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Levin Opens 14th Store

LevinLevin Furniture’s Brian Violi, left, Robert Levin, Tom Zwierzelewski and store manager Mark Beres cut the ribbon on the new 37,000- square-foot store in Avon, Ohio.
AVON, Ohio - Levin Furniture opened a 37,000-square-foot store here this month, its seventh showroom in northeast Ohio and the first of two new stores planned for the year.
Location near Cleveland is 7th in Ohio
     Grand opening festivities at the showroom on Detroit Road included a news event followed by the presentation of $10,000 check to the Cleveland Furniture Bank. During the weekend opening, consumers could register to win gift certificates and other prizes.
     Robert Levin, president of the Smithton, Pa.-based Top 100 company, said the retailer is excited about its first new store in a new location - part of greater Cleveland but west of the city in Lorain County - in several years.
     Designed by Levin's Tom Zwierzelewski, director of store design and merchandising, the new store is smaller than most of Levin's showrooms, which average 70,000 to 75,000 square feet. But it's a direction the retailer has leaned toward recently, since it opened a 53,000-squarefoot Wexford, Pa., showroom that replaced a larger store in late 2009.
     Wexford has been the retailer's top store in sales per square foot, Levin said. "It kind of gave us courage to try a smaller location," he said, adding that the Avon store, a former Linens 'n Things, also was a great real estate opportunity.
     "We thought this was a very good location," he said, noting that it's in an upscale area of greater Cleveland with heavy traffic and high-profile retail neighbors, including Costco.
     He said Levin primarily is offering its best sellers in Avon, but since the furniture vignettes are displayed tighter than usual for the retailer, it has managed to pack more furniture into a smaller space.
LevinLevin Furniture goes for a “cohesive designer look” in the Lifestyle Bundle area of its new Avon, Ohio, showroom. The retailer pulls together living room, bedroom, dining room furniture and accessories to show how the furnishings would look in the consumer’s home.
     Among the new features is Lifestyle Bundles, or pods that Levin bills as offering the looks and styles of retailers such as Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware but at lower prices.
     A Lane Power Zone offering power motion also is new and recently was rolled out to all stores.
     In addition, the store features the Cindy Crawford Home collection, a new Sealy Posturepedic lineup featuring titanium coils, "accessory pods" that coordinate lamps, tabletop and other accessories, and Levin's private label brands including Maine Craftsman bedroom furniture, Copper Mountain dining and Classic Home upholstery. The company wouldn't disclose the sources of these lines.
     Key suppliers in addition to Lane and Sealy include Broyhill, Rowe, Natuzzi, England and Franklin in furniture and Stearns & Foster, Serta and Tempur-Pedic in bedding.
     Levin said he didn't have an investment figure or sales projections for the new store, but he said opening weekend response from consumers was strong.
     In addition to the Avon opening, the retailer is planning a 53,000-square-foot store for Greensburg, Pa., opening Labor Day weekend, and will rebuild a 3,400- square-foot sleep center that burned down in the great Pittsburgh market in April. That store is expected to be up and running in August.
LevinIn the new Avon, Ohio, store, smaller than most Levin Furniture units, the retailer maximizes the space in its youth department by setting case good pieces on tiers behind floor displays for a powerful visual impact.
     With these openings, Levin will have 16 stores in greater Pittsburgh and northeastern Ohio, including an outlet store and the sleep center. The company is No. 40 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated 2010 furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $145.9 million, down about 3.5% from the previous year.
     Levin said last year was challenging, but that the company has seen "modest improvement" in 2011, more so in Pittsburgh than in Ohio.
     "We're looking forward to the new opportunities and to showing Levin will continue its growth in both markets," he said.

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