How does a furniture store stay in business for nearly 114 years? Resilience.
When it came time for Home Furnishings Association member Tepperman’s Furniture to open its sixth and latest store in August – this one in Ancaster, Ontario, just outside Hamilton – there was no debating the color of the walls, what carpet to install or where the lighting fixtures would go.
TipsTips for shaking things up in-store
from store designer Martin Roberts
Put your best apples at the front of the store. Why wouldn’t you want to show off what’s selling?
Move mattresses out of the back. Thirty percent
of business from most furniture stores is done in
mattresses. It’s time to give them the focus they deserve.
Make your outlet store in the back a destination,
rather than an afterthought. Just remember to make the path to the back go through your new merchandise. Many consumers who shop a retailer’s outlet end up buying from the front of the store.
Andrew Tepperman and his staff just went with the same design used to open previous new stores and the remodeling of the flagship Windsor store.
Home furnishings is all about finding the unique style that speaks to the consumer, but housing and merchandising that furniture is something else entirely, says Tepperman, the president of Tepperman’s Furniture.
“There are two trains of thought to a new store,” says Tepperman. “Some businesses want to personalize the store to their community. We want consistency like McDonald’s.”
Three years ago, Tepperman turned to Martin Roberts Design, which offers consulting, store design and graphic services to retailers, to bring a consistent design to future Tepperman’s stores. “We wanted shoppers to focus on the brand, and keeping that brand consistent all the way through from store to store was key to that,” says Tepperman.
Many of the six Tepperman’s stores in Ontario are within an hour’s drive of each other. That means shoppers might easily find themselves at more than one store during their shopping journey. “We keep hearing online shopping is where the industry is heading, but we’re still seeing good traffic in our stores, so we want to keep our best foot forward no matter where our customers are shopping.”
Much as when Walmart and Target build new stores, Tepperman’s has everything having to do with new-store construction presented in a design manual that provides engineers, construction companies and designers a one-stop shop for building a store from the ground up.
How consistent is the Tepperman’s brand from store to store? The book on Tepperman’s includes where to buy a future store’s office desks and chairs, water fountains – even the type and color of paint.
That consistency isn’t just for shoppers, says Roberts. “From a retailer’s point of view, if you keep the departments the same, you can expect to get the same results,” he says. “So, if you’re doing 30 percent (of your business) in stationary upholstery because it’s closer to the front of the store, you can expect that in every store, if you’re consistent with your design and layout.”
For information about the Home Furnishings Association, call HFA at 916-757-1164.
A feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.