Single Store Category: Kolo Collection, Atlanta
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, September 1, 2008
After several years of robust growth, Kolo Collection has been affected by the sputtering economy like everyone else. It isn't getting new business quite as easily as it used to.
However, the retailer spent those high growth years positioning itself to be able to handle these tougher times. It keeps overhead low, with only four employees and outsourced warehouse operations that allow those employees to focus on sales and service.
“We also built such a strong designer base of customers, who are very loyal and have the clients even in the down economy,” said Greg Martin, who opened Kolo with his wife Michelle in 2003. “The designer business is up and retail business is down.”
Martin was optimistic about retail, expecting it to bounce back eventually. But he and Michelle aren't waiting for it to happen. They're busy fortifying their already strong reputation in Atlanta by taking good care of the high-end clients they have right now.
“Our main customer is a client who invites us over to see where they live and design their entire project,” said Martin. “We act as the designer. We have to help them see the end result when they're shelling out $10,000 for something. They don't want us to sit back and let them figure everything out.”
Kolo Collection service goes beyond that. Martin said he and his staff never quit working on a customer issue until it's resolved. He recalled one client, for instance, who came to him about a chaise with deteriorating wheels. Kolo didn't carry that vendor anymore, but tried to reach them anyway. When the vendor didn't return calls, Martin could've stopped there.
“But we figured out we could order a Brown Jordan wheel and make it work,” Martin said. “I spent two hours one afternoon just trying to get the deteriorated wheels off. It took six or seven man hours in all, but at the end of the day she applauded us for following through.”