Brothers revive retailer Boyles
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, July 23, 2012
MOORESVILLE, N.C. - When Alex and Chad Hendricks set out to reintroduce the Boyles name within the Merinos Home Furnishings showroom here, the plan was to keep it simple.
The two would open as Boyles Furniture Direct, offering special buys including containers and closeouts from upper-end sources. But once they saw "how cool this space was," those plans grew, Chad Hendricks said.
The Hendricks have soft opened while in the process of merchandising a 30,000-square-foot space in Merinos. It's a tenant in the 1.1 million-square-foot historic former textile mill that owner Michael Bay is continuing to build out as Merinos.
Currently, two-third of the Boyles space is dedicated to Boyles Distinctive Furniture - a new take on the high-end discount retailer that filed for bankruptcy and ultimately shut down. The remaining 10,000 square feet is devoted to a Boyles Furniture Outlet - primarily offering special buys and clearance merchandise.
While the store is open for business, the grand opening is slated for Sept. 18. The Hendricks expect to expand eventually to 60,000 square feet.
Chad Hendricks said the decision to locate the store in the former mill here "just makes sense." Boyles once operated stores in Hickory and Charlotte, N.C., and the Mooresville location is central to those cities, he said. "We'll be very convenient for folks (in the region) to get here."
Like the old Boyles, the new retailer will carry upper-middle to high-end goods from suppliers including Lexington, Stanley, Universal, Four Hands, Theodore Alexander, Ferguson Copeland, Henredon, Habersham and Kingsdown - a lot of brands the former Boyles sold before but some new ones, too. The very high-end lines will be displayed in a boutique-type area within the store.
Boyles won't duplicate Merinos' suppliers.
Although it will carry some inventory, the goal is to offer white glove delivery direct from the manufacturer in most cases.
While continuing under the Boyles name, the new store will offer an updated shopping experience, Hendricks said.
"We want to make this an exciting retail experience," he said, adding that he would be the first to concede that the old Boyles stores, while nice, could be pretty boring. He said today's consumers are coming from more stimulating shopping environments like Apple stores, and that furniture stores will need to ratchet up their display to become more hip.
Boyle's is shooting for a hipper environment with touches including wall art from a Charlotte photographer and a large bar near the entrance, a specially designed piece with a hammered metal top and industrial casters. The bar will become the store's customer greeting area as well as a place to serve wine and other beverages during special events.
Hendricks said Boyles already is attracting the retailer's former customers but will be going after a new and younger consumer base as well with "a little more of an approachable" environment.
Separately, the Hendricks brothers are launching a Boyles flash sale website at Boylesblvd.com, expected to launch in mid-September and featuring weekly deals on high-end furniture and decor at up to 75% off suggested retail.
"We have one of the largest high-end home furnishings databases out there," Chad Hendricks said. "We're going to leverage that database to partner with manufacturers on clearance type deals."
Hendricks said it is too early to offer sales projections.
Once a Top 100 company, Hendricks Furniture Group, which owned and operated the former Boyles Furniture and Rugs, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2010, but closed its last two stores in North Carolina in early 2011.
The Hendricks brothers bought the rights to the Boyle's name. They said they are backed by the experience, advice and counsel of their father, Larry Hendricks, who was the driving force behind the former Boyles.
"With Boyles being an integral part of North Carolina's furniture industry for over 60 years, we believe it is fitting that our company be a part of this great restoration project while we are also reinventing our brand to better suit today's customer and economic environment," Alex Hendricks said.