Leader's Casual Furniture adds two Florida stores
Staff Staff -- Casual Living, May 15, 2007
Leader's Casual Furniture continued on its steady growth track by opening two new Florida west coast locations in the first quarter of 2007.
"The two new showrooms were theoretically not supposed to open within 30 days of one another," said Jerry Newton, president of Leader's. "In Port Charlotte we were waiting for the previous tenant to complete delayed construction on their new location in order to vacate our building. At the Spring Hill store we had our own construction delays while we battled with local authorities on the definition of remodeling. Guess who won that one? If there is one thing we've learned over the past 36 years in business, it's to not argue with the building departments. You just find out what they want you to do and get started on it."
Larry Watt, Leader's chief marketing officer said, "We're very pleased to say both of these new showrooms have hit the ground running. In both cases the local customers were waiting patiently for our doors to open. Port Charlotte fills in a strategic gap between two other Leader's west coast showrooms. Spring Hill is the farthest north market, but some advertising had been hitting that area for many years. At both stores our customers are saying, 'We're so happy that Leader's finally has a showroom close to where we live!'"
These two new stores also will be the basis of an interesting experiment for Leader's management team. One is the largest of its 18 stores at 16,000 square feet. That building has a 24-foot-high all-glass front with extremely high visibility at a busy intersection. The other is 4,200 square feet, a little smaller than the average Leader's showroom and what Newton likes to call a selling machine. It is still highly visible, but in a smaller demo. "There is no room for inefficiency in a showroom that size," Newton said. Of course, the overhead for both the larger and the smaller showroom go hand in hand, he added. "It will be interesting to see which one produces the better bottom line by the end of the second year."