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Levin Furniture grand opens store in Cleveland area

Will donated $10,000 to Cleveland Furniture Bank

AVON, Ohio — Levin Furniture is grand opening a 37,000-square-foot store here today, its seventh showroom in northeast Ohio and the first of two new stores planned for the year.

Grand opening festivities at the showroom on Detroit Road will include a news event in the afternoon followed by the presentation of $10,000 check to the Cleveland Furniture Bank.

The Smithton, Pa.-based Top 100 company said grand opening specials will start Saturday, and consumers can register to win gift certificates and other prizes.

President Robert Levin said the company 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 more recently, ever since it opened a 53,000-square-foot Wexford, Pa., showroom that replaced a larger store in late 2009.

Wexford has been the retailer's top store in sales per square feet, 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.

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 rolled out to all stores.

In addition, the store will feature 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.

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 again in August.

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 showing Levin will continue its growth in both markets," he said.

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