• Clint Engel

The Dump to enter Windy City

An artist’s rendering ofAn artist’s rendering of the Lombard, Ill., store slated to open Aug. 30, in the former Great Indoors space at South Highland Avenue and Butterfield Road.
CHICAGO - Top 100 company Haynes Furniture will open its first Chicagoland The Dump furniture outlet in the suburb of Lombard, Ill., and its 11th overall later this summer.
     The 134,000-squarefoot store - its largest in the chain - is slated to open Aug. 30 in the former Great Indoors space at South Highland Avenue and Butterfield Road as the retailer follows another Top 100 company, Art Van, into the marketplace.
     At the same time, the Virginia Beach, Va.-based retailer will open its largest warehouse to go with The Dump store - a 215,000-square-foot facility in Addison, Ill., about five miles away.
     The mid priced to high-end retailer is in an aggressive hiring mode, with plans to bring on 250 people, including more than 100 people in sales, operations, management and stock positions. It's looking for first year sales of $75 million, and the investment- including lease values, inventory, build-out and other costs - will be roughly $40 million, said E.J. Strelitz, president and CEO of Haynes and its The Dump division
     "The August 30th sneak preview of our Lombard location marks a major milestone for The Dump and demonstrates our long-term commitment to expanding The Dump brand nationally," he said.
     "A big part of The Dump's remarkable growth is based on strategically selecting cost effective, centralized locations within major marketplaces, which is why we selected Lombard as the 11thhome for The Dump," he said in a release.
     "This strategy has proven to be a winner in every market The Dump has entered since 1985."
     Haynes is No. 29 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 listing with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales last year of $269 million at 15 stores. In addition to five full service Haynes showrooms, the retailer operates The Dump in Hampton, Norfolk and Richmond, Va.,; Langhorne and Oaks, Pa.; Turnersville, N.J.; Dallas; Houston, Atlanta, and Tempe, Ariz.
     The discount-oriented The Dump stores are opened Fridays through Sundays with occasional extended openings on holidays with a merchandise mix that includes discounted overstocks, one of- a-kinds, factory sell-outs, showroom models, and design prototypes.
     In an interview with Furniture/Today, Strelitz said the retailer intends to tackle the Chicago market with this one store, located near the popular Oakbrook Center mall and midway between Chicago's northern and southern suburbs.
     He noted that Chicago is ground central for "the whole lifestyle craze that's sweeping the industry," popularized by retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. So one of The Dump's main efforts, he said, will be developing displays and merchandising that speak to that theme.
     The store also will feature fixtures and other architectural elements that reflect the historical neighborhoods, such as Lincoln Park, popular with young affluent consumers in the market. In the bedding department, a 35-foot tall wall visible from the front entrance will feature blue waves reminiscent of Lake Michigan.
     "We're doing a lot to try to tie into the Chicago vibe and be part of the community from day one," Strelitz said.
     The Lombard store will feature furnishings with discounts of 30 to 80 percent, added Randi Strelitz, executive vice president.
     Key suppliers to The Dump include Tempur Sealy, Serta, Aireloom and Paramount in bedding as well ask Old Hickory Tannery, Klaussner, Legacy Classic Aspenhome, Millenia USA, Broughton, USA Premium Leather, Natuzzi and Flexsteel in case goods and upholstery.
     With the recent entrance of Art Van as well as several bedding chains here or on the way, and now The Dump, Chicago suddenly appears to be getting crowded with top home furnishings competition. When asked about this, Strelitz said he can't speak to the sudden surge in sleep shops, but said Chicago has "seen some carnage," with the loss of retailers such as Wickes, Bay Furniture, Homemakers and Plunkett Furniture.
     The retail sales statistics he's seen "show Chicago has really taken a hit since 2007, even more than the rest of the country," Strelitz said.
     "That's obviously hurt a lot of companies up there, and we're looking for a bounce. We just think it's a huge market, and I would think everybody is looking at it as a bit underserved right now."
     In a release, Strelitz said the secret of The Dump's success is, "based on our unique retail business model, which is focused on delivering the best savings for our customers."
     The weekend-only hours, for instance, allow The Dump to keep costs down "as well as refresh and replenish the entire inventory before the weekend rush."
     Strelitz said this demonstrates the company understands its customer, "who prefers to buy furnishings with other family members or friends, making the weekend an ideal time to shop. Plus, shoppers can expect to find something new every weekend at The Dump, which attracts a high level of increased traffic among our loyal customer base."
     He added that it's also a plus for salespeople who typically make more money in a shorter, busier period under The Dump's setup of $10 an hour plus commissions that increase as volume increases. Strelitz noted that an incoming top writer from another furniture stores makes about $60,000 on $1.4 million in annual sales. At the dump, based on the same results, this salesperson would make about $110,000, he estimated.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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