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HFA Reports: Garden City Furniture

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It took buying a new delivery truck for Home Furnishings Association member Joey Ray to pause and do the math on that question. The answer – 16 years – was enough to convince Ray that Garden City Furniture in Murrells Inlet, S.C., needed more than just a new truck. It needed an updated logo. And that updated logo will lead to a refreshed showroom and exterior in the coming year.

“That’s turning out to be an expensive truck,” says Ray, only half-joking. Still, he hopes other HFA members follow his lead.

“When you’re in a fashion- oriented business, it’s important you keep your image fresh,” says Ray. “It’s vital to make sure our brand remains current, relevant and poised for the future.”

This was not an epiphany for Ray, of course. He already knew this. But he wasn’t reminded of it until his new truck pulled into the company’s parking lot next to his old ones. “It just showed how old and tired we’d become.”

Tips for creating a new store logo

from store designer Connie Post

  1. Drive one mile in each direction of your store and look at every business. (Not just competitors’ businesses, every business.) Does the new restaurant or gas station look more up to date than your store?

  2. Think modern, clean and easy to read when rethinking your logo. Script fonts may be pretty, but they’re hard to read from a moving car.

  3. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Post designed Garden City’s logo in 2005. It made more sense to update with a modern new vibe than to start over.

It had been 16 years since Garden City refurbished its showroom. “That’s a long time in a fashion business like furniture,” says Ray. “We needed to look good when these trucks were going out into neighborhoods and pulling into people’s driveways.”

Today all the trucks have been wrapped with the new logo, an updated look to the store’s well-known palm tree. “I think it’s cool,” says Ray. “It’s clean and modern, which is what we want our customers to think we are."

Ray extended the look throughout the store with new name badges for his sales staff and redesigned price tags. He added the new logo to the Garden City's website.

There’s more to come: Ray wants to renovate the showroom both inside and out within the next year. That includes the exterior’s pylon signage. “We’re going to hold off on that until maybe the first quarter of next year, but we definitely want to carry the new look throughout the store,” he says.

Connie Post of Affordable Design Solutions created the new logo and will help refresh the physical building. She says retailers need to realize their communities change and that they must change with them.

That’s certainly the case for Garden City, which covers a large swath of coastal South Carolina. Long known as a purveyor of coastal home furnishings catering to second-home owners, Garden City has increased its offerings to reflect the area’s growth and influx of year-round residents. “This area is very much a destination for retirees now, and the number of primary residences is increasing. We want to be able to furnish those homes as well,” Ray says.

To do that, says Post, Garden City and many other furniture retailers need to take a second look at their stores. “Appearing modern and up-to-date is essential in the very competitive retail environment in which we are all operating today,” says Post. “People simply don’t want to shop in old stores, no matter the category or their demographic. Consumers want to spend their money with merchants they feel are fashionable and on trend.

This means it’s critical for retailers to review the exterior of their stores every five to seven years and update as necessary.”

Ray says the new logo has been embraced by shoppers. “They’re coming in and checking us out to see what’s new and different about us,” he says. “People have definitely noticed.”

For information about the Home Furnishings Association, call HFA at 916-757-1164. Read about HFA members on our Shop Talk blog.

A  feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.