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SINGLE STORE CATEGORY Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas

SunnylandSunnyland sets up outdoor displays like this one in collaboration with a Dallas television show for exposure far beyond the store’s walls.
FOR THREE-TIME Apollo Award winner Sunnyland Furniture, this year marked the return of the big sale.
     "We saw a trend of consumers buying not the highest-price items, but rather more pieces and a wider variety in the mediumto medium-high price range," said David Schweig who co-owns the business with his wife Debbie.
     They made a concerted effort to leverage that trend.
     "We were very aggressive this year in our frequency and method of advertising, which dramatically expanded our market," Schweig said. "We also gave our customers more value-based incentives."
     Some of that aggressiveness is a big presence on the web. Sunnyland is present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Yelp.
     "We have tried various initiatives over various sites and seen small positive results on some," said Schweig, stressing that social media is more about long-term branding than quick sales.
     Schweig's comprehensive approach to social media is indicative of how he approaches his business and why Sunnyland is a perennial Apollo finalist. Every detail is examined to make the most of every opportunity.
     Sunnyland was one of the first retailers to embrace the concept of the outdoor room. A major remodel of the store a few years ago created three distinct showrooms that entertain, instruct and inspire customers. In addition to the large 23,000-sq.-ft. main showroom, a 10,000 sq.-ft. area showcasing outdoor living in distinct vignettes and another 2,000 square feet serve as a multi-themed fantasy backyard.
     Sunnyland was awarded Casual Living's Best Overall Merchandising Award in the single store category in 2008 and earned an honorable mention in that same category in 2010.
     Never one to fix what isn't broken, Schweig says his plan for 2011 is staying course.
     "We will continue with the lines and programs that have proven to be continuously successful," he said.

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