Many Twin Cities-based furniture stores are expanding as the economy recovers.
Hom Furniture is building one of the largest furniture retail complexes in Minnesota to house all of its brands under one roof — Gabberts, Hom and Dock 86.
The new complex, to open by March, will mark the first Twin Cities expansion for Gabberts, the area’s highest-end furniture store. “It will be the Upper Midwest’s only one-stop destination for the largest selection in furniture price points and complete custom design solutions,” Hom’s executive director of marketing, Jerry Underwood, said in a statement.
Coon Rapids-based Hom has 15 showrooms in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota. It is currently the 35th-largest furniture retailer in the country, according to Furniture Today, a trade publication.
Hom will repurpose the 185,000- square-foot complex in Little Canada, a former Levitz furniture site. Existing warehouse and storage space will be replaced with Gabberts and Hom stores. The existing Dock 86 showroom for discontinued and overstock merchandise remains in place.
The warehouse will move to Anoka to make space for the new complex near Interstates 35E and 694, which will include a new, 80,000-square-foot Hom store, a 35,000-square-foot Gabberts studio, and the existing 60,000-square-foot Dock 86 showroom. Hom and Gabberts will be open daily, and Dock 86 will keep limited hours Fridays through Mondays.
It will be the second Twin Cities location for the upscale Gabberts, which Hom purchased in 2008. Besides Edina, Hom also has Gabberts stores in Sioux City, Iowa, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D. Before it was owned by Hom, Gabberts closed three locations in Texas in 2005 and 2006.
Hom President and CEO Rod Johansen said the new location will make it easier for customers in the northeast part of the metro to shop all three concepts at once. “We’ve seen customers at Gabberts who like Hom stuff and Hom customers at Dock 86. We’re trying to make it easier for all of them,” he said.
It isn’t unusual for a retailer to combine various brands and price points under one roof, said Ray Allegrezza, editor at Furniture Today. “What is unusual is to have the upper end included in the mix,” he said. “There are fewer players in the strictly high-end than a few years ago.”
Mix and match
Consumers are more likely to mix and match price points in a master bedroom compared to a guest bedroom as well as primary home vs. a vacation home. Hom is hoping to make the center a one-stop shop for the person who will pair a $3,000 sofa next to a $300 accent chair.
“HGTV taught us that it’s OK to mix high-end and low-end,” said Allegrezza. “This new store runs the gamut from the Dock 86 bazaar format where you find what you can at great prices to high-end merchandise. It’s giving customers a chance to go across the full price spectrum.”
Other furniture stores based in the Twin Cities are also seeing modest expansion. Little Canada-based Slumberland has opened three stores this year in Hayward, Wis.; Springfield, Ill.; and Burlington, Iowa.
Usually Slumberland, No. 21 in Furniture Today’s top 100 furniture retailers, opens four stores annually, said President Kenny Larson. “The challenge is that the dollars spent are growing, but the number of units sold is not,” he said. “The lower economic demographic is not back in the market yet,” he said.
Room & Board just opened a store in Boston and will add a new location in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City later this year, bringing the total store number to 15. It’s also moving its Rogers distribution center to Otsego, doubling the size in its new location.
The outlet store will expand by 5,000 square feet and move to a new location with additional parking in the Golden Valley complex this fall.
Still not the biggest
Schneiderman’s Furniture, based in Lakeville, just doubled the size of its Woodbury store and will open a new store in Rochester in August. Although the Chaska and Burnsville outlet stores are closed, CEO Larry Schneiderman is hopeful for the future. “We just had the best June we’ve ever had,” he said. “As consumer confidence grows, we’re confident that people will be buying good furniture.”
Hom’s new furniture complex, large as it is, is not the state’s largest. That title still belongs to Becker Furniture World in Becker, Minn., which has 250,000 square feet of retail space and a chapel.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633