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Clint Engel

Savvy Spaces wins good early reviews

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Savvy Spaces, the first multi-line store by Ashley Furniture HomeStores licensee Broad River Furniture, opened to some solid consumer reviews earlier this summer.

The 36,000-square-foot showroom in the Charlotte, N.C., suburb of Pineville sits next door to the retailer's top performing Home- Store, on a furniture row and in a former Boyles location.

The 36,000-square-footThe 36,000-square-foot Savvy Spaces in Charlotte, N.C.’s Pineville suburb is Broad River Furniture’s first multi-line store, offering a step-up assortment from its network of Ashley Furniture HomeStores.Just insideJust inside the entrance of the new Savvy Spaces, the retailer pairs a one-of-kind reclaimed wood server ($979) from Jaipur Home with a Hooker dining room group with distressed country flair.

Its mix of home furnishings is designed largely to be a step up from Ashley prices without being high-end, officials said. Savvy Spaces targets a more affluent consumer with goods from sources including Jaipur

Home, Fairmont Designs, Hooker, Bernhardt and Aspenhome.

Other key suppliers include Samuel Lawrence, Leggett & Platt, Franklin, Legacy Classic, Bradington-Young, Pulaski, A.R.T., Corinthian, Jackson/Catnapper, Steve Silver, New Classics, USA Premium Leather and Sealy, Stearns & Foster and Tempur-Pedic in bedding.

The store soft opened July 1, but Broad River didn't begin its advertising push until Aug. 4.

"Customers have been saying it's unique, beautiful, nothing like it in the market," said John McGaha, general sales manager.

Throughout the store, the retailer has played up the Savvy name - Savvy Sleep, Savvy Motion, Savvy Kids, Savvy Service - wanting to reinforce the perception that the consumer is savvy for shopping there and that the retailer is a savvy buyer. The store's tagline is "Stylish furniture, smart choice."

A Fairmont DesignsA Fairmont Designs display invites consumers to create their own sectional with modular pieces and a choice of 36 upholstery covers and 32 pillow options, with delivery within about 30 days from Fairmont’s Hickory, N.C., plant.A Bradington-Young
A Bradington-Young leather sectional, shown in what the retailer calls a “Savvy Spaces green” ($3,699), is displayed with tables from Bernhardt. The two-piece sectional also can be used as a sofa with an armless loveseat.

"It's lack of confidence that keeps people from pulling the trigger" in home furnishings stores, said Jonathan Ishee, a partner with Charlie Malouf in Broad River, a Charlotte-based Top 100 company. "Even down to our name, we want to give people that feeling of confidence."

Ishee and Malouf won't disclose their investment in the new store or projected sales for the showroom, but they do project total furniture, bedding and accessories sales for all the Broad River-owned stores of $65 million this year, up from an estimated $50.7 million in 2010. And with additional expansion, they are looking for $75 million to $85 million in 2012.

Broad River will open its 13th Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Fayetteville, N.C., Sept. 1 and plans to roll into the Raleigh, N.C., market with the dedicated store concept later. It currently operates 12 HomeStores in the Carolinas and Augusta, Ga.

The owners say Savvy Spaces offers an assortment of traditional to contemporary furniture and home accents that consumers are "not going to see across the street."

A tagging system, explained on display towers in the store, breaks down goods into three types: "select," or core goods; "one-of-a-kind" items, with unique finishes or wood grain patterns, for instance, where no two pieces are exactly alike (and are sold off the floor); and "showroom stock," such as possible closeouts or other goods that also get pulled and delivered from the floor.

"Customers have loved the shopping experience," Malouf said.

"We'll continue to update it, tweak it, keep it fresh," he said, adding, "I feel confident as we begin to advertise the brand, sales to go in the direction we want to see them go in. We've been very pleased so far."

Savvy Spaces hosts industry guests at store opening

Sandy Rose, left, Fairmont Designs and Jaipur Home, and Brooke Harrington, Broad River Furniture and Savvy Spaces, Charlotte, N.C.
Ty ColemanTy Coleman, left, and Roxanne Stevens, Sealy; Charlie Malouf and Jonathan Ishee, Broad River Furniture and Savvy Spaces, Charlotte, N.C.; and Scott Warlick, Sealy.
Patrick TullyPatrick Tully, left, Rowe Furniture; John McGaha, Savvy Spaces, Charlotte, N.C.; and Ben Rush, Aspenhome.

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