Writer / Lisa Abbott
With the May 22 grand opening of retailer Weekends Only, Indianapolis-area shoppers will have a new option for buying furniture. As its name implies, the St. Louis-based furniture and mattress store takes a unique approach by opening for business on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and special holidays) only.
Company President Lane Hamm says that the concept of weekend-only shopping came from analyzing customer traffic patterns at one of its original St. Louis-area stores. Up to 80 percent of its business consistently transpired over the three-day weekend period. In an effort to decrease overhead and compete on price, management opted to limit store operations to weekend hours only and pass along the savings to its customers.
The family-owned retailer launched its first Weekends Only concept store in 1997 and grew to five area locations in less than 10 years. Expanding to the Indianapolis market made a lot of sense, says President Tom Phillips. “We fell in love with the city. It has similar Midwest values, a stable, growing economy and great people.” Proximity to the St. Louis distribution center made Indianapolis an appealing option. Fishers resident and longtime furniture business executive David Gerdt has been named General Manager In Training of the new Indianapolis store.
The company promotes its competitive, low price points on first-quality and brand name furniture. They secure the deals, says Hamm, by working directly with manufacturers and by scouting for closeouts, overstocks and one-of-a-kind deals. When a brand name product is too pricey, the retailer looks for a similar item with the same or better quality and stocks it, priced to sell. The approach gives buyers bigger assortment and constantly changing online and in-store inventory. Some of the best deals are found on the Weekends Only website where shoppers can find online and in-store specials. It’s a kind of “get it while you can” approach to the shopping experience.
According to the store’s own research, more than half of Weekends Only customers tend to pick up their furniture themselves rather than paying for delivery. Part of the Indianapolis store construction will include a spacious canopy on the east side of the building to serve as a loading zone for transport-it-yourself customers.
With nearly 50,000 square feet of showroom, the store will occupy the 92,000 square foot space formerly home to Burlington Coat Factory at 8315 Center Run Drive near the Castleton Square Mall. Potential future plans for additional Weekends Only stores in the market.