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Thread: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Alexandria VA
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    16,017

    Default The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    One of the high-end exclusive Malls in our region in Northern Virginia, Tysons Galleria (sometimes called Tysons II) had several stores go out, as is pretty common in Malls these days. They lost Macy's one of the anchors, and remade that entire wing into upscale home furnishings in the past year. I made my first trip out there this past weekend with my wife and was very impressed with what I saw.

    Crate and Barrel knocked it out of the park, this is, hands-down, one of the most beautiful store designs I have ever seen. The layout is perfect, and they took the entire back of the store and installed floor to ceiling glass, which lets natural sunlight pour into the space. Whomever did their store design - genius. Layouts, Point of Sale Material, Lighting, all on the mark. The store pulls you into what I would call the nicest kitchen you have ever been in. You feel welcome in the store and encourage to buy so YOUR home will look this good. Relaxed environment, the store was very busy - others feel the same as well. Look how inviting the entrance doors are - "Come in, Welcome" they say.

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    Restoration Hardware is right next door. The contrast could not be more different. RH set out to razzle-dazzle their store, with marble flooring and very expensive chandeliers throughout the place. If feels like a high-end resort when you walk into the place. more like a jeweler than a home furnishing store. A totally different, formal vibe. Must have cost them a fortune to do this build out with custom paneling and all the trappings that go into a Four Seasons Hotel . Impressive in its own right, though I felt like I should have a coat and tie on to shop there. And their entrance doors? More like serious business...come in if you mean to be here.

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    I always listen to my wife's comments in these places. I form my own opinions but am interested in what she has to say. In C&B she want up to one table and looked at the construction briefly and commented "Look how cheap this is, who would buy this?, The way the table leaf fits, you would reject that from your supplier immediately and be on the phone with them complaining."

    I said "Yes, I would, but you have to realize the buyers in this store are not really furniture-educated on what makes a good, or bad piece. They are caught up in this store presentation, swept up in the moment, you know., and this is one impressive store. They are not comparison-shopping except in picking up price tags and deciding if its in their budget compared to what they see at RH or Arhaus. They don't know how to recognize quality and they don't ask, because they know the salesperson doesn't know, either or maybe they don't really even care. We are in the throw-away generation now, get something and use it for a few years, then off to the landfill with it, replace it rather than buying quality the first time. The way of the World today."

    My wife further says "How do these companies afford this? The rent here has to be crushing, you could never have The Keeping Room here, you would not be able to make the rent and yet you sell better furniture than they do? How do they stay in business with these fancy stores?"

    "Easy", I said. "It's all private label except for some of the small appliances that are branded. They buy cheaper furniture and sell it at higher margins. When you Private Label, the customer can't cross shop it somewhere else, and therein likes the BIG problem. If I were to open a 5,000 sf specialty leather store in that vacant space next to RH I would have to charge more to cover the rent payments than where I currently am. But because I don't private label (which I could do), then I spend two hours with a client educating them, helping them with their selections, and they have it all written down - then go home and see who sells for less. Because I would have a $ 40,000 a month rent obligation that I currently do not have, I would lose some of those sales as I would be 10 to 15 points above my current price levels to pay this rent. That's what happens with carrying brand names."

    But boy-oh-boy, those store sure are pretty. Go check them out if you are ever in the area and let me know what you think. I would LOVE to have a storefront there, if I had throw-away money I'd give it a shot, maybe. But 37 years experience tells me I would not make it a full year in the space, I'd get ground up unless I went Private Label. So I stay in my Destination store in the part of the area that no one really enjoys driving to, and keep my prices low. Sure would be an adventure to try though - because what I carry for furniture would blow all that C&B / RH and Arhaus product right out of the water.
    Last edited by drcollie; 05-25-2023 at 04:03 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2023
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    15

    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    Hello Duane - I was reading an older post and saw your comment that you're not sure if anyone is reading this forum any more. It made decide to stop lurking and say hi!

    I'm responding to this post because I'm very much in C&B's customer demographic (I have always been a little put off by Restoration Hardware -- furniture for giants who live in castles - ugh.) I haven't been to the new stores, yet but I'm interested in visiting after your review.

    For a long while, I've wanted a leather sofa, but I thought that the best that I could afford was one of the mail order companies (Article, Joybird) or MAYBE C&B or Room and Board. I'm not sure what combination of circumstances led me to one of your posts on the Ricki Sofa, but that was the first time I thought that maybe I could get something that is better quality that also matches my style. I had always thought -- unfairly, I now understand! -- that H&M furniture was all dark and "old" looking, or that it all looked like it should be in a lawyer's office. But after browsing through the offerings I see lots of sofas that are really nice! (I've been keeping a list!) Some of them may be out of my budget, but for the quality, I can stretch a little bit.

    I think C&B and similar retailers are appealing because you don't have to think too much when you look at their goods -- it's all arranged in such nice vignettes. Just like you said, you get swept up in the moment. And we've been trained to think that anything better than Ikea is "high quality." But I'm glad this forum and its resources are here, so that I know what quality really looks like. I hope that I'll get a chance to visit your store soon!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    Thanks for responding! Not many people use this forum much anymore, I think most now want their information via Tik Tok or Instagram, a video experience vs a collective written database (with photos) which is what this is. All things change and for that reason I have recently stopped my maintenance contract with a computer company who were charging me $ 100 a month to keep it patched with security updates (and smooth running). I also will not renew the URL or godaddy server contract when it comes up in 2 years. When the forum gets buggy it will eventually slow, then may stop altogether. There is just not enough usage or participation to keep spending money on it. If I see an uptick in posts, I may change my mind - however I am pretty convinced this is no longer the format that is desirable for consumers to get their information from.

