Furnishing Life’s Best Memories for 20 Years

Fort Mill, South Carolina – May 2023 marks 20 years that Broad River Retail (BRR) has proudly served guests at Ashley locations throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. A company that began with one Ashley store, a converted Best Buy in a small town just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, has grown into one of the largest and fastest-growing independently owned and operated Ashley Store licensees in the nation.
“It feels amazing,” Jonathan Ishee, Broad River Retail co-founder said. “Broad River Retail started as an idea, and with a lot of work, has grown into something much bigger than we could have imagined.”

Broad River Beginnings

Broad River Retail’s co-founders, Jonathan Ishee and Jackson Moore were pursuing their MBAs at Vanderbilt when they spoke to Ishee’s uncle, Chip Miskelly, President of Miskelly Furniture, one of the top retail furniture companies in America.

“In May of 2002, we met with business owners in various industries – trying to discover a sector that we thought had upside,” Jackson Moore, Broad River Retail co-founder said. “Our last meeting was with Chip Miskelly. We wanted to ask him about the consumer financing side of the furniture business. Chip suggested we pursue a licensed territory and told us he had a great relationship with the Ashley Furniture owners. In August of 2002, we met an Ashley Furniture owner at the Tupelo Furniture Market, and the rest is history.”
Ishee and Moore celebrated the grand opening of Broad River’s first Ashley store in Pineville, North Carolina, in May 2003. 
“It was a feeling of accomplishment, but the real work was ahead,” Moore said. “I was excited but also fearful. I kept asking myself, ‘What if not enough customers show up?’”I remember the day well,” Ishee said. “Jackson and I had left grad school a little early. The grand opening was the same day as Vanderbilt’s graduation. Our friends were calling us, asking where we were. We were a little busy and had to get to work.”

Ownership Over The Years

Moore and Ishee began as 50/50 partners, until 2008, when Moore sold a majority of his company stock. He sold the remainder of his stock in 2014. Ishee continued as BRR’s President and CEO until June 2015 when Charlie Malouf became the top executive. Ishee moved into the Executive Chairman role for three years until 2018 when he sold all his company stock. Malouf had been the Chief Operating Officer and a Managing Partner at Broad River Retail since he joined the company in 2005 and still is President and CEO today.
Malouf, Manny Rodrigues, Broad River Retail’s current Chief Operating Officer, and Charlie Workmon, the President and CEO of Riverstone Logistics, acquired the entirety of Broad River’s stock in 2018.

The Bold Reset

When Charlie Malouf began his tenure as President and CEO in June 2015, Broad River Retail faced challenging times. Struggling with a switch in retail software, a bloated inventory, and a shrinking pool of cash, BRR entered a pivotal period.
“We had to acknowledge the truth about Broad River’s current state while remaining faithful,” Malouf said. “We knew we could figure it out, but our team had to stay bold and resilient.”
These demanding times set Broad River Retail in motion for a time of creative disruption. BRR embarked on a “100-Day Challenge,” introducing profound shifts throughout the company.
“We called this the ‘Bold Reset,'” Malouf said. “It was a time of innovation within Broad River. We planted seeds that led to a new era of growth for the company. It is a special and memorable time. I am grateful I had Manny Rodrigues, Charlie Workmon, and hundreds of fellow Memory Makers willing to fight with me.  Collectively, we pulled through and can all take pride in how we turned the company around and set it on a profitable, new course that is still thriving and elevating today.”

Continued Growth

Broad River Retail has continually demonstrated an emphasis on growth, not only for our Memory Makers but for the entire organization. Over the years, Broad River Retail leadership focused on a growth strategy that added stability, primarily fueled by adding new stores and growing to new markets.

From 2003 to 2012, Broad River Retail opened at least one new store a year throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Since 2020, Broad River has acquired or opened eight Ashley Stores, two Ashley Outlets, two distribution centers, a second regional corporate campus, and completed three store relocations. Last fall, BRR announced its largest redevelopment project, a 45,000-square-foot dual-concept Ashley in Salisbury, NC.

“We are thankful to be partnered with Ashley, the top name in furniture,” Manny Rodrigues, Broad River Retail Chief Operating Officer, said. “They are great partners and inspire us daily to continue innovating and pushing forward with purpose.”

Broad River Retail has grown 16% compounded annually from 2009 to 2022. 

Human Capital Mindset

Broad River Retail fundamentally believes in not only furnishing the homes of our guests but also furnishing careers and providing enrichment for our team. 

BRR maintains a desire to grow with and alongside our Memory Makers. A shift in mindset, beginning with renaming our Human Resources department to Human Capital, has been a catalyst in organizational success.
“We are in the people business and win with culture and high-performing teams,” Rodrigues said. “The Human Capital team understands that our team makes Broad River Retail what it is and aspires to be – purposefully led by a group of Memory Makers focused on Furnishing Life’s Best Memories.”

Broad River Retail Today

Today, Broad River Retail is headquartered in Fort Mill, SC, and operates 30 Ashley Stores and Ashley Outlets throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Broad River achieved record-setting sales of $290,000,000 in 2022, and BRR employs over 800 full-time Memory Makers. Broad River Retail thrived in 2022, cutting the ribbon at two new Ashley stores in Southern Pines, NC, and Greenwood, SC, and a new distribution center in Spartanburg, SC. 
BRR continued its momentum with its recognition as Ashley’s 2022 Chairman’s Award. This prestigious recognition is awarded to an organization, regardless of size, for exemplifying all that Ashley would like to be, in a role model licensee, and a great corporate citizen.
“To be honored as the highest performing Ashley Licensee was a beautiful moment,” Rodrigues said. “However, Broad River continues to march forward, knowing we are at the base of the mountain with a focus on continuous improvement and more work to be done.”
Broad River Retail ranked #41 in Furniture Today’s 2023 Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores and was recognized among Furniture Today’s Best Places to Work in 2021 and 2022. The Charlotte Business Journal named BRR one of the 50 fastest-growing private businesses in the Charlotte metro region in 2022.
“Broad River Retail will continue to embrace our purpose of Furnishing Life’s Best Memories,” Malouf said. “We have the responsibility and privilege of being a champion for retail, our people, our communities, our guests, and beyond.”
Broad River Retail provides an in-depth look at what it truly means to furnish life’s best memories through its podcast, Stories from the River. Hosted by Charlie Malouf, episodes focus on the personal experiences of Memory Makers and thought-provoking conversations with difference-makers in our communities. Listen to Stories from the River on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or broadriverretail.com/podcast.

Working Together For Good

Being mindful of its organizational wake, Broad River Retail’s commitment to Furnishing Life’s Best Memories doesn’t stop at furniture – we strive to make a lasting difference in our local communities too.  In 2022, BRR contributed over 1,000 mattresses to Ashley’s Hope to Dream program, donated more than $170,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Susan G. Komen Foundation, and served 885 cumulative volunteer hours in the communities where we live and work.
In 2019, Broad River Retail established The Founders Scholarship Fund to create opportunities for Memory Makers and students affiliated with BRR.  The fund’s mission is to provide opportunities for students to create their best memories and thrive without financial burden. In 2023, Broad River Retail awarded over $75,000 in scholarships.

For More Information

Tyler Trill, Communications Manager

Broad River Retail