Leading Home Furnishings Retailers Aim for Texas Subway Growth
HOUSTON – It is the fourth largest city in the United States, in a state whose population is growing by leaps and bounds. Setting the scene this way, it doesn’t take much to understand why furniture retailers have Houston in mind.
Boasting an estimated 2.32 million people within its business boundaries and a metropolitan population of around 7.1 million according to the US Census Bureau, there are plenty of home furniture sales opportunities.
Major retailers in Houston include local Gallery Furniture, Star Furniture and Exclusive Furniture; regional brands such as American Furniture Warehouse; and national brands such as Ashley HomeStore, Rooms To Go, Mattress Firm and others. And he continues to draw outside eyes.
At the time of going to press, the Living Spaces Top 100 Retailers were advertising positions for a distribution center in Humble, Texas, just outside of Houston. Living Spaces officials did not respond to requests from Furniture Today to talk about its plans for Houston.
So why is Houston a prime location for retailing these days? “Hell if I know,” joked Jim McIngvale, owner of Top 100 Gallery Furniture retailers. However, McIngvale said he knows what keeps customers coming back.
“In my experience, the customer wants someone who is honest and able to deliver furniture today. I don’t worry about my competition; I worry about my clients, ”he said.
And with 40 years of branding, he said Gallery can defend itself locally, so it has no problem with others moving to the city.
“The brand is important. Brand value is important. Brands build trust by demonstrating, ”said McIngvale. “We have been trusting for 40 years. The rest of them, I consider the crazier we are.
Jake Jabs, CEO of Englewood, Colo., The top 100 American Furniture Warehouse retailer, said that when he decided to expand to Houston, several key factors stood out.
“No. 1, it’s a growing city. I understand the population is around 7 million now, the fourth largest city in the United States,” Jabs said. “No. 2, there are a lot of solid companies there. It’s home to a lot of good, solid businesses out there. … It’s a stronger and more stable market.
“Third, it is a business friendly city and state. It’s amazing how welcoming and kind they were when we opened.
Another factor, Jabs said, is that since Houston is so sprawling, there are plenty of high-visibility areas for stores.
“It’s a big, extended city, so you can find places. We like big freeway locations, ”Jabs said. “We rent helicopters and fly over cities and look for places to open stores. There are good locations available. In a lot of big cities, there aren’t many good locations available.
Since opening here in 2019, American Furniture Warehouse has added a second location in the area with plans for a third. Jabs said the 500,000 square foot warehouse showrooms will also serve as distribution centers for some smaller satellite showrooms that are in the plans.
He said since the doors opened in Houston the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
” We are well. Business is good. He’s growing up all the time. Every month we almost set new records, and that’s encouraging. As people get to know you and recommend you, this is what you need. We get a lot of compliments on our department stores and our prices. Were very happy. “
But while there is business to be done, some retailers are wondering if the market could end up collapsing, as it hits critical retail mass.
“I think the market is saturated. When people come in, the cake will be cut more and more, that’s all I can think of, ”said Sam Zavary, CEO of Top 100 Exclusive Furniture. “I think the growth rate in Houston has slowed down. I don’t know why everyone thinks Houston is the furniture mecca. In Houston, we have a lot of small and medium sized stores that are doing $ 3 million to $ 15 million in business everywhere.
Zavary said that when retailers are looking for a new city, they sometimes don’t realize the hidden costs of doing business until they’ve committed.
“Something people don’t realize. Anyone could say that Houston is a big city, and, yes, it’s a big city. When you’re in a big city, the cost of advertising is much higher, ”Zavary said. “When new competition comes from outside, they have to realize that advertising in Houston is expensive. Getting around is not that easy. They should be looking at the 3:00 am traffic, the 4:00 am traffic. “
And as a major retailer with established roots here, Zavary said Exclusive will continue to build on its strengths, even if the competition hits.
“We are going to do what we did. We will treat our customers well, ”Zavary said. “Our philosophy is to offer the customer a good and pleasant shopping experience that they will remember. Then we make sure we deliver a good product on time and keep them coming back for more.