    Another trend I see, which is rather disturbing actually, is younger people in their late 20's and all their 30's have a Use and Dispose mindset. Buy it based on budget and then get rid of it in 5 to 7 years and replace it. MEANWHILE, they are also claiming to be recycling everything and concered with climate change. Well, filling up the county dump with used-up sofas and other furniture is not being ecologically sound and contributes to carbon footprints as most those pieces wind up in the incenerator, which goes into our air quality. If they stopped buying on budget alone and bought quality, they can get 3 to 4 times the lifespan (which saves money for them in the long run) and tryuly is more enviromentally sound.

    The Mall Retail Furniture stores are exceptional at Marketing. They really are. As Phil Brown (President of Hancock & Moore) and I were discussing, he said "Restoration Hardware is a Marketing Company, they are not in the furniture business. And they are brilliant at it. They just happen to sell home furnishings as the vehicle for their Marketing. Makes you think, right?
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    48

    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    That's too bad I really enjoy hearing what's going on in the furniture business. I wish I had found this forum earlier the comradery people seemed to have for each other. What will happen to all this wealth of information? I combed this forum when I bought my furniture and enjoy looking at back post. Hope you'll post more on facebook?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Bel Air, Maryland
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    I have learned so much from this forum about furniture! Thank you for responding quickly and accurately during these years. I bought five pieces of furniture from you because of this forum and have been quite satisfied with their quality and their durability. I totally agree with you about the marketing of these big mall furniture stores. My sister bought from one of them and I heard a loud crack when I sat down (not gently) on her expensive mall furniture. It looks nice and the showroom is opulent, but it is not well-built. I think that letting people here know that you are transitioning to a Facebook page is a good idea before your website stops working.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    Facebook and Instagram are more "Quick Hit". which means a short amount of text and pretty photos, designed to be seen in a scrolling mode. They won't have the detail I can put in a Forum post, or the searchability / database feature if you will.

    This forum has a very real cost to operate, and it used to be done by volunteers (whom I greatly appreciated) that were IT guys and knew how to do it. They all dissapeared over the years and I had to pay someone to do what I cannot tech-wise. Business has gone very soft in 2023 in this business and its time to cut out extranneous expenses, so I am doing just that. Every expense in a business has to justify a benefit, and as I said the traffic is down considerably here on this forum, it can go a week without anyone buy myself making a posting. If posts pick up and this forum regains its vitality, I will revist the appx $ 2,400 a year it takes to keep it running.

    As my daughter Sarah said "Dad, the forum requires people to actually look for things and my generation doesn't want to do that - we just want to scroll on our mobile devices". That's the trend.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2023
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    I think your daughter is right. I'm guessing she is a Millenial? I'm Gen X so I straddle that line between people who are drawn to this forum setup (because this is how the Internet looked when I first started using the Internet) and people who are on Facebook/Instagram/Tiktok. I would very much miss the searchability and the archives but you're not running a charity here -- I get that.

    I also think that part of the "use and dispose" culture is because younger generations are less rooted right now -- there was no way in heck I would have been investing in Hancock and Moore when I was in my 20s and 30s! I was still settling down and I didn't even know what my tastes were. And those other retailers -- C&B, Pottery Barn etc. promise that you'll get something that is "good enough" and looks like the taste of your peers.

    Figuring out H&M requires actual thought! That's good and bad -- there's not the safety of just getting the sofa/bed/chairs that everyone else is getting. But you're right about the ultimate environmental impact of all this. It will be interesting to watch in the future...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    She is 32, I'm 69 in a month.....so definitely a generational preference. Forums still work for enthusiasts, (the motorcycle and car forums I participate in are quite active), but a furniture forum garners few who enjoy the art of furniture. Most people come here for information, make their purchase, then don't revisit unless there is an issue or they need something else. It's more like a drive-by-shooting....lol.

    The other option is to offer a paid membership to pay for the site, but I don't think that will fly and to do that would turn a low-flowing tap into a no-flowing one. The software on this forum is very old, and it would cost about $ 6K to really upgrade this properly AND all the old data would be lost. So for now, I'll keep it as it is, running OK, but it may freeze up in a year or two. Last time it did that it cost $ 2,700 to fix it...basically putting a new engine in an old car is what that did. By the time the forum no longer works, I'll probably be ready to retire anyways.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    42

    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    If the forum is rarely used and you're likely to retire in a few years it probably makes sense to shut it down. I doubt anyone else wants to take it over. There are companies that buy forums and try to make money with advertising, but probably not enough activity here for those companies to want the forum.

    I am sorry to hear that your business is not doing so well this year. I am getting some concrete work done. There was a lot of expectation that construction might be soft this year. I asked the concrete contractor and he said he expected a slowdown, but things have been steady and he is busy every day. In previous years he would have been booked until the snow flies by now, but he has work for a month or more and jobs are still coming in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2023
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    Default Re: The newest Crate & Barrel / Restoration Hardware stores in Tysons Galleria

    I love this Forum! I appreciate your knowledge and candor about quality furniture , especially Leather! I hope to visit your store in the fall.

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