Your customers already shop your store for all their hardware and housewares needs. A natural extension of those categories? Furniture.
About three years ago, Ceva Courtemanche, owner of Hensel’s Ace Hardware in Arcata, Calif., added a 900-square-foot furniture department to her store.
“I originally brought in some furniture we got from the warehouse through Ace,” she says. “In one week, we sold everything we put in the center aisle, which included five futons, lamps, end tables, coffee tables and more.”
Since furniture can take up some space, you’ll need to be creative in your merchandising. Courtemanche set up vignettes throughout the department so customers can more easily imagine the pieces in their homes. She also makes the most of vertical space, with some pieces that hang on the walls, where customers can easily see them.
Of course, she still has plenty on display on the floor, where customers can try out the furniture. Courtemanche sells futons; couches; dressers; kitchen, coffee and end tables and more.
“Even though we don’t have that much room, we make it work, and our sales reflect that,” she says. “We grossed $30,000 last year in furniture.”
Thinking about bringing furniture into your store? It’s especially helpful for new customers who have just moved to the area and may be in need of new furniture for bigger homes, or for those who are remodeling and looking to upgrade. Make sure you always have one piece assembled and displayed outside the box, and add other home decor accessories—not only will they enhance the displays, but they make great add-on sales. Start small and bring in one or two specialty items to see how your customers might respond.