AMERICAN FURNITURE WAREHOUSE
Jake Jabs is the President and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse.
The fourth of nine children, Jabs was born and raised in rural Montana, and his parents were immigrants from Russia and Poland. Jabs credits his family for providing him a strong work ethic, a sense of family and a love of music. In fact, this long-time musician’s entrepreneurial career began in guitar sales. Then, after a stint selling electronics in the early 1950s, Jabs’ first serious venture into the furniture business came in 1968 when he opened Mediterranean Galleries, a high-end furniture store with locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Billings, Montana.
Five years later, the Mediterranean trend in home furnishings ran its course and Jabs chose to close the Galleries. Not long after, Jabs came across an opportunity that would become his life. In 1975, he purchased a one-location, struggling furniture business, called American Furniture Company – which he then renamed to American Furniture Warehouse.
Under Jabs’ leadership, American Furniture Warehouse has expanded into a fourteen-store operation that includes 12 stores in Colorado and 2 stores in Arizona, that has experienced a remarkable growth trend over the years. As he has been since the beginning, Jabs is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and also oversees the company’s team of buyers. Today, American Furniture Warehouse is one of the top retail furniture companies in the U.S. and one of the largest privately-held businesses in Colorado.
The self-taught businessman credits American Furniture’s success to “the basic American philosophy of hard work, long hours, self confidence, the courage to take risks, and the desire to give value and service to every customer.”
An active member of the community and philanthropist, Jabs lends his support to a number of non-profit organizations. He serves as National Vice-President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and is actively involved with many not for profit organizations in Colorado.
Throughout his career as a major furniture importer as well as in his early years in the Armed Services, Jabs has traveled throughout more than 50 countries and has made a lifelong study of various forms of government and business. He often speaks to high school and college students on topics such as the basics of business and the keys to success.
In addition, he has written numerous articles, including “Free Enterprise and the Land of Opportunity” and “We Must Save Small Business,” as well as articles on Russia and Poland. His autobiography, “An American Tiger,” was published in 2000 and is available online at www.afwonline.com or at any of American Furniture Warehouse’s locations as well as his latest book published in 2011, Thriving in Tough Times.
Retail CEOs Reveal their Biggest Challenges…and how they deal with them A panel of leading retail furniture CEOs will discuss the critical issues facing the industry. This all retail panel will provide in-depth insights into the changes facing the furniture industry and the people who will shape its future.