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Rising Stars: Meet Allan Hicks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allan Hicks. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Nashville Murphy Beds was started by the founder, Billy Simon. He had come to town in the early 80s and had a flourishing career as a songwriter until early 2000 when free music downloading wrecked the industry. During that time, Billy was looking for opportunities to subsidize his income by taking various jobs.

While seeking employment, he remembered seeing Murphy Beds in the old sitcom shows of his youth and began searching for those in the Nashville market. Realizing that Murphy beds were a hard-to-find product, not found in furniture stores, he decided to build a shop in his backyard and make his own.

Soon he created his first Murphy bed. Shortly thereafter friends were asking for one, and Billy was fulfilling these requests one bed at a time. As with many startups, income has to often be supplemented, which led Billy to General Dynamics. It was there in 2014 while working with a trusted friend and co-worker, Pete Strayer, that they began laying out a business plan for Nashville Murphy Beds, during coffee breaks.

Billy was convinced that in a growing city, like Nashville, murphy beds would be in high demand at some point and he wanted to answer that call. Pete agreed and put his website design and marketing skills to work to bring awareness to Nashville Murphy Beds.

Slowly, but surely, the news was spreading and people’s needs for spare bedrooms were being solved consistently by their excellent Murphy bed solution. A few years later, the time came when growth required help and in 2019, another trusted friend, Allan Hicks, on a similar path was leaving his corporate past behind for the scent of sawdust and fulfillment of craftsmanship.

With his business acumen, Allan joined forces to help take Nashville Murphy Beds to the next level. Today, Nashville Murphy Beds employs several other craftsmen who to like work with wood and enjoy the pleasures of creating handcrafted, quality products.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Growing a business has not been easy. Probably the biggest challenge has been space. The original shop was only 300 square feet. It didn’t take long to outgrow the space.

We’ve had to build onto the shop in stages as we can, and we’ve been able to do it without taking any loans. Some of the other challenges are more minor and usually revolve around the installation of the beds. Sometimes we find ourselves installing the bed on a concrete wall or one with plaster.

These types of wall structures can slow down an installation, but they have never kept us from being able to complete an installation.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Nashville Murphy Beds prides itself on being a customized Murphy bed provider. We want to empower the customer to create their designs. Most people have a creative streak in them, and we enjoy seeing their ideas and designs and bringing those to life.

When we visit with a customer, we ask about what they envision their bed to look like. How are they going to use their bed? Is it just for occasional guests? Is it a daily bed? What is the flow of the room? We feel it is very important to help the customer with their design and to ask good questions because the bed should not only solve a space problem, but it should reflect their style and taste.

Probably our most proud achievement was the first big buildout we did in a small room on a high rise in the Gulch. This bed is featured on the front of our website with a video from the customer. She wanted a desk with two separate cabinets included with her bed.

There are several features that were added to this bed, including stained surface tops on the painted bed and cabinets. The customer was great to work with and has shared her experience with several neighbors generating additional sales for us.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I have come to learn that you don’t know what you don’t know. I, Allan, value input from other business owners, even if it is unrelated to Murphy beds or construction.

I find that networking is probably one of the best things any business owner can do. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a networking club meeting, but just sitting down with other professionals over coffee and learning from their successes and challenges is invaluable.

I welcome anyone to contact me for a time to sit down and share stories. I usually walk away with a valuable lesson learned.

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