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Parker Furniture Installs New Harden Home Studio

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Parker Furniture has just installed The Harden Home Studio, an efficient, 1,000 square-foot shopping area within its store, designed to help customers choose from an impressive selection of the manufacturer's inspired upholstery and wood furniture styles, wood finishes, hardware options, and over 1,000 fabrics and trims. A comfortable workstation that includes catalogs and other shopping tools sits amid a striking display of wing chairs, dining tables and entertainment armoires. Each Harden product is poised for tire kicking, test drives, and, importantly, for custom design inspiration. Here is where furniture orders are placed according to one's preferences and specifications - smaller, bigger, grander- and where houses make good on their promise to become homes. "We've seen a steady increase in requests for fine furniture that is American-made with wood from sustainable forests. Our customers are looking for fine design quality furniture with the choice of finishes and the ability to have the amount of distressing of their desire so that each piece is perfect for their home", says Jennifer Parker, president of Parker Furniture. The well-publicized trend toward environmental consciousness in relation to purchasing quality products is gaining momentum in practically every consumer category. But if the purchased item is going to hang around for a while, it's got to be the way we want it. And that goes for our furniture. "People are willing to pay for the things that they can really make their own," says Al Wight, president of Strategic Decisions, a Georgia-based research firm, whose company was hired by Harden to better understand purchase behavior regarding its high-end furniture collections. "When price is not the primary determining factor in a furnishings purchase," he adds, "the ability to customize and receive goods within a reasonable time frame is the biggest driver of sales today." It would be nearly impossible to showcase finished goods representing every single option offered by Harden in the space of one furniture retail store. The branded Harden Home Studio display area makes it easy for shoppers to imagine the possibilities. Using the results of Strategic Decisions' research, the new Studio concept was conceived by GRID2 International - a leading design firm with the first café in a Barnes and Noble bookstore among its many credits. Employing lighted, self-serve information kiosks, and easy access to fabric swatches and wood samples, GRID2 deconstructs the selection process into a series of steps, beginning with customer-preferred styling and ending with the furniture's finishing touches. It's a foolproof system for salespeople, interior designers and shoppers alike. Making customization a painless process behooves retailers like Parker Furniture, which attracts a discerning clientele. Craig Parker, owner says he is counting on a motivated staff and satisfied customers in this happy corner of the store. Parker plans to launch The Harden Home Studio official opening with a Grand Opening Event on December 9, 2006.

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