Discovery Furniture plans triple-play expansion
New complex will have three storefronts
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, June 11, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Discovery Furniture will expand this summer with a new retail complex here east of its Topeka, Kan., home base, featuring three branded storefronts.
The retailer, owned and operated by the Winter family, is leasing 47,000 square feet in a shopping center on Iowa Street here for the showroom, expected to open in August.
In a design developed with Martin Roberts Design, the store will have three distinct fronts - Discovery Furniture on one end, featuring the retailer's mix of midpriced goods with custom-order options; RoomMakers on the other end, which is an Ashley furniture dedicated concept; and Mattress Headquarters in the middle, with bedding from Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic and Mattress First, the private-label line made by Serta for the Furniture First buying group.
Discovery, which operates a Discovery Furniture and RoomMakers in Topeka as well as an Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Salina, Kan., sees Lawrence as an underserved market. Most furniture stores there have closed, said Jeff Winter, co-owner.
While the new store will have separate entrances for each brand name, once inside, consumers will be able to move from one store to the next.
Winter said many bedding customers prefer to shop specialty bedding stores instead of furniture stores. "By having an outside entrance, we have both," he said, adding that the area will be staffed with sleep specialists.
He would not disclose the company's investment in the project or sales projections. Discovery Furniture is listed among stores in Furniture/Today's most recent Beyond the Top 100 report with 2008 sales estimated in the $10 million to $14.9 million range.
Winter's brother Jamie Winter, an engineer who recently joined the family business, is coordinating the new project.
Martin Roberts, president of the Stamford Conn.-based design firm bearing his name, said the store will use "unique new materials" to create a built-out picture frame effect for each store entrance. Golden/copper colored awnings over the windows will give the exterior color, while allowing natural light into the stores without fading the merchandise.
Instead of a typical design center, a "resource center" in a shared central area of the complex will play up Discovery's strength in custom design work. It will include a library of 30 to 40 furniture and design-oriented magazines that consumers can use to help develop their ideas.
Roberts said it will be "softer approach" than a traditional design center, "more accessible, more human and less stiff."
Jeff Winter said the store will use existing key suppliers, which in addition to Ashley and the bedding companies include Flexsteel, Lane, Samuel Lawrence, Aspenhome and Simple Elegance - the latter a private label line from Klaussner offered through Furniture First.
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