Furniture sales strong

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Area furniture merchants say they are doing a brisk business despite the bad economy.

Some have even been reconfiguring their showrooms and offering a wider variety of products.

Ivor Furniture Co. has dedicated 3,000 square feet of its business — located on General Mahone Boulevard in Ivor — to a new La-Z-Boy Comfort Studio.

“We’re trying to bring a lot more choice and availability to the customers in our area,” said company President Alice Scott.

Scott said the new studio features 14 vignettes, each of which is set up to look like a room. The vignettes have sofas, love seats and ottomans, but they also have lamps, rugs and other accessories on display.

About 37 La-Z-Boy recliners are lined up in the “soldiered area” of the studio.

“It’s really pretty,” Scott said. “It’s really given the store a face-lift.”

Some work on the studio is still being completed. A kiosk displaying different fabrics available for the recliners “should be in place by the weekend or by Monday,” Scott said.

Monday is also the company’s 60th anniversary.

The company started planning the studio in October and will have its grand opening in March or April.

It’s been a year since Nottoway House Inc. in Courtland first went online. That decision has been bringing in customers from Richmond to Virginia Beach, according to Collin Pulley, the store’s general manager.

“We’re the exception” to the bad economy, Pulley said. “We’ve been doing real well. This year has started off well.”

Pulley said he hasn’t seen a decline in the number of customers coming into his store on Southampton Parkway or noticed a change in their buying habits. “People are still going for quality,” he said.

New products at Nottoway House include Amish-made furniture and Serta mattresses.

Kevin Insull said his store, Schewel Furniture on Armory Drive in Franklin, is doing well also.

“Our business is doing OK,” said Insull, the store’s manager. “We are actually doing business ahead of last year. This January has been better than last January.”

Insull said the bad economy hasn’t stopped people from shopping at his store, but their buying habits are a little different.

“People are definitely watching their dollars. They are being more selective. And they aren’t maxing themselves out (with their credit cards), which is a good thing.”