Furniture Stores Target Homebodies

By Kennedy, Kristy | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 30, 1996 | Go to article overview

Furniture Stores Target Homebodies


Kennedy, Kristy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kristy Kennedy Daily Herald Staff Writer

Rather than catching the latest hit film, Don and Joan Butz prefer an evening settled on their family-room couch taking in a movie on video or cable.

Since the Bolingbrook couple spends so much time at home, it's no surprise that comfort is key.

"We are retired so we spend a lot of time at home," Joan Butz said recently while shopping at a Carson Pirie & Scott Co. furniture store near Lombard's Yorktown Center mall. "Even when we go out, it always comes back to the home."

Call it relaxing at home or "cocooning," but Americans are doing it more often, lifestyle experts say.

For that reason, some furniture retailers are carving out a niche serving homebodies and targeting customers like the Butz family.

One such store is Harlem Furniture, which is bringing a furniture showroom and its headquarters to Lombard this July. The offices, which will be located in the Northgate Shopping Center just north of North Avenue off Route 53, are moving from Elmhurst.

With 120,000 square feet, the store will offer coordinating rooms with different styles of furniture. The idea is to let customers buy a lifestyle - their lifestyle.

"Other stores are reacting to the same trends we are," said Mike Lombardo, marketing director for Harlem. "It's really a reflection of different lifestyles."

With booming housing sales in the suburbs, he said, it makes sense for Harlem Furniture to be based in DuPage. The move will put several offices under one roof in Lombard.

"Suburban areas are seeing the largest housing growth," Lombardo said. "When interest rates are good, our business is good."

Out shopping for a love seat to go into her new Naperville home, Fran Wallace, said there is plenty to chose from.

"There seems to be a lot of competition," said Wallace, who recently moved with her family to a bigger house and often entertains in the home.

Other furniture stores throughout DuPage are reaching for customers like the Butz and Wallace families, said Mike LaRue, principal of Litvin/LaRue/ Greenfield, an Itasca-based retail real estate firm. …

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