For six long years, Home Furnishings Association member Ivan Smith Jr. and his sons, Jonathan and Trey, had been looking for the right location for a flagship Ivan Smith Furniture store in Shreveport, La. Earlier this spring, their patience was rewarded.
The newest Ivan Smith Store – No. 45 if you’re counting – opened May 23 in Shreveport just off Interstate 49. At 50,000 square feet, it is the largest of all the stores. By comparison, the next-largest store is about 40,000 square feet.
Ivan Smith Furniture was founded in 1961 and is based in Shreveport. The company was started by Ivan Smith as a route business. Ivan Smith employed five salesmen at the time. By the time those salesmen retired, Ivan Smith Jr. was working for his father. “I was kind of forced into opening stores in some of those routes,” he said.
It was a good move. Today, Ivan Smith Furniture has stores throughout Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.
Smith told the Shreveport Times that, for the longest of times, he and his sons were looking at an adjacent property to an Academy Sports + Outdoors but the sporting goods store built a new store and moved to that property, putting a hold on any deal.
Eventually, Smith signed a lease on the old Academy property when the leasing price continued to drop. “It was on the market, on the market and then it came down in price,” he said.
Smith said the new store will have a different look compared to other Ivan Smith Furniture stores. “We’ve added a lot of new vendors and high-end vendors,” Jonathan Smith said. “And we’re trying to attract a higher-end customer at that location.”
Among some of the new brands: Bernhardt, Stanley and Hooker.
Jonathan Smith said the new store is part of a strategic move to change the perception of Ivan Smith Furniture. “There is kind of a preconceived notion in the public in what kind of furniture Ivan Smith carries,” Jonathan Smith said. “It has ticked up a little. I don’t know that people associate us with high-end home furnishings, and we have that ability. And we’re displaying that at this location more than any other (store).”