

He says his mother, Doreen, who passed away in 2015, at the age of 62, “was big about making my dad celebrate our team and have fun and just create this really close-knit vibe,” which is part of the City Furniture brand.

Andrew says it’s important that the people who work for the company know that they are part of the family. He cites the example that he and Deanna make sure to host monthly events at their home, inviting associates from every department—25 at least each time—to come and be celebrated.

“We work together, we spend a lot of time together, we go through tough times together, like we did during COVID, and we celebrate together. We all like each other and it feels familial,” he says, adding that all this creates a snowball effect that trickles down to the customer.

“If you take care of your people and you treat them right, then they understand what the company is all about, wha’’s important . . . In turn, they will treat each other right and then the customers . . . It’s all about values. Our company values are very aligned with who we are. It’s very much about trust and respect.”

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