Posted by Sarah Burk
Did you know that if every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 each month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy?
Statistics like these inspired the founding of Independent Retailer Month, an annual shop local campaign held during July to encourage consumers to support and celebrate their independent retailers.
This July, Casual Living is looking at how independent casual retailers are staying on top of the competition, testing out unique online initiatives, and staying relevant in a constantly changing retail landscape.
For independent retailers, smaller showrooms can help them offer personalized service while still showing off products in a creative way. And that’s exactly what retailers Springhaus Designs and Lightstyles focus on with their showrooms.
In Timnath, Colorado, Springhaus Designs’ showroom is a visual representation of their full-home design services. Founding Springhaus in 2016, designer and owner Alison Schuman sought to start a design service that fulfilled all the product needs of building and design under one roof.
“No longer do builders, contractors, designers and homeowners have to drive all around town to 12 different places for 50 different things,” says Julie Ann Adler, interior designer, Springhaus. “Springhaus has it all—flooring, tile, lighting, furniture, accessories, cabinets, countertops, plumbing and hardware. And we’ve got services to boot. Whether they’re looking for design consultation, 3-D renderings, space planning, project management or installation, we have the trained professional to hook them up.”
While the company’s aim is to design spaces for their clients, for the month of July, Springhaus is focusing on filling their 30,000 square-foot design center, dubbed the “design playground.” Equipped with a slide and glass-walled planning rooms, Springhaus’ showroom exhibits its client-focused approach to unique, individualized design.
“We’ve created a menu of products and services that you can choose from, or you can sign up for the Full Monty,” Adler says, explaining how the design center works. “Whatever makes the most sense for their project, we’re here for them. We have experts in each department to ensure our customers have the best products for their specific needs, and designers to walk them through each phase, making sure they end up with a cohesive design that they just can’t get enough of.”
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North Carolina-based retailer Lightstyles, who offers everything from lamps, prints and accessories to light fixtures and ceiling fans, also advertises its custom design services, particularly in the outdoor category.
“We’re near a large regional lake, Lake Norman, and we have a lot of customers who’ve come to us to help illuminate their docks and exterior living spaces, so we consider ourselves to be experts in landscape and LED accent lighting,” says Brad Goode, sales manager, Lightstyles.
“Exterior lighting is critical to our customers’ lakeside lifestyles,” Goode continues. “We offer after-dark consultations and will take demo kits and fixtures to their homes so they can actually see what fixtures look like in their space and not just in a showroom.”
Creating this custom lighting experience is part of the company’s core focus on building personal relationships with their customers.
“We consider our customers our friends,” Goode explains. “One of my favorite customers is a couple who has built several new homes in the area in the past 25 years. The lady comes by our showroom every once in a while. She lets me know what’s going on with her kids and grandkids, and I tell her what my wife and daughter are up to. That’s not the type of relationship you get at a big box store or online.”
In addition to showcasing their products, Lightstyles’ showroom acts as a place of community and a way for the company to demonstrate their commitment to serving their customers.
“We constantly look at the new trends and technologies to make sure that we can offer our customers the latest and greatest products,” Goode says. “We’ve even started a CFL light bulb recycling program through our showroom to encourage people to replace all of the outdated bulbs in their home.”
When it comes to setting themselves apart from other independent retailers, Lightstyles emphasizes their ability to understand the specific needs of their clients. More than 25% of the Lightstyles team has been in the industry for over 20 years.
“Whether someone is building a new home or just wants to add or replace a single fixture, we want to give them the ultimate experience,” Goode says. “From an in-home design consultation to fulfilling a manufacturer’s warranty, we help our customers through the entire process.”
For both Lightstyles and Springhaus Designs, their showrooms act as physical representations of their comprehensive services, demonstrating how independent retailers can make the most of their retail space.