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It’s appropriate there in advanced of you — added than 5,000 aboveboard anxiety of able-bodied sectionals, smaller-scale looks, bedrooms, dining rooms, mattress. The registers are off to the left, melancholia to the appropriate and appliance centermost date — at prices that address to Big Lot’s ambition consumer, who it refers to as Jennifer. Sofas from sources such as United and Ashley ambit from about $300 to $400. Queen Serta mattresses acquaint for beneath than $600; dining groups ambit from about $159 for a pub set to $699 for a abounding six pieces.

Not too continued ago, aback Big Lots began testing this new concept, it started in its Columbus home abject and in Phoenix.

Why Phoenix? “We were attractive for a bazaar abroad from our accumulated headquarters, and Phoenix provided a abundant befalling for us in a bazaar with abundance density, breadth we had a absolutely absolute attendance in the community,” said Bill Boas, a Big Lots bounded carnality president, who took me on the tour. “It was a abundant bazaar for us to aggrandize and analysis the affairs in.”

Furniture has been a hit in these stores, alike aback all-embracing sales haven’t met expectations, as was the case in the aloof appear budgetary aboriginal quarter. Executive Carnality Admiral and Chief Merchandising Officer and Operating Officer Lisa Bachman referred to appliance active “the ceremony of two cities” on the balance call, acquainted how the class saw double-digit comps in the new architecture food compared to all-embracing appliance food sales active bottomward by low audible digits.

Big Lots has completed the transformation in four markets so far — in Austin, Texas, and Myrtle Beach/Charleston, S.C., in accession to Phoenix and Columbus.

“Overall, we are actual pleased,” Boas said. The sales lift the food are seeing is apprenticed by both academy cartage and bigger tickets. The alleged “own-able” and “winnable” categories of appliance and mattresses, melancholia and bendable home ceremony for about 80% of the sales lift and appliance is seeing the bigger increases, he said.

Big Lots is on clue to accept completed Abundance of the Future conversions on about 180 food by the end of this year. The aboriginal plan was to move about 45% of the alternation over for the architecture from 2017 through 2020, but with the success it’s seeing, “we’re absolutely attractive at accelerating (the conversions), starting in 2019,” he said.

In this age, aback the chump is internet-savvy, expects to boutique aback and breadth she pleases and holds aloof about all the added cards, the five-store Potato Barn can appear off a little chump acrimonious for a agglomeration of reasons.

You can’t acquisition prices or a abounding archive or a arcade barrow on its website. It doesn’t advertise. There are signs at the sales board that say all sales are final and absolutely no returns. It’s alone accessible Wednesday through Saturday. And aback it is open, it’s alone accessible until 6 p.m.

“We don’t accomplish it easy,” says architect Greg Bongiorno, who co-owns the business with his son Mike. “People abhorrence us.”

He’s kidding, of course. At atomic I anticipate he is. Because Potato Barn has been in business as the Potato Barn, the home of “Unique Home Furnishings,” aback 2002 and aloof keeps on growing. Early abutting year, it will accessible its bigger abundance yet in Mesa, a 100,000-square-foot architecture (70,000 aboveboard anxiety of affairs space) that Bongiorno projects will actuate sales from about $12 actor aftermost year to $20 actor in 2020, alike as it consolidates bottomward to three endemic locations, closing abate busy food forth the way.

The Scottsdale abundance I visited is 40,000 aboveboard feet, including the 10,000-square-foot staging warehouse. It’s abounding with absolutely altered pieces Greg and Mike acquisition during branch trips to India, Indonesia and China, from factories I wouldn’t know, but additionally from sources such as Bramble, Classic Home and Bespoke. There are ample deeps sectionals and added upholstery from John Michael Designs and New Dimensions, alike some abnormal allotment (like a double-seated sofa) developed by Greg Bongiorno. The attending and feel of the abundance ranges from best to rustic, to automated to French country farmhouse. And aloof air-conditioned and relaxed.

“But that’s affectionate of the adorableness of it,” Mike Bongiorno said. “Every brace of weeks it’s a accomplished new store.” It’s additionally why the banker sometimes get “free labor” allowance to unload a new addition aback it arrives, Greg adds — barter who appetite aboriginal able at the new stuff.

I asked why Potato Barn operates on such abbreviated hours and got a brace of altered answers.

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“Because we appetite a life,” Greg Bongiorno said. “We’re not aggravating to be the biggest. We’re not that hungry. We aloof adore it.”

But there are business affidavit for it, too, Mike added. “It keeps aerial down, and it creates that faculty of urgency.”

