BJI logo appears in warehouse clubs
Outlet opens in Houston metro area
By Cinde W. Ingram -- Casual Living, 6/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
The BJI logo now appears on imported outdoor furniture in Sam's Club and Costco stores across the nation, but Brown Jordan International as a corporation says it is staying watchful to protect its high-end Brown Jordan brand.
"BJI as a brand was sold to Costco and Sam's," said Chris Carmicle, president, BJI national accounts. "The only logo you see anywhere is the BJI swoosh logo and when you open the hangtag, it says Brown Jordan International in plain print because that's our company name. That is not a new direction. The BJI brand has been sold only to the wholesale clubs.
"It's not Brown Jordan furniture and anybody who's trying to say that is obviously making one heck of a stretch," Carmicle said. "Brown Jordan is absolutely not being sold into any national accounts. Brown Jordan is a pure brand with patio sets that sell for $5,000 and $6,000; it's very, very protected."
Although the BJI logo is on the hangtags for the furniture sets being sold at the wholesale clubs, the company name is not to be used in Internet or in-store promotions. When other retailers complained, BJI challenged the wholesale clubs to remove all such signage. BJI says the breaches of contract terms were caught and corrected in a matter of hours this spring.
BJI's decision to open its only outlet in Houston, about 20 miles from its two model Elegant Outdoor stores, also caused complaints from area retailers.
Bill Echols, president of BJI retail and contract divisions, said the location initially was rejected when selecting sites for the model stores, but decided the location would work for moving discontinued products.
"We wanted to go into the Houston market because we were already void of dealers other than one dealer who knows everything we are doing and thinks our advertising for EO will bring more customers into his business," Echols said. "Logically, if you clean out the 6th or 7th largest market in the United States and you only have your two model EO stores, there's still a lot of market that's not being serviced there on behalf of BJI.
"We don't have any long-term plans to put an outlet store anywhere else, but if we were to have another market where we were void of a dealer, I wouldn't rule out that we might not put another outlet store in," he said.
Beverly Weeks of Home & Patio in Houston said she was anguished as she watched truckloads of outdoor furniture being delivered across the highway from her store, where she once sold plenty of Winston and Brown Jordan furniture. "I feel like other dealers should know what's going on," Weeks said. "This is not just a model store. This is an outlet where they are dumping stuff within walking distance from my store."
From Echols' perspective, Weeks lost her status as a viable Winston dealer about two years ago when she dropped her approximately $150,000 Winston order in favor of carrying O.W. Lee products. BJI's relationship with Houston-based The Chair King also was severed before the Elegant Outdoor stores opened earlier this year.
"The other dealer we had in town was very comfortable with what we were doing and we told him upfront," Echols said. "Basically, since we made the decision not to do business with most of the dealers in that area, two stores are not enough to service Houston. So we made the decision to locate this away from our two EO stores and this will be discontinued merchandise we'll be running through that outlet store."
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