John Gabbert

CEO
Room & Board

John Gabbert looked at his family’s eponymous furniture store and saw the future of retailing. His vision extended beyond furniture to include stylish casual home accessories such as blankets, picture frames and baskets. In 1980, he resigned as Gabbert’s president and launched Room & Board. Today, the company operates 14 stores in eight states and Washington, D.C., with a focus on American-made (90 percent), exclusive (95 percent) products. “We don’t believe in fast growth,” says Gabbert, who projects 2014 revenues of $370 million. “Then our small American manufacturers would have to grow fast, which would put them at risk.”