KANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the first retailers to open in Kansas City, Kansas’ new Village West development around the Kansas Speedway was Nebraska Furniture Mart in 2003. The furniture store will celebrate its 20th anniversary September 20.
Cabella's opened before NFM and is now a Bass Pro Shops. The Great Wolf Lodge and Legends Field also opened in 2003. The Legends Outlets and Children's Mercy Park opened years later.
Throughout the 20 years, several employees have found a career with NFM. Katie Wedekind and Tera Martynowski worked as cashiers on the store’s opening day.
“I survived the craziness of our opening and have been able to work my way up, over, and around into all different areas,” Wedekind explained.
She’s now a campaign and media relations manager for NFM, a position which didn’t exist 20 years ago. The store also now goes by NFM, as its footprint has expanded outside of Nebraska where it was founded in 1937.
Ricky Stidham, who started with NFM in Kansas City, now works at its Dallas-area location as a general manager of customer service and cashiering.
"There's just been a ton of opportunity for growth," Stidham said of his time with NFM.
In the 20 years since the Kansas City store opened, online shopping has expanded, but the retail store still attracts shoppers to explore its 12 football fields of furniture, mattresses, barbecue grills, workout equipment, electronics and more.
Twenty years after starting as a cashier, Martynowski is now a human resources manager. She helps other employees chart their career path.
“Now that I’m in a leadership role, I also get to see them develop and watch them achieve their next steps,” Martynowski said. “It’s pretty exciting to be part of that.”
Ethan Stover rose through the ranks. He started as a salesperson in the electronics department and is now the chief retail officer. He’s now based in Omaha, NFM’s headquarters. His job is to set the strategy for brick and mortar stores and amplify customers’ voices in the process. Stover said coworkers and loyalty from the company have fostered his passion for the job.
“It comes with a lot of hard work, but it’s been so rewarding,” Stover said.
NFM is celebrating its anniversary with a sale. The company made a list of 20 items you may not know it sells in honor of its anniversary:
- Beer and wine
- Water Heaters
- Chicken Wings
- Chainsaws and power tools
- Snowblowers and lawnmowers
- Riding cars for children
- Swimming pools
- Fitness equipment
- Electric bikes
- Upright arcade games
- Barbie dolls
- Ceiling fans
- Pet accessories
- Fake plants and trees
- Countertops, sinks, toilets and faucets
- Slime and other messy toys
- Soap and laundry detergent