I still don't know quite what to make of Hom's new warehouse store, Dock 86. I went there opening weekend last month. The former Levitz Furniture warehouse has been remodeled to look as nice as any warehouse can be made to look. The place is huge, the lighting is good, the decor is pleasant.

Some of the merchandise reminded me of Cost Plus World Market. The accessories department is nice--very similar to World Market or Pier 1. One reader said that he thought the prices on accent pillows were very reasonable.

But don't go expecting it to be a Hom outlet. It's not. Much of the furniture is bought specifically for the Dock 86 and is not sold in Hom stores. That's a little like going to outlet malls and wondering if an item marked "special purchase" is a good deal. Since it' was never sold at regular stores, is it a good deal? Hard to say.

I saw sofas priced in the $500 to $1,000 range, which is not so far out of line for prices at Hom or Slumberland. Most were large scale, overstuffed pieces with thick but not dense cushioning. In other words, when you sit or push down on the cushion, there's a lot of give. It may seem cushy at first, but it's not of lasting quality. It's better to have a dense cushion than a thick one, just like carpet padding.

Some of the items are branded "Dock 86," such as the mattresses, making it even more difficult to comparison shop. "Who makes this mattress?" I asked. "Can't say" was the reply.

There is a small area of clearance items from Hom and Gabberts (now owned by Hom). When I was there last month, most of those items looked like leftovers from Hom's big warehouse sale in October 2009. As far as I could tell, the items were not further discounted from the sale.

At first glance Dock 86 seems like a better marketing concept than a great deal for furniture shoppers. But what do you think? If you've shopped there, what did and didn't impress you?

Dock 86 is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the corner of 694 and 35E in Little Canada. Call 651-328-8686.