Housing is booming in Colorado Springs, and retailers who market themselves to homeowners and renters aren’t standing still.
La-Z-Boy — famous for its recliners invented 90 years ago, but which also sells sofas, love seats, bedroom and dining room furniture, rugs, lamps and other items — will open a second store in May at the First & Main Town Center on the Springs’ northeast side.
The store, about 15,000 square feet and to be called La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Decor, will take over the former Office Max space on First & Main’s north end, northeast of Powers Boulevard and North Carefree Circle. Office Max closed this month.
La-Z-Boy will join First & Main stores that also serve the residential market, including SuperTarget, home furnishings retailer HomeGoods, home decor and furniture seller Kirkland’s, JOANN Fabrics and Ross Dress for Less.
A 14,500-square-foot La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries store will continue to operate at 7087 N. Academy Blvd., although it might move farther north in a few years to be closer to fast-growing areas of northern Colorado Springs and El Paso County, said Jim Hendren, co-owner of both local La-Z-Boy stores with his wife, Chris. They’ve owned the North Academy store for nearly 14 years.
The Hendrens are adding a second location at a time when the pace of local home construction in 2018 reached its highest level in 13 years, according to Pikes Peak Regional Building Department figures. Single-family home sales in 2018 also fell just shy of the previous year’s record, while area apartments were roughly 95 percent full during the third quarter, industry reports show.
“We did a study on the market to look at the potential and see if it warranted expansion,” said Jim Hendren. “We came to the conclusion that it does. The growth in Colorado Springs, projected growth, certainly warrants two stores. Does it warrant two stores today or is it three or four years from now? That’s still a little bit up in the air.”
Thousands of rooftops in Stetson Hills, Nor’wood and Banning Lewis Ranch — among other residential areas — are a short drive from First & Main, a Springs shopping center that stretches from North Carefree to Constitution Avenue, and runs along Powers’ east side. First & Main includes J.C. Penney, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse and Best Buy, and is home to a Cinemark movie theater complex and dozens of smaller stores and restaurants.
Remodeling is underway at the former Office Max space at First & Main, and Hendren said he’s targeting a store opening before Memorial Day.
The location will be similar to the North Academy store, although with an updated floor plan and merchandising presentation found in newer La-Z-Boy stores.
In addition to sales of furniture and accessories, specially trained La-Z-Boy designers can work with customers on their purchases — which can be emotional for some people, Hendren said. Designers work with customers at the stores or will come to a house to take measurements, gauge their tastes and determine what furniture or other items fit their needs, he said.
“It’s quite different than buying even a car, where I need a new car, so I go out and shop for one and find one that meets my needs,” Hendren said.
“If I don’t like it, I can trade it in and get another one. There’s not that fear so much of making the wrong decision. Whereas people have a real fear with buying furniture because it’s not necessarily a right or a wrong. It’s depending on your taste and what do you like. And a lot of people don’t know what they like. It’s not something they do very often.”
La-Z-Boy employs 29 full- and part-time people at its North Academy store and at a 20,000-square-foot warehouse off Constitution Avenue; the second store will add seven more people, he said.
Hendren’s Springs stores are part of a network of about 350 North American retailers for Michigan-based La-Z-Boy, founded in 1927 and which continues to manufacture and sell furniture from its headquarters in Monroe, south of Detroit.
In 2017, the North Academy store ranked No. 9 in sales volume among La-Z-Boy’s network, a testament to the Springs’ growth and strong economy, Hendren said.