Greg agreed this is, in fact, the capital reason. “It makes added sense,” he said. “Mathematically, you’d anticipate it doesn’t, but I’ve consistently (found) beneath is more.

“You carry bodies in. They get excited. Somebody is attractive at the aforementioned allotment they appetite and, boom, they buy it.”

Day 3

And it’s appealing accessible to see why he thinks so, accustomed the Englewood, Colo.-based Top 100 aggregation averages about $9 actor in sales a ages at ceremony of its two Arizona locations. Alike in the summertime, aback business is declared to catchbasin as the snowbirds acknowledgment to milder climates, AFW’s food cull in about $8 actor a month. “It’s unreal,” Jabs said.

“But I ample it out,” he said. “It acclimated to be, bodies went to the malls to get out of the calefaction and do a little recreational arcade here. But now that the malls are gone (or at atomic diminished) bodies appear to our stores. They’re huge. There’s a restaurant, a no-pressure atmosphere. And they’re air conditioned so they can get out of that 107-degree heat.”

He’s in no hurry, though. He’s arcade this bazaar like he does High Point and across — patiently, cat-and-mouse for aloof the appropriate artefact at the appropriate price.

I got to bolt up with Jabs while he was actuality to advance a new agent orientation. It’s a account accident both in the Denver-area bazaar and greater Phoenix. Jabs takes on the assignment every added ages these days, switching off with his babe —Vice Admiral Jackie Brookshire — to allocution about his history: growing up poor but aloft by parents who insisted on a academy education; his alpha in the music business; and afresh in the appliance industry, the closing aperture of the aboriginal AFW in 1975 and its acceleration to the 14-store, two-state operation on clue to do $700 actor in sales this year.

While Jabs waits for that third absolute breadth here, he’s not sitting still. AFW’s affairs for three ample food in the Houston bazaar are abstraction up, and he told Appliance Today he’ll abutting on two of the three backdrop abutting ceremony — in Katy and Webster, Texas.

“What you don’t see on this account is HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, TJMaxx,” he said. Those retailers are aperture stores, not closing them, and alluring changeable shoppers, who Jabs believes are not absorbed to buy emphasis pieces online.

What’s more, Jabs said AFW can and will abide to action alike bigger ethics in the class because it’s buy abounding containers and address them anon to the food with absorbed administration centers, article Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods can’t do.

“We appetite to allotment some of that business with HomeGoods,” he said. “We don’t appetite them to accept it all.”

Day 2 – Del Sol and Mod Home

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Del Sol is the three-store family-owned Phoenix banker led by Carnality Admiral Alex Macias, son of the founders. It’s on the baby ancillary but not tiny by any means, with projected sales this year of about $10 million, acknowledgment in allotment to the aperture of its new Bell Alley breadth beforehand this year. Mod Home, the Tempe banker that aloof opened its additional 30,000-square bottom abundance in Mesa, Ariz., does about $5 actor in ceremony sales.

The aboriginal affair Macias says aback I ask what sets Del Sol afar is “locally endemic and operated.”

“More and added in Phoenix, a lot of food are advancing in from added places,” he said. “We’re a big backer of Bounded Aboriginal Arizona, an alignment that educates and promotes affairs locally because aback you absorb with bounded businesses (more than 70%) of the dollars break here. A lot of bodies don’t anticipate about that.”

And that’s important to consumers arcade for furniture? Macias believes so. “It’s not abundant in and of itself. You still accept to be competitive. You still accept to booty abundant affliction of the chump and action a value, “but if we’re tied, I anticipate that makes a difference,” he said.

Just accepting the chat today led him to apprehend there’s added Del Sol can do to bigger comedy up the bounded bend in abundance and in advertising, he said.

The apprentice carve is unusual. General Administrator Damon Tinley and advance client Christina Baird begin it awhile aback during one of their High Point Bazaar shops. Barter aren’t acceptable to acquisition annihilation like it anywhere abroad in greater Phoenix, and that’s what this abreast aptitude abundance is about.

The $6,000 amount tag on the added duke is array of the adverse of what it’s activity for.

“What differentiates us from everybody else, our aggressive advantage, is abreast at a abundant price,” Tinley said. And appropriate abaft that is all the customization accessible at the store. About 70% of the retailer’s business is upholstery, best of it advancing from Jonathan Louis. About 90% of the upholstery includes some 250 bolt choices that don’t change in the price. There are assorted agreement choices, too, all with almost abbreviate commitment delay times.

That $6,000 robot? It’s apparently one of the best big-ticket items in the store.

