Furniture Outlets USA completes multi-store complex in Minnesota
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, January 30, 2012
ELK RIVER, Minn. — Furniture Outlets USA has completed the conversion of its former liquidation center here into a home furnishings complex featuring a 32,000-square-foot Ashley Furniture HomeStore, a 42,000-square-foot multi-line Furniture Mart and a Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts store.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Mart portion is set for Feb. 7.
The Sioux Falls, S.D.-based retailer also has similar Furniture Mart/HomeStore combos in Medford, Shakopee and St. Cloud, Minn., and in Sioux Falls, although the leased Jo-Ann Fabrics element is new.
"The concept works well for us," said President Gordy Wallenstein. "It gives us great exposure, having both stores in one location, and gives our customers the best selection ... enabling us to offer all of Ashley Furniture's product as well as a full-line furniture store for customers desiring other brands."
The new Mart section includes a 3,500-square-foot Mattress Mart area, with bedding from Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic and Restonic; and a 5,000-square-foot Youth Mart youth bedroom area with goods from Ashley's Signature Design line, Aspenhome, New Classic, Legacy Classic and others in a colorful, fun environment, the retailer said.
Other Mart suppliers include A-America, Agio, Amish Impressions, Cheers, Classic Flame, England, Fusion, Futura, Intercon and Jofran.
Furniture Outlets Chairman Bill Hinks said the chain is shooting for combined annual sales of about $10 million from the Ashley and Mart store here. The company is in the process of gradually changing the name of its multi-line stores to the Furniture Mart name.
"I just came back from the Elk River stores and both sides are just amazing," Hinks said, noting that the company installed new energy efficient LED lighting that will save money down the road. He said the system was much more expensive than more traditional lighting, but that the cost was offset in part by thousands of dollars in allowances provided by the local power company for installing it.
"We thought we would test it in this store and see how it (looked)," he said, adding that he's pleased with the results in both stores, which use slightly different lighting versions.
Elk River is a competitive market northwest of Minneapolis with a large population of consumers with second homes and lake-area cabins nearby, Wallenstein said.
"We're trying to give people an opportunity to have a great furniture selection and a great furniture experience without having to go into the city," he had said.
The family-owned company has 31 furniture stores - including about 15 HomeStores - and one carpet store in the Midwest. They operate under the Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Furniture Mart, Unclaimed Freight Furniture, CarpetOne and Furniture Outlets USA names.
Furniture Outlets is No. 50 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $110.9 million in 2010.