Checking in: A retail palace that serves up ideas

Home Editorials Checking in: A retail palace that serves up ideas

by Steve Feldman

Over the past 15 years I’ve found myself in some of this country’s most attractive retail floor covering showrooms. Lewis Floor and Home in Northbrook, Ill., comes to mind. So does Sam O’Krent’s place in San Antonio. The latest to join my list is the Abbey corporate store in Naples, Fla., the quintessential retail flooring showplace.

It would be easy for me to sit here and say every retailer should aspire to have this type of showroom. But I have not spent my life in a coma. Very few flooring retailers are afforded the benefit of a 28,000-square-foot space. Even fewer have the luxury of doing business in an area where $3 million to $10 million homes are the norm. But that doesn’t mean every retailer can’t learn something just by walking in the store, something they can take back to their own business.

For starters, the Abbey store is so clean you can eat off the floor—or off the $100-a –square-yard Nourison Wilton carpet that defines that department. The point here is that the carpet helps create an air of elegance, not to mention comfort. The next thing that is quickly apparent is no display is so high as to prevent the shopper from seeing every wall or window in the store. At any position, the consumer is given a panoramic view of every department in the store. That’s in response to research that reveals the female shopper does not want the displays to be taller than her so as to create a “boxed-in” feeling. The store is well lit with large windows allowing natural light to envelope the showroom. And most important, there is not an ounce of clutter anywhere. It’s a layout any store can adopt.

Now let’s talk about area rugs for a minute. Forget that this Abbey store, which admittedly caters to the affluent, displays plenty of expensive rugs. They key word here is “plenty.” More than 1,000 to be exact, priced anywhere from $149 to $20,000.

Two takeaways here: 1. Area rugs are still a perfect add-on to hard surface sales, and every retailer is leaving money on the table if he is not in the rug business. And 2. Retailers who have the most success selling rugs display a wide assortment of product. It’s the old adage: You have to show it to sell it. And the Abbey store shows it big: on 9 x 12 racks. Makes sense; as the homes in the area are large, consumers are covering the space with large rugs.

As for hardwood, any retailer can take a page out of this store’s book. Everything is well organized in consistent displays; some samples are private labeled others are manufacturer branded. There is a custom wood area. Bottom line: It facilitates the shopping experience because the customer shops for style and color, the primary drivers, without any distractions.

Last but not least is the baby grand piano in the center of the store. Aside from adding to the setting, it represents an example of cross merchandising. The piano store neighbors the Abbey store, and Abbey rugs can also be found in neighboring stores.

Again, this may be akin to going into a Beverly Hills mansion to get decorating ideas. You may not be able to afford what you see, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take away the concept.

Must Read

Hallmark partners cite innovation, quality, service

Behind every successful floor covering manufacturer is a dedicated and loyal network of specialty retailers and distributors that support that supplier. This is demonstrated...

Measuring moisture when prepping the subfloor

Has a customer ever called you complaining about hardwood floors cupping? Or about resilient floors having issues? If not, don’t let there be a...

Mercier Wood Flooring launches fall promotion

Montmagny, Quebec―Mercier Wood Flooring, a pioneer in the manufacturing of prefinished wood floors, recently launched its fall promotion. For a limited period, consumers get...

Retailers React: Has business gone the way you expected? 

Every two weeks, FCNews seeks out flooring retailers across the country to offer their advice on hot topics of the day. This week, we...

Cali launches new Shorebreak laminate collection

San Diego—Cali is launching its Shorebreak laminate collection. This next-gen product is billed as a game-changer for homeowners and design professionals seeking a sophisticated yet...

CFI, FCICA show kicks off in Orlando

Orlando—After a combined 70 years of history, FCICA, the Flooring Contractors and Certified Flooring Installers, held their first joint conference and trade show here...
Some text some message..