By Duke Ratliff
Safavieh’s newest store is a test lab for all things Safavieh.
The 20,000-square-foot unit, which opened last month in Farmingdale, N.Y., is the first of the company’s 10 stores to be completely stocked with all Safavieh products. Safavieh’s executives will monitor and evaluate shopping patterns in the central Long Island store, then study the findings to expand its home furnishings retail concept nationwide.
“We’ll use this store as a template,” said Darioush Yaraghi, vice president of Safavieh Home. “We’ll see what we can improve, what we’re missing, what we need to scale back. It’s a store, but it’s a war room of sorts.”
While Safavieh execs may make use of the store to strategize, consumers will simply see an inviting space in which they can find seemingly every item needed to decorate the home. Luxurious room settings show off numerous styles with Safavieh-branded sofas, beds, occasional tables, lighting, mattresses and, of course, rugs.
The concept store is basically divided into different categories: casual, with leather and distressed items; contemporary, with stainless steel and glass; and traditional, with hardwoods and silk fabrics.
“Our research tells us the consumer today is looking for a source that has all lifestyles that people are living: traditional, casual and contemporary,” said Michael Yaraghi, principal at Safavieh responsible for the company’s retail division. “The store in Farmingdale is about giving those lifestyles. When you walk in, you might need something casual for your kitchen or family room, or something contemporary for an apartment in the city. We want to have sets that show the three most important lifestyles to consumers.”
When entering the store, customers are immediately greeted with walls of quick-to-purchase items such as ottomans, dining chairs, pillows and table lamps.
“We’re in so many categories that it makes sense to show the customer who we are,” Darioush Yaraghi said. “They see us online and on Wayfair, or they see our product at Bed Bath & Beyond. A lot of people call our headquarters and say, ‘I saw this item on Gilt, but I want to see it in person.’ With this showroom, they can come and see it and touch it.”
The back of the store is taken up by a nearly 5,000-square-foot rug department stocked with all styles in every size. “We’re obviously very well known for rugs,” Darioush Yaraghi said. He estimates that about half the store’s customers visit the store looking for floor coverings.
The store is part of a coordinated strategy to emphasize the Safavieh brand. The Safavieh website only features Safavieh-branded items. At the same time, the company’s catalog for all things Safavieh is mailed to 250,000 consumers nationwide.
While the new Farmingdale store only carries Safavieh products, the other existing shops carry items from sources including Hickory Chair, Henredon, Baker and Century.
The all-Safavieh concept will “probably” expand into two new stores in the New York region by the end of the year, according to Darioush Yaraghi. At the same time, the company is contemplating stores in California, Texas, Boston and Washington, D.C.
The company already has distribution centers in Savannah, Ga.; Fontana, Calif., Port Washington, N.Y. (also the location of Safavieh’s corporate headquarters) and Easton, Pa.
“This concept has been in planning for five years,” said Michael Yaraghi. “We were not able to execute until we had our national distribution set. With the new warehouses (Fontana and Savannah) and the expansion of the warehouses in Easton, Pa., we felt we were ready to start rolling it out.”