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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria VA

    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; 1 Week Ago 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.

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