New player in furniture field
Fargo-Moorhead's furniture field just got more competitive. Furniture on 32nd has set up shop in the former Happy Sleeper building at 1531 32nd Ave. S. in Fargo. "We're a new store, with a new manager and new products," said Ken Martin, owner of ...
Fargo-Moorhead's furniture field just got more competitive.
Furniture on 32nd has set up shop in the former Happy Sleeper building at 1531 32nd Ave. S. in Fargo.
"We're a new store, with a new manager and new products," said Ken Martin, owner of the business.
Where Happy Sleeper focused on bed sets, Furniture on 32nd has products for the entire home.
Chairs, sofas, end tables, dining room sets, desks, bureaus and cabinets now share the 12,000-square-foot sales floor with mattresses and box springs.
Martin, a 26-year veteran of the furniture business, had been out of the game for a while. The owner of M.I.G. Holdings and Martins Investment Co. closed TLC Home Furnishings of Moorhead about a year ago.
He still operates TLC Exchange Station, which does sell mattresses and box springs, in south Moorhead.
Martin decided to jump back in with both feet when Happy Sleeper became available. The parent company of Happy Sleeper, a Wisconsin furniture and manufacturing company, went out of business two years ago. Its stores were sold to Express Furniture, which continued to operate them as Happy Sleeper outlets.
The Fargo store, because it was at the far end of that company's distribution network, recently became available.
Martin decided to give it a go with upper-scale casual furniture in brand lines exclusive to this market. Those lines include Stanley Home Furnishings, King Coil, Supple-Pedic by Strobel and Studio Rowe Furniture.
Rowe, for example, specializes in sofas and chairs, offering up to 600 fabric styles for any given piece of furniture. Consumers can choose their fabric from samples or on computer.
Richard Wilson, a former Fargo resident who now works in the Twin Cities representing Stanley, said his company is glad to get its products into the Fargo-Moorhead market.
"We just got together and things worked out well," he said of Stanley's partnership with the new store.
With some 30 furniture retailers, Fargo-Moorhead is a highly competitive market, Martin said.
Craig Dellaneva, store manager, said they felt Furniture on 32nd had the best chance with higher-end merchandise.
"On the scale of good, better, best, we're selling better and best," Dellaneva said.
Mike Pierce of the National Home Furnishings Association, a North Carolina organization representing the interests of furniture retailers, said it's an interesting time to be launching a new furniture store.
Piece said 2000 was the last "banner" year for the industry. "Since then it's been tough," he said. In 2003, total furniture sales were up just 3.2 percent. Among high-end furniture retailers, however, sales were up 9.9 percent.
Looking ahead, the industry looks to gain from all of the home building nationally. So far, with low interest rates, consumers are putting more money into property than they are furnishings. Studies show that most home buyers, a year after the big purchase, are looking for new furniture.
"Eventually, they have to fill some of that space," Pierce said.
Furniture on 32nd is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560