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Robb & Stucky: Offers design services cross-country

Heath E. Combs, Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, September 15, 2006

Robb & Stucky spreads its design services and high-end furnishings cross-country from its Florida headquarters to Arizona's West Valley.

 Robb & Stucky spreads its design services and high-end furnishings cross-country from its Florida headquarters to Arizona

 For a higher styled patio, this chat group combines inlaid marble coffee table, a rustic iron finish frame and neutral fabrics accented with cording and vivid green pillows. Below, entrance to the Scottsdale store.
 Robb & Stucky spreads its design services and high-end furnishings cross-country from its Florida headquarters to Arizona

Last year, Robb & Stucky Outdoor Living opened showrooms in Glendale and Chandler, Ariz. Those strategic locations joined the Scottsdale store, which opened about six years ago in a complex with the larger Robb & Stucky interior and design stores.

"Even though we're in a separate building, it's considered a campus," manager Thad Allen said. "Everybody interacts together in all the stores. People want their outdoor furniture to complement what they buy out of the Robb & Stucky store; a lot of customers come in express that. They sell a lot of big pieces over there so we bring in these bigger groups to mirror outside to the inside."

Large, over-scaled synthetic wicker groups like Cast Classics' Shambala Collection gain attention as consumers enter the Scottsdale store, Allen said. Cast aluminum collections, such as Brown Jordan's Grand Via, Pride's Bonaire and Woodard's Villa, also sell well as do mosaic-topped dining tables by Kessler, teak collections by Gloster, Lloyd/Flanders' wicker/woven groups, Century's Andalusia Collection and Pavilion's Morocco group. Outdoor lamps by Frederick Cooper and outdoor rugs are among the assorted accessories, which also are strong sellers.

"I think the success of this store is we set up our furniture in a visual way, where you can envision it on your patio," Allen said. "We also have a full staff of 17 designers from the indoor Robb & Stucky next door.

"All the people in here are exterior designers who go out to customers' homes," he said. "We layout patios, do custom cushions, pillows and covers — anything the interior store does for inside, we do for outside."

Founded in 1915 in Fort Myers, Fla., Robb & Stucky is nationally recognized as an interior design and home furnishings retailer with showrooms in Florida, Texas and Arizona. Its outdoor division expanded to seven showrooms when Robb & Stucky KitchenAid Culinary Centers opened in Glendale a year ago and in Chandler last November. Conceived by CEO Clive Lubner and President/COO Fred Berk, the concept was designed to provide a showplace for consumers to become inspired. Customers "discover wonderful design ideas, all-weather furnishings and stellar appliances for outdoor entertaining" by visiting, Lubner said.

Even without the culinary extras, the outdoor bar display inside the Scottsdale store provides consumers' ideas for social gatherings and entertaining.

"Robb & Stucky is a destination for people to come to," Allen said. ""I think location is one of the best moves they made. When they built this store, all these other stores were not here. Now we're right in the center of everything and it's drawing from all over. We get people from all over Scottsdale, from the East Valley and we do a lot of business in Tucson and northern Arizona — we have trucks going there every week."

Consumers are attracted through newspaper and TV advertising, some direct mail and also the Internet. Seminars, special sales and store events are held throughout the year.

"Our target audience really is couples, probably 25–65 years old," Allen said. Young families, snowbirds and customers seeking outdoor furniture for indoor uses also are among the customers. "We get all types of income, from medium to high-end. We don't start at the lowest price point but we certainly try to have affordable merchandise, too. We're always going to have top-notch furniture."

What he finds most enjoyable is being able to keep the store looking fresh, meet customers' high expectations and keep them satisfied.

"That's the Robb & Stucky philosophy really," Allen said. "We're just a customer service oriented business."

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