But avant-garde at a amount isn’t enough. “Our character added than annihilation is the way we try to set ourselves afar from the big box stores,” Tinley said. That goes for aggregate from the $699 Eames-inspired lounge armchair from Global abreast the access to a confined bar crafted to attending like the advanced end of a best Chevy Mustang to the ample art pieces on the walls that are produced in-house.

That was buyer Brad Bailey’s idea, said Baird. He capital a actual ample accumbent allotment that addition could adhere over their daybed for an affordable price.

So now, those barter who don’t appetite to bowl out the money for Mod Home’s abnormal apprentice accept addition option. They can buy a 60-by-80-inch framed, bright allotment dubbed “Sunglass Girl” in abode (and “Shady Lady” by a customer) for $379 or one of several added ample prints on canvas featured throughout the store, created by the agents clear artisan and abundant with touches of acrylic by the agents architect (also a painter).

Day 1

Furniture & Mattress Discounters in Chandler, Ariz., may be the bigger little appliance abundance in the greater Phoenix market.

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Owner Ted Hass (who prefers the appellation of bounded operation manager) has aloof one store, but at added than 100,000 aboveboard anxiety (77,000 aboveboard anxiety of affairs space) it’s a big one in a high-traffic breadth in the East Valley at the bend of West Elliot and North Alma School roads.

Hass contends he has the bigger barstool alternative in the state. He purchases barstools by the alembic from sources such as Pastel — with 100 or so styles to accept from on the floor. He claims the abundance has added bedroom, active allowance and dining apartment than alike the big-box competitors (bigger stores, but they’re not arranged as tight, he adds).

And with about 50 mattresses on the attic from about nine brands, Hass said he has one of, if not, the best assorted bedding alms in the area, too.

Here, it’s on clue to do about $3 million, and Hass expects it to abound to $4 actor or $5 actor with its mix of promotional to exceptional appurtenances alluring a broader chump abject than most.

“Our barter absolutely pushed us to grow,” Hass said. “They said, ‘We appetite to buy alone from you, but we allegation to see added articles and a beyond store.’

“That’s aback we absitively to acquirement this ability — because we had abounding aplomb in our business and our barter and our company.”

The exhibit is displayed abundantly by artefact category, with active allowance groups assertive the centermost of the store, and afresh ample afar displays of breadth rugs, adolescence bedroom, home entertainment, dining, bedchamber and added categories bushing it out. At the front, the abundance break out a few audible looks at the academy end of its amount ambit — an adorned Homey Design active allowance and bedchamber and dining allowance from AICO’s Bella Veneto collection, for instance.

Mattresses additionally get prime absolute estate, aloof larboard of the entrance, for several reasons. For one, it’s the store’s bigger category, apery amid 40% to 50% of sales, Hass said. It’s additionally the best important class in that it’s a necessity, not aloof a luxury, which he believes can’t be said of any added category.

“They acclimated to acquaint us to acquaint the chump bisected of your activity depends on the mattress,” he said, “but nowadays, we’ve change that to all of your activity depends on it. Because the way you beddy-bye at caliginosity affects the way you will be active in the daytime. The mattress has to be a acceptable investment.”

Spend a few hours with Hass and anyone would see how amorous he is about that class in particular, which is apparently why the abundance offers a abounding slate of brands from Serta iComfort to Simmons Beautyrest Black to Englander, Southerland, Innocor and the all-natural and exceptional Spink & Edgar, fabricated from absolute and Egyptian cotton.

Hass operated a beddy-bye specialty boutique for a while, too, but he’s in the action of closing it down. You absolutely allegation 20 or 30 of them in a busline breadth like this one to awning the market, he said, “and you accept to be on TV every day and on the radio and in the bi-weekly every day.”

All that advertising, he said, “means you are affected to allegation added money.”

And that goes adjoin the way Hass brand to do business. Appliance & Mattress Discounters is acutely bourgeois in its announcement approach; it runs already a ages in the newspaper. It ran television and radio spots for the admirable aperture but won’t do it afresh until it’s time for the store’s ceremony sale.

In its nine years in business, Hass said he hasn’t aloft prices once, allotment instead to barber margins alike in the face of the amount increases it has afresh apparent from suppliers. He’s blessed with gross margins in the 25% to 35% range, he said.

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Indeed, that’s additionally one of the secrets to the company’s success, he said, and the acumen why Appliance & Mattress Discounters is able to attempt with the torrent of online retailers and adequately new big box competitors from out of town.

“The bodies adore (the arcade experience), and they appear back,” he said.

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