Minnesota’s largest furniture retailer is opening its largest store Friday that will bring the HOM, Gabberts and Dock 86 brands under one roof.
HOM Furniture will open its 215,000-square-foot store in Bloomington by appointment only to begin.
The new flagship will be the largest furniture store built in the U.S. in the past five years, when Nebraska Furniture Mart opened a Texas-sized 560,000-square-foot store in Dallas.
“The three brands makes this space great for our shoppers,” said Rod Johansen, chief executive of HOM. “You can find sofas ranging from $300 to $12,000 in one spot. You won’t find that anywhere else in the U.S., including the internet.”
The decision for a Friday opening came before Gov. Tim Walz’s loosening of his stay-at-home order to allow retail stores to open on Monday. Furniture stores already had an exemption because they sold essential items such as office furniture and mattresses.
The project was 10 years in the making between land acquisition and development.
HOM first pulled multiple brands under one roof in 2015 with its Little Canada store. The retailer considers its Dock 86 brand in the “good” category, HOM “better” and Gabberts “best,” although all three offer a range of prices within each brand.
At the Bloomington megastore, HOM and Gabberts have separate entrances, and Dock 86 is in the lower level.
The Gabberts entrance features an awning for protection from the elements, and once inside, six rain chandeliers flank twin curved staircases rising to the second floor. To the right, custom forged iron gates rescued decades ago from the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis greet shoppers.
The space at 7800 S. Dupont Av. in Bloomington originally housed HOM, Golf Galaxy and Avis Truck Center. The entire strip mall was razed a year ago, and Golf Galaxy and Avis moved to other locations in Bloomington.
The first and second floors will house Gabberts and HOM, including Seasonal Concepts. The lower level includes Dock 86, Gabberts Odds & Ends, HOM’s Bargain Shop and HOM’s Clearance Outlet. Customers can easily traverse through the brands with no obvious delineation.
Gabberts, the oldest of the three brands, opened in 1959 at the site of the Galleria and later had other shops that connected to it. In 2015, Johansen asked the mall owner about raising the ceilings of the store but it never came to pass. The ceilings in the new building range from 16 to 18 feet compared to 9 feet in the Galleria store.
“We wanted that for the proportion of our larger, nicer furniture,” Johansen said.
The lease at the Galleria Gabberts terminates at the end of July. The space is still about one-third full of furnishings, but Johansen said it will not reopen when the Galleria resumes business Monday. A quick three-day liquidation later is a possibility, but plans are still tentative.
In 2020, HOM landed 35th on a list of the nation’s 100 largest furniture retailers. Minnesota-based Room & Board and Slumberland and Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture also are in the top 100.
The new megastore will be open limited hours initially due to COVID-19, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays by appointment only.
HOM and other furniture retailers such as Slumberland, Sleep Number, Ashley and Mattress Firm received some criticism for opening in April, even with the exemption from the state.
“We got minor backlash,” Johansen said. “We we closed voluntarily in March and so did our competitors. We reopened stores in the Dakotas first because we wanted to see if we could open safely and successfully.”
All associates are required to wear masks, and their temperatures are taken before starting shifts.
Hand-sanitizer stations are available, cleaning schedules are in place for high-traffic areas and stores have 75F air purification for indoor air quality.
The Coon Rapids-based company has 17 HOM stores, three Dock 86 locations and two Gabberts in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin.