Kimmerly Messick is not one to rest on her numerous laurels. In fact, the Bethany Resort Furnishings founder is not one to rest, period. Her unmatched success in the industry since her 1995 opening is due to many factors, but none more so than her insistence on constant evolution and improvement.
“A business is like a person,” advised Kimmerly, who will celebrate the 20th anniversary of her flagship business next year. “No matter how good it may already be, there is always room for improvement. The way to make sure it thrives
over the years and in all economies is to constantly refine — and even redefine — it. Always look for a better way to do the same things you’ve been doing, and never settle for anything less than the best you think it can be. Complacency is the enemy of any well-run business, and for as long as I run this business, it will never stand still.”
As part of that self-imposed mandate, Kimmerly has taken several key steps to make sure that 2014 sees significant enhancements to the increasingly vast operation that is Bethany Resort Furnishings. To begin with, she, accessory buyer Debbie Minner and her staff regularly attend national furniture markets and trade shows in order to keep up with all the latest styles and trends in the home-design and furnishings industries. She also continues to expand her product lines, to include more variety, styles and price points than ever. At this point, BRF boasts more than $2 million in in-stock inventory that is ready for immediate delivery — which BRF recently upgraded to seven days a week. They even have a brand-new slipcover program, having become an exclusive dealer for Rowe washables.
But Kimmerly cares about how her customers sleep, too — even though her notorious dedication to her business makes sure that she usually doesn’t get enough of it herself. The result is that BRF is a premier mattress dealer that has recently increased its roster of both manufacturers and selections.
BRF’s clearance center in Fenwick Island, meanwhile, is also enhanced, with more great deals on more products than ever thanks to the abundant supply it receives from both BRF’s retail facility and now Donaway Furniture in Ocean City, which Kimmerly acquired in 2013.
Donaway’s first opened its doors in 1954 as a small furniture store in Berlin. Over the years it became known not only for its retail sales but also for furnishing model homes and for its many successful hotel and timeshare sales, and family-owned hotel projects. Through the many facets, style trends and ever-changing economies over the years, Donaway’s
remained strong and steady, largely due to a constant named Vernon Davis. With an amazing 46-year tenure, Vernon ultimately assumed the role of Donaway’s de facto patriarch, respected as much for his reliable judgment as his vast experience. Under his leadership, with guidance from Billy Esham, Donaway’s grew from a small furniture store into a greatly expanded community institution.
The traditions and practices established by the venerable Donaway Furniture, today managed by Kim’s brother, Kevin, eloquently illustrate that while dynamism is the key to a business that thrives over time, continuity definitely has its place, too. And nowhere is that tenet better demonstrated than in BRF’s long-term and loyal staff. Controller/CFO Janet Keiser, for example, has been with BRF for 18 years, as has Dawn Achilles-Smith. Sales manager Keith Nichols has a solid dozen years under his belt. Michael Denofrio is a designer who’s been with them for 10 years, as has marketing /media manager Kelly Willis. Designers Karin Hansen and CindyRae Myers, as well as many other dedicated employees, enjoy eight years’ tenure with Kimmerly’s company. They are just some of the many success stories included among Bethany Resort Furnishing’s highly-trained and professional 50-person staff.
Roundly acknowledged as a leader in the business community, Kimmerly takes great pride in the relationships she’s built over the past 20 years — not just with her dedicated staff and not just with her loyal customers, many of whom have become friends, but also with her manufacturers, who often call her before anyone else in the region when great deals and great new products come available.
“Relationship-building is important in business, of course, but it’s also what I enjoy most about being in business,” Kimmerly shared. “I’m really a people person, so meeting and getting to know new folks is something I’ve always cherished and look forward to every day.”
Another staple of BRF — which their ocean of customers has really come to rely upon — is their large and full-service design center. While it still offers free in-home consultations, the design center now carries a variety of flooring options.
The team of certified designers maintains full knowledge of unit layout and floor plans on each project, positioning them perfectly to counsel new and existing customers from every angle, including countertops, flooring and fixtures. That’s the central reason BRF has enjoyed such unsurpassed success in the Delaware and Maryland beach communities, where they have presided as the premier design center for nearly all the condominium projects built in the past 15 years. Ocean City’s Gateway Grand and 1111 Edgewater, Watermark in Bethany Beach and Lighthouse Cove, above the new Hyatt in Dewey Beach’s Ruddertown, are just a handful of BRF’s ongoing and very successful projects.
None of this, Kimmerly is quick to point out, would have been possible without the continued support of a robust and loyal community, which has favored her and BRF with their patronage for two decades. This is a fact that the dynamic entrepreneur says she has never and will never take for granted.
“There isn’t a community in the country I would rather serve and be part of than this one,” said Kimmerly, who has not only raised thousands of dollars for local charities and organizations but also offers discounts to her customers who
do likewise. “I’ve always been so grateful for their business and friendship that I always consider new ways to give back to it. I feel it’s the least I can do.”
Though there are too many to list in their totality, some of Kimmerly’s favorite worthy causes include the Ocean City VFW, the annual Poor Girls Open, Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the PRMC outpatient center, which, in acknowledgment and appreciation of her generosity, bears a plaque in the name of Kimmerly’s father, Robert “Clearwater” Messick. She’s also participated in multiple Extreme Home Makeover projects on
behalf of worthy locals and has lent her promotional and financial support to many civic endeavors, including the
recently commissioned Ocean City dolphins sculpture.