Above: HFA member HOM’s Furniture’s latest store opening in Wausau, Wis., features a section devoted to outdoor furniture that will sell Christmas trees and other holiday-themed items later this fall.
HOM Furniture employees were scrambling until the final hours last week to get their latest store in Wausau, Wis., ready for its grand opening. About 45 corporate employees rushed around the 100,000-square-foot space, unfurling rugs and putting out accessories in preparation for the big day.
Their hard work was rewarded with a strong turnout at the store, which is located in a former Younkers Department Store in the Wausau Center Mall.
“It was a good opening,” said Wendy Sedlacek, media buyer for HOM. “We had good traffic in the store and better revenue than expected.”
HFA member HOM had been trying to open a storefront in Wausau for more than a year, originally bidding unsuccessfully on a former Sears location in the mall before securing its current site.
HOM wanted a mall location
HOM CEO Rod Johansen said the company wanted to open in a mall, despite the struggles facing Wausau Center and other malls nationwide, because it’s too expensive to construct a new building, a trend many furniture retailers are following when they look to expand.
The space was not exactly move-in ready. Sedlacek said the interior was completely redone from top to bottom. Ceilings to floors. Bathrooms to doors.
In the weeks leading up the store’s opening, Sedlacek said the company’s print, radio and television promotions urged shoppers not to buy furniture anywhere until the new opening of HOM.
Company officials sent out press releases and made store officials available for media interviews with all the network stations in the Wausau marketplace as well as the local newspaper. TV stations even offered live broadcasts from the showroom on opening day.
The Wausau location is HOM’s 18th store. There’s an entire section of the store dedicated to handcrafted Amish furniture. Shoppers can also find pieces from Magnolia Homes, the furniture and lifestyle brand by Joanna Gaines of the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”
New seasonal departments
HOM also has a section dedicated to patio furniture in the summer. In the winter, that will switch to a holiday section with Christmas trees and other themed home decor items.
In addition, there is a bargain section for shoppers who are looking for a deal. In the Design Center, shoppers can choose from a variety of fabric options.
Robert Bell writes the HFA’s Shop Talk blog.