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Clint Engel

With Scott Shuptrine, Art Van aiming to attract new customers

 An elaborate staircase made of metal, glass, copper and wood leads to the upper level Art Van Furniture showroom. “We wanted the staircase to be an iconic architectural element to the design,” said Art Van CEO Kim Yost.An elaborate staircase made of metal, glass, copper and wood leads to the upper level Art Van Furniture showroom. “We wanted the staircase to be an iconic architectural element to the design,” said Art Van CEO Kim Yost.

ROYAL Oak, Mich. — With the opening of Art Van Furniture's Scott Shuptrine Interiors flagship store here and the relaunch of the luxury retail brand, the Top 100 company is aiming high to broaden its customer base.

"The primary customer that we are going to target is a customer who wants luxury furniture and wants to be supported by a designer," said Art Van CEO Kim Yost.

That's one of four consumer subsets Scott Shuptrine is going after in the new 13,000-square-foot store attached to the upper-level Art Van here, as well as at the smaller in-store Scott galleries in Art Van stores in Warren, Grand Rapids and Petoskey, Mich.

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The other target customers include those who currently shop Art Van but are looking for ways "to elevate their home" with select luxury items," he said - through the purchase of a sofa, for instance, or maybe a bed, accent chairs or accessories. The new store and galleries are making this possible through tightly edited vignettes of upper-end goods from sources such as Bernhardt, Drexel Heritage, Huntington House, Theodore Alexander, Curate, Elite Leather, Massoud and Natuzzi's Natuzzi Italia line.

Another target consumer is the one Yost calls the "desire customer," or the customer who first hunts down a great upscale-oriented designer and that designer then takes the customer around to shop or does the shopping for her.

"They're looking for a designer to give them the complete look," he said.

"So we're going to be promoting," Yost said. "We will be signaling out our talented designers. Through targeted marketing, people are going to find out more and more about the talent we have at Scott."

The fourth target customer will come through the retailer's work in building relationships with independent area designers. To do this, Scott Shuptrine has developed a program it calls Design Link. Yost wouldn't elaborate on the intricacies, but said the aim is to become the go-to place for product fulfillment and services for independent interiors designers as well a place to host their events and meetings with their affluent clients.

The retailer already is working hard to woo the first three types of customers, but the intensified focus on outside designers through Design Link represents a new opportunity and a new customer base, he said.

An article on the new store appeared in The High Road special report starting on page 52 of the April 20 edition of Furniture/Today.

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