SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — While it has recently opened a handful of stores and a brand-new corporate headquarters facility, Top 100 retailer Furniture Mart USA isn’t resting on its laurels.
Instead, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based retailer, which owns and operates Ashley stores in addition to its self-branded stores, is looking for more opportunities to add to its store count of 58.
One area of opportunity is taking advantage of unused former Bed Bath & Beyond locations. While those stores are typically smaller than Furniture Mart USA likes to operate, and they’re usually for lease, they present the retailer the chance to enter new markets or penetrate deeper into existing ones.
“Some of those areas, there’s limited availability on bigger boxes so these make sense in areas where we currently are not servicing customers,” CEO Cory Price told Furniture Today. “We think that will be good for us in the metro areas we aren’t servicing.”
Added Chairman Bill Hinks, “It really surprised us. We haven’t rented much; we try to buy everything we could, and that gives us more room to move. We’ve had some areas where we could put two stores in one area. We have our Ashley area, and we have our Furniture Mart area.”
Also, sometimes it’s a matter of recognizing some industry friends are looking to get out of the business, as it was with Furniture Mart USA’s acquisition of A&W Furniture in Redwood Falls, Minn.
“We completed the acquisition this summer. Bill knew the family; it was a family run business. We thought it was a good fit for our overall business. It’s an area where we have a store 40 miles away,” Price said. “When we took a trip there, we felt like the feeling was good with the people who work there and the way it was run for 30 years. We’re transitioning it from A&W to Furniture Mart brand. We’re doing it slowly with messaging. The customer is going to get the same people, just more selection and better prices.”
Price said when Furniture Mart USA enters a new market, it does what it can to market itself appropriately and shine a light on the services it offers. It also works hard to ensure that its team members are invested.
“We’re focused on giving the customer a good experience. To do that, we have to focus on better marketing that tells the customer who we are,” he said. “It’s treating our staff like they want to be treated. They treat our customers like we treat them, and we need to engage our teams, and they in turn do a great job with our customers.”
Having good partners helps too, added Hinks. “One of the things we tried for in the past few years is to find the good companies that are out there with good products. Some good companies are helping us, and it’s fun to see the growth that can happen.”