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Complex combines stores

Near theNear the entrance to the 42,000-square-foot Furniture Mart, the retailer shows its upholstery offering from suppliers such as England, Cheers, Futura, HTL International, Fusion, Ashley, Best, Lane, Homestretch and Southern Motion.
ELK RIVER, Minn. - Furniture Outlets USA has completed the conversion of its former liquidation center here into a home furnishings complex featuring a 32,000-square-foot Ashley Furniture HomeStore, a 42,000-square-foot multi-line Furniture Mart and a Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts store.
     The Sioux Falls, S.D.- based retailer also has similar Furniture Mart/Home- Store combos in Medford, Shakopee and St. Cloud, Minn., and in Sioux Falls, although the leased Jo-Ann Fabrics element is new.
     "The concept works well for us," said President Gordy Wallenstein. "It gives us great exposure, having both stores in one location, and gives our customers the best selection ... enabling us to offer all of Ashley Furniture's product as well as a full-line furniture store for customers desiring other brands."
     The new Mart section includes a 3,500-square-foot Mattress Mart area, with bedding from Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic and Restonic; and a 5,000-square-foot Youth Mart youth bedroom area with goods from Ashley's Signature Design line, Aspenhome, New Classic, Legacy Classic and others in a colorful, fun environment, the retailer said.
     Other Mart suppliers include A-America, Agio, Amish Impressions, Cheers, Classic Flame, England, Fusion, Futura, Intercon and Jofran.
     Furniture Outlets Chairman Bill Hinks said the chain is shooting for combined annual sales of about $10 million from the Ashley and Mart store here. The company is in the process of gradually changing the name of its multi-line stores to the Furniture Mart name.

At a ribbonAt a ribbon cutting for the Ashley Furniture HomeStore portion of the new complex are Debbie Rydberg, left, Elk River Chamber of Commerce; Cory Price and Bill Hinks, Furniture Outlets USA, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Mark Kennedy, Furniture Outlets USA Elk River store manager; Jim Heinitz, Sarah Javers and Gordy Wallenstein, Furniture Outlets USA, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Sue Linnemeyer, Furniture Outlets USA, Elk River; and JR Hinks, Furniture Outlets USA, Sioux Falls.
The colorful, 5,000- square-foot Youth Mart inside the Furniture Mart includes goods from Ashley, Aspenhome, New Classic, Legacy Classic and other sources.
The colorful,
The 3,500
The 3,500-square-foot Mattress Mart inside the new Furniture Mart features bedding from vendors Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic and Restonic.
Furniture Outlets USA is using high-efficiency LED lighting in its new Furniture Mart and Ashley Furniture HomeStore complex in Elk River, Minn.

     "I just came back from the Elk River stores and both sides are just amazing," Hinks said, noting that the company installed energy-efficient LED lighting that will save money. He said the system was much more expensive than more traditional lighting, but that the cost was offset in part by thousands of dollars in allowances provided by the local power company for installing it.
     "We thought we would test it in this store and see how it (looked)," he said, adding that he's pleased with the results in both stores, which use slightly different lighting versions.
     Elk River is a competitive market northwest of Minneapolis with a large population of consumers with second homes and lake-area cabins nearby, Wallenstein said.
     "We're trying to give people an opportunity to have a great furniture selection and a great furniture experience without having to go into the city," he had said.
     The family-owned company has 31 furniture stores - including about 15 HomeStores - and one carpet store in the Midwest. They operate under the Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Furniture Mart, Unclaimed Freight Furniture, CarpetOne and Furniture Outlets USA names.
     Furniture Outlets is No. 50 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $110.9 million in 2010.

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