Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Outlet Store Hits the Floor Running

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Outlet Store Hits the Floor Running

Article excerpt

Byline: Gregory Richards, Times-Union business writer

Jacksonville may lack some of the glitter and culture of the country's big cities, but let's not worry about that. Where we really shine is our flooring, specifically, our appetite for hard surface products such as hardwood, stone and tile products.

And in that category, Jacksonville is one of the top markets in the country, said Michael Froning, president and chief operating officer of Atlanta-based Floor and Decor Outlets of America, which is opening its third flooring store in late August at Blanding Boulevard and Interstate 295. It will be the company's first store outside of Atlanta. "It's a great flooring market. We're excited about it," Froning said.

Floor and Decor Outlets' 85,000-square-foot facility will offer customers and professional contractors over 3,000 types of flooring, as well as backsplashes for kitchens and bathrooms and glass tile. The products will be piled high and deep, so customers won't have to special order their product, Froning said. The outlet also imports the flooring directly from five continents, which he said cuts prices by bypassing the middlemen.

And though the region is putting up a lot of new houses, that's not the main customer Froning is eyeing. Most of his buyers are homebuyers who have bought their properties many years before and want to preserve its value by installing new flooring.

Typically, he said, Floor and Decor Outlets pull from a 20-40 mile radius. But in Jacksonville, finding where to locate the store to form the center of that radius was hard work, Froning said. That's because the area is so broad geographically, and locals just don't like to cross "geographic obstacles" like the rivers and the Intracoastal Waterway to go shopping. Meanwhile, there were certain "demographic pockets" of potential purchasers that the store needed to be near.

"Jacksonville is a tough market to store; it's tough to really nail it," Froning said, who previously ran Circuit City's Jacksonville stores.

Two-year-old Floor and Decor Outlets began when an Atlanta hardware store began running a weekend flooring liquidation sale. Eventually, the discount flooring products became the whole business.

DanniJo Jewels

A new San Marco jewelry store is scheduled to open today -- DanniJo Jewels.

It's the brainchild of two sisters, Jodie and Danielle Snyder, both of whom are still in college: Jodie is finishing her bachelor's degree at the University of Florida, while Danielle just graduated from Bolles High School and is enrolled at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee in the fall.

"It's kind of an adventure that we're embarking on early," Jodie said, saying she'll be commuting between Gainesville a lot once school begins. Her mom will help run the store beginning in the fall. …

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