Scott Shuptrine Interiors
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, April 26, 2013
With the opening of the new Scott Shuptrine Interiors here in March, Art Van Furniture aims to take the dominant space in southeast Michigan's luxury home furnishings market.
The $3 million, 13,000-square-foot flagship store - carved out of parking space underneath the retailer's existing full-line-store and featuring a separate entrance as well as interior access to the 45,000- square-foot Art Van showroom - is the product of more than a year and a half of planning. It's serving as the re-launch pad for the upscale retail brand Art Van acquired years ago.
The Van Elslander family - led by Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Warren, Mich.- based Top 100 company Art Van - acquired the Shuptrine business in 1986. It closed the three stores in 2002, citing a desire to focus on the core business.
Art Van recently reintroduced the upscale brand in approximately 5,500-square-foot galleries within its full-line showrooms in Warren, Grand Rapids and Petoskey, Mich.
But the new Royal Oak flagship is leading the company into new, richer high-end territory.
The store features 60 room vignettes from more than 40 new and existing suppliers. Roughly a third of the settings will change out on a seasonal basis, and the retailer has designated 26 room settings for placement in the three other Scott Shuptrine galleries.
Scott Shuptrine is striving to differentiate itself from other players in the high-end niche with more eclectic displays, tightly edited looks from the top lines in luxury, and great values across a wide price spectrum, said Art Van CEO Kim Yost.
There's heavier emphasis on accessories and cross selling consumers between the Art Van and Scott merchandise. And the retailer has pulled out all the stops on marketing with a multi-pronged effort including social media, special events and other surprises designed to connect the dots between affluent consumers, the interior design community and the store
"We have reinvented luxury," Yost said, citing the store's eclectic take on merchandising. He said buyer Terry Browning has been "very daring" in developing and selecting each room setting.
"We've brought color, texture and style to the market like no other," he said. "This is not the same old. You won't come to our store and see independent branded galleries."
Suppliers are mixed and matched within each room setting. The lineup includes existing sources such as Bernhardt, Drexel Heritage and Huntington House and new ones for the retailer including Theodore Alexander, Curate, Elite Leather, Massoud and Natuzzi's high-end line, Natuzzi Italia.
Other key sources include French Heritage, Maitland- Smith and Nathan Anthony.
Upholstery receives special emphasis.
"We want to own the living room," Yost said. "Our goal is for every luxury resident to have upholstered seating - whether it's stationary or motion - bought from Scott, because it is the statement of the home."
The eclectic presentations are one way Yost said Scott Shuptrine is separating itself from the competition and even the Scotts of old.
It's also connecting to the strengths of Art Van in ways the former Scott Shuptrine stores didn't, lowering its operating costs while opening up more goods and services to its customers.
In its PureSleep stores and departments within Art Van, for example, the retailer sells $4,000 and $5,000 mattresses and brands such as Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic and Sleep to Live. PureSleep, which didn't exist in the early Shuptrine days, leans to the luxury side of the bedding business. Art Van now has the ability to take Scott customers into PureSleep and further build that high-end ticket.
There's also cross-selling with other Art Van departments selling youth bedroom, outdoor furniture and flooring.
The corporate connection between Art Van and Scott Shuptrine makes both more efficient, Yost said.
"All the back end is now shared with Art Van," he said. "Distribution, logistics, supply chain, all the HR, payroll accounts payable and receivable. We are benefi tting from all the synergies of the back end."
But Yost said the most important new component is probably the brand building and unusual marketing the retailer is rolling out.
Within the first couple of weeks of the Royal Oak opening, the retailer held three social events that drew hundreds of affluent consumers. Two were tied to the grand opening. A third celebrated Art Van's $1 million contribution and other donors to the Forgot-ten Harvest food recue program.
Yost promised this is just the beginning. The company has hired JR Turnbull Communications to coordinate a marketing and community outreach effort that includes new events in Scott Shuptrine locations every couple of weeks.
"You get a fair affluent audience of principals, CEOs, presidents, the decision makers" at such events, Yost said. And the Royal Oak location has amenities to serve and entertain them: a piano at the foot of the staircase, a dining area and bar, and a boardroom for group meeting or huddles between consumer and designers.
"We created the space to be very social," he said.
Scott Shuptrine has launched a website and social media campaign that ties back to the store events and the photographs taken at them, "so people will get a chance to see themselves, with their friends in social activities," Yost said. "Kind of a Facebook, Twitter meets dotcom kind of thing."
It also has partnered with two popular luxury magazines in the region, The Hour and Ambassador, and will host store events in conjunction with the publications and their mailing lists.
Scott Shuptrine also has reached out to the area's luxury Realtors, and under a new program called Design Link has partnered with area independent designers with the goal of becoming "their residence for events," and go-to place for products, services and fulfillment.
Yost said Art Van Elslander has been the driving force behind the new efforts with the familiar name in luxury home furnishings.
More Scott Shuptrine galleries are planned for Art Van stores in Novi, Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor, Mich., next year. When the build out is completed, the retailer expects the luxury brand to do about $20 million in annual sales.
A transitional living room vignette coordinates a Massoud sofa with Lucite legs with a John Richard exposed wood chairs, a Curate Demi Lune chest, a Momeni plum rug and other items from sources including Bradburn, Arteriors and French Heritage.
Curate’s Leeward bed and side table and a barrel club chair from Tomlinson lend a modern air to the new Scott Shuptrine Interiors.
An elaborate staircase of metal, glass, copper and wood leads to the upper level Art Van Furniture showroom.
Kim Yost, left, and Art Van Elslander, Art Van Furniture, Warren, Mich.; Nancy Jones, director of Scott Shuptrine Interiors; and Charles Oglesby, design director for Scott Shuptrine, Royal Oak, Mich., cut the ribbon on the 13,000-square-foot fl agship Scott Shuptrine store in Royal Oak.
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