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Broyhill opens first store

Company-owned unit features new lifestyle format

The first company-owned Broyhill Home Collections store has opened here, with the manufacturer introducing a specialty-format twist to its dedicated-store program.

Resembling a mountain lodge and constructed largely from Carolina pine logs, the 20,000-square-foot store aims to appeal to consumers in the area with a narrowly defined lifestyle format.

The lodge look is one of 10 specialty facades Broyhill has developed and introduced to dealers, with architectural elements and furniture styles edited for targeted consumer profiles in various parts of the country.

The specialty looks are options to Broyhill's regular store format.

"This new format in our branded stores program reflects the growing trend of today's consumer interest in shopping at specialty stores," said Dennis Burgette, Broyhill president and CEO.

It's not a typical furniture store, "trying to be everything to everybody," he said. "It sets a tone of excitement and fun for the consumer shopping for furniture."

The Blowing Rock store is a two-level tribute to mountain resort living. Broyhill wooden rockers line a large front porch. Inside, consumers see several settings of the manufacturer's Attic Heirlooms collection in front of a two-story, stacked-stone hearth with working fireplaces.

Light wood floors run through the store. Above the entrance is a rustic antler chandelier.

Broyhill has devoted much of the lower level to its Yorkshire Market, Attic Heirlooms and Charlestowne Square collections. All vignettes are sharply accessorized with accents that fit the rustic lifestyle.

Upstairs, the theme continues but reaches into higher price points and broadens the look a bit with collections including Crosspoint, Canyon Ridge, Madison Court and Vintage World. "Not everyone wants rustic, even in the mountains," said Burgette.

All told, the store shows 15 collections in about 16,000 square feet of selling space. Serviced by the manufacturer's case goods and upholstery factories 12 miles away in Lenoir, the store can offer next-day delivery or pickup in most cases.

Burgette would not disclose Broyhill's investment in the store or projected sales, but said the company expects it will draw from a 100-mile radius and do at least double the industry average of $100 to $110 in sales per square foot.

He also said he's certain the specialty format will beat the sales-per-square-foot performance of the regular format, partly because "the chances of closing a sale are tremendously enhancde provided you've identified your customer properly."

The company says the cost of building the specialty store format is comparable to the regular store format and could actually be lower, considering it employs a more open layout with fewer interior walls.

While the specialty facades are new, Broyhill introduced the dedicated Home Collections store program to retailers almost two years ago, and is on target to have 10 stores by the end of this year.

The company expects to have 40 open by mid-2007.

Two independently owned stores are open now in the Phoenix area, with one each in Tupelo, Miss., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Springfield, Ore. Others are planned for Anderson, Ind., Ottawa, Scarborough, Maine, and Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Except for Blowing Rock, all of the stores open or on tap this year are independently owned and will follow the traditional store format.

But Burgette said interest in the specialty formats is strong and will grow now that the Blowing Rock store is open and retailers can see the presentation firsthand.

"What this shows is the power of the Broyhill product when it is displayed properly," he said.

Broyhill prefers its stores to be dealer-owned, but if it determines it has insufficient market share in a targeted area and can't find a dealer to open a store, the manufacturer will open its own, Burgette said.

He expects all the company-owned stores will fall into one of the specialty formats.

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