• Clint Engel

Belfort Furniture to expand, renovate showroom

New features will include wine bar, cafe

DULLES, Va. — Belfort Furniture here is about to get a new look, additional showroom space and some added features that the company hopes will inspire shoppers.

The midpriced to high-end retailer hired Martin Roberts Design to redesign the retail campus in a move that will bring additional retail space via a new 12,000-square-foot mezzanine level and integrate the retailer’s existing warehouse space for another 50,000-square feet of selling space.

Belfort Furniture exterior old and newA current view alongside a digital rendering of a remodeled and expanded Belfort Furniture in Dulles, Va. Martin Roberts Design is developing the new look for the Washington, D.C.-area retailer.
Plus, there will be a new wine bar and cafe. When all the work is completed-- a grand opening is slated for Labor Day 2016--the complex will feature about 160,000 square feet in four buildings, said Mike Huber, Befort founder and CEO.

The retailer hinted at the plans earlier this year in its listing in Furniture/Today’s Beyond the Top 100 report, noting that it would add space under an expansion and remodel plan aimed at making the store “even easier and more exciting for customers to shop.”

Belfort is housed in a former shopping mall on a roughly 20-acre tract along a highway that leads to Dulles Airport, west of the White House. Over time it has grown to 106,000 square feet of selling space with five connected store fronts: Belfort Galleries, a promotional Belfort Basics, Belfort Mattress, Belfort Kidz and Belfort Interiors.

“This will be our first chance, in 28 years now, to design a building with everything that we’ve learned using our existing space, as opposed to growing into buildings that existed around us,” Belfort Executive Vice President Matt Huber said in a release.

The wine bar was Martin Roberts’ idea, but plays into the Huber family’s sister business — Stone Tower Estate Winery, located on the family’s farm about 20 minutes away from the store.

“It will have an integrated, but separate entrance so it will have a life of its own,” Matt Huber said.

“Thanks to our existing winery project, we are already partnering with local bakers for breads, artisanal butchers and local cheese makers, and we’re already working on sandwiches and salads and local produce.” All will be put to use in the new cafe.

The wine bar area also will include “fun, exciting kinds of furniture, more unique, one-of-a-kind items,” Huber said in the release, adding that the retailer will bring in “truckloads and containers of unusual things to make it more of an inspirational space.” In addition there will be booths and space for music, offering a place where consumers can pause from shopping, sit down with some wine or coffee, think and plan, he said.

“We expect it to be pretty cool and a draw as a gathering space in and of itself,” Matt Huber added.

He noted that Belfort had talked with Roberts back in 2007, just before the economic crisis, and knew that when the time was right, “we wanted to work with Martin.” The retailer was particularly impressed with Robert’s work on the Pulaski and Samuel Lawrence showrooms in High Point’s 220 Elm building, “where he took a box and really reimagined how the space works,” Huber said.

“Today when you walk in over there, you encounter a sort of inspirational space, and a bit of a decompression zone, and that’s exactly what we’re looking for,” he said.

Belfort is listed in Furniture/Today’s Beyond the Top 100 report with an estimated $44.9 million in 2014 sales.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today
cengel@furnituretoday.com

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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