To Southeastern Galleries’ Rick Cooper, Quality and Service Go Hand in Hand
Rick Cooper has been in the furniture business long enough to know what it takes to be successful. In addition to offering his clients the highest quality products available, he says customer service is one of the most important reasons Southeastern Galleries continues to thrive in the competitive furniture industry.
“Our quality sets us apart. The products we offer our clients are superior in just about every way to the competition,” says Rick, senior vice president at Southeastern Galleries. “But we also provide great customer service. We will go out of our way to make a customer happy.”
As an example, Rick cites an instance when a customer purchased several pieces from the Summer Classic line for an upcoming special occasion. When Cooper realized the furniture was not going to arrive on time due to unforeseen circumstances, he arranged for Southeastern Galleries to loan the customer furniture for the weekend.
“When we feel like we’ve let somebody down, we try to make it up to them,” says Rick, who has been with Southeastern Galleries for 40 years.
Rick grew up on the Charleston peninsula during what he describes as “a very nice time for a kid.” He and his identical twin brother played games such as kick the can when they were younger, and later enjoyed water-related activities like skiing, surfing and crabbing.
He earned a bachelor’s in business at The Citadel, and his Master of Business Administration at the University of South Carolina.
Rick explains that his job at Southeastern Galleries is to make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. His expertise is in rugs, and he shows off his vast knowledge daily as the company’s primary rug buyer and manager of their specialty imported rug department. In fact, Rick is involved in almost every aspect of the business, he adds, from advertising to going to market twice a year to determine which brands and styles of furniture will be available to Southeastern’s clients. He also handles “a lot of the little details,” he says.
But his main job, he says, is to make certain customers are happy. And how does he do that?
“I try to talk to them and find out what they like and what they don’t like. With that in mind, I do my best to make the customer feel comfortable in an inviting environment,” he says.
He adds that he enjoys his job because it gives him the opportunity to meet people and “become somewhat of a friend, which is kind of nice.” Sometimes he likes to sit on a comfortable sofa in the showroom with clients, chat with them “and find out what their story is,” he says.
When he’s not working, Rick enjoys playing golf, though he doesn’t spend as much time on the course as he once did. Instead, he explains that Ellie, his 4-year-old Yorkie/Maltese mix, demands much of his attention when he’s not at Southeastern Galleries.
He says he also enjoys activities with his wife, Elisa. The things they do together include cooking, walking the Ravenel Bridge, and just hanging out with friends. The Coopers have three sons.