People to Watch: Manny Sciberras, Morris Furniture

People to Watch: Manny Sciberras, Morris Furniture

Manny Sciberras, president, Morris Furniture

Manny Sciberras, the new president of the Dayton, Ohio-based retailer, brings to the table more than two decades of experience in retail with Art Van and Ashley Global Retail. He also brings with him lessons learned from a number of industry luminaries while working at those renowned brands.

Now, he’s working alongside CEO Larry Klaben, the third-generation leader of Morris Furniture.

Sciberras joined Morris in November 2018 as vice president of sales and merchandising and has 26 years of leadership experience. Starting his career from the sales floor, Sciberras quickly took to the furniture industry.

“I started in sales at Art Van,” he said. “I moved to Michigan from Florida and was looking for a sales job. I started on the sales floor in Ann Arbor and didn’t know what to expect and fell in love with it pretty quickly. The rest is history.

“Once you’ve seen the management and culture at Art Van and how they valued their associates, you felt like you belonged. You didn’t feel like a number,” he continued. “I loved the culture part first. Then I started falling in love with the product itself and began to get a passion for the product.”

At Art Van, Sciberras took to heart the way founder Art Van Elslander treated employees.

“From Mr. Van, it was all about the people. He had a saying that buildings were simply brick and mortar, it’s the people who make the business. It’s about being people-focused and sharing their why and aligning it with our why,” Sciberras said.

At Ashley, where he worked on the retail side, he sharpened his business acumen thanks to working under Ron and Todd Wanek and others.

“From the Waneks, it was understanding profitability and what it takes to run a profitable operation; being lean and efficient while maximizing productivity through inspiration,” Sciberras said. “Not through fear, but empowerment in bringing people along the journey. Understanding the business side was really helpful.”

Another major influence in Sciberras’ career at Ashley was Ben Thorud, senior vice president of Ashley HomeStore, Ltd. “If I look back at my career, I’d put him among my top three influencers.”

And it’s by standing on the shoulders of those leaders that Sciberras will chart Morris’ future. He says there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the Top 100 retailer’s future.

“The opportunity is growth; not only growth within the same stores, but also growth in new locations. There’s incremental growth, and then there’s the additional growth with new locations in the demographics we serve. Those are the things I’m focused on,” Sciberras said.

“The challenge is going to be about talent. There’s a war on talent toda,y and we’re feeling it as everybody else is feeling it. The good news is it becomes more than about pay when you join a company like ours. You get that family culture.

“We’re a 74-years-young company that’s a startup,” he said. “We’re reinventing who we are through our associates.”

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