Bedroom, mattress retailer expands to include furniture

2014-03-30T00:00:00Z 2014-03-30T18:34:09Z Bedroom, mattress retailer expands to include furnitureBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

This weekend Mattress Land USA and Bedroom Land USA are welcoming a new member of the family, Furniture Land USA. 

"It’s a brand new building behind Mattress Land USA," said President Craig Barthel.

The new $2.5 million building, at 685 King Park Drive, has 7,000 square feet of showroom space and 10,000 square feet of warehouse space. 

"We more than doubled our warehouse capacity," he said. 

Inventory for all three stores can be housed inside the new warehouse. 

The new building will also double the retail space for the company. Barthel, a longtime furniture salesman, opened Mattress Land on King Avenue in 2001. 

Furnishings for living rooms and dining rooms will fill the new showroom, he said. "This allows us to carry other products we don't currently have."

Barthel thinks the furniture store will round out his business, which currently specializes in bedroom furnishings and fill a niche in the Billings market.

His plan is to predominantly sell furniture made in America. "We see a tremendous potential for this type of product in Billings," he said. 

For the last two decades, imported furniture has dominated the market, but Barthel is convinced that's going to change. 

With imported furniture, style choices are limited and quality is sometimes subpar, he said. "People are tired of something that’s disposable. They’re looking for quality."

According to Barthel, average wages in Asia previously were $16 an hour less than in the United States. Now, it's just $7 and with fuel prices inching up, "American is more affordable than it's ever been."

He claims that his American-made furniture is not only affordable, it's easy to customize.

"You can pick your leg, style, fit, finish, everything," he said. His couches, for example, come in more than 700 different fabric styles to fit any home.

Several interior decorators have been added to the staff to help customers fit new pieces of furniture into their home's existing decor. 

"We’ll have help here in the store, but we’ll also have designers that will come to your house," he said. 

Space expansion has also required staff expansion. Barthel has added 11 employees, bringing the total to 21.

The company also added an online store to their businesses last September.  

"Right now it's accounting for 5 percent of our total sales," he said. "We expect it to be 25 percent of our sales in three years."

The business has been shipping products all over the country. 

"Somebody in Manhattan bought a dining room set, and we had it to them within the week," he said.

All the growth could seem risky, but Barthel thinks the gamble will pay off.

He expects first-year sales to be $3 to $4 million, a 50 percent increase in overall business.

The two-day grand opening began Saturday, and continues Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Regular hours are Monday- Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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