Sheely Takes Center Stage at President’s Roundtable

NORTH LIMA, Ohio – When Sherry Sheely returns this morning to her office at Sheely’s Furniture & Appliance Co., she knows her inbox will be full, her phone will be ringing.

On Saturday, within minutes of her conversation with President Donald J. Trump during a roundtable in Cleveland carried live by some cable news networks and CSpan, calls and emails started coming into the store from “people all over the country,” she says.

Sheely was one of six Ohio residents invited to meet with the president to discuss tax reform. In February the 66-year-old family business announced that “in anticipation of a better business climate and the passage of the new tax reform bill, more than 140 eligible employees will receive one-time cash bonuses” – $1,000 for full-time employees, $500 for part-timers.

Unbeknown to Sheely until Tuesday – when a call came into the store from the White House – press coverage of the bonuses had caught the attention of the president’s staff.

“A whirlwind” followed with more calls from the White House, security clearances and “only four days to prepare,” she says. “The thought that you were going to sit on stage with the president of the United States was a daunting feeling. And at first I thought, ‘Am I going to be able to do this?’ ”

With her husband, Dale Sheely Jr., watching in the audience, she told Trump that when he was elected, they decided to move forward with the addition of a 4,500-square-foot “Sheely’s Bargain Center” that will open in the next few weeks.

She described the furniture and appliance store — founded by her father-in-law “in 1952 with a pickup truck and a hot water heater — as “truly the American Dream success story.”

Two years ago the  store, with $34 million in annual sales, was named the nation’s No. 1 independent furniture retailer by a trade association, a distinction she credited to “our 148 awesome employees.”

One of those employees, Chantell Strawhecker, joined Sheely on stage and related how the $1,000 bonus she received helped pay medical bills her family would not have owed, she told Trump, were it not for passage of “Obamacare.”

Sheely and Strawhecker’s comments followed remarks by a couple who reside in Hubbard, Sharlene and Kevin Thornton, who told how he lost his job when the former RG Steel in Warren closed. Today he has a good job with another company that is expanded and his take-home pay is $200 more than before the tax cuts.

The president’s visit to Cleveland included a political fundraiser and endorsement of U.S. Rep. James Renacci who is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

In concluding her remarks, Sheely thanked the president “for making furniture great again and for making America great again.

“I want to encourage you to stay the course,” she continued. “If you ever have any time of discouragement, I want you to realize there are millions of Americans across the country who pray for you, your safety and your family.”

Sheely’s encouragement drew the most applause at the roundtable, according to Jeff Hedrich, the CEO of Prodigal Media – the advertising agency for Sheely’s — who accompanied the Sheelys to Cleveland.

“A lot of people came up to her after the roundtable and thanked her,” Hedrich says.

“That’s what people really wanted to hear,” Sheely says.

“The president was so gracious. He puts you at ease. He was calm and not pretentious, so down to earth – just like he was your neighbor,” she says.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Pictured at top: Sherry Sheely and Chantell Strawhecker addressed President Trump at the roundtable Saturday in Cleveland.

WATCH VIDEO of the roundtable

 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.