Competitive Edge: Arhaus Moves into Gabberts’ Home Turf
Furniture is a booming business at Edina’s Galleria, where Gabberts General Manager Becky Lepley says her store has seen consistent growth in both volume and profitability for the past four years. Since opening just down the hall in October 2012, another high-end furniture retailer, Arhaus, “has performed well above any of our projections,” according to West/Regional Manager Vicki Webb.
Both Gabberts and Arhaus appeal to an affluent customer, from upwardly mobile 30-somethings to downsizing retirees. Gabberts draws from a stable of some 450 vendors, with a focus on well-known brands like L & J.G. Stickley in traditional, contemporary, and transitional styles, while Arhaus’ proprietary designs have a more eclectic aesthetic, pulling inspiration from around the globe.
With more than 80 percent of Gabberts’ business coming from customized furnishings, its main distinction, says Lepley, is “definitely our breadth of custom capabilities. We very rarely sell things as shown.”
Arhaus customizes, but also stocks everything on display exactly as shown—and often can have it delivered within seven to 10 days. At Gabberts, most pieces must be special-ordered.
In addition to its signature Sleep Studio and fine rugs departments, Gabberts stands out for its longstanding reputation for interior design services. Arhaus offers a less-intensive “house-call” program where staffers make home visits.
This competition is not only friendly, but helpful in creating an informed consumer, says Lepley. “Anytime you have like retailers in the same mall it just invites more people and gives them the opportunity to compare and see differences for themselves.”