What do you know about furniture giant Rooms to Go? Depending on where you live, you have probably seen these stores on your daily commute. Maybe you have even taken the time to venture inside and see everything they have to offer. You might even have furniture in your very own home that you purchased there. Regardless of the situation, there is a chance that you might want to know more about the chain. Below are 20 things that make Rooms to Go unique. Keep reading to find out more.
1. They started doing business more than a quarter-century ago
The first Rooms to Go store open its doors in 1990. It's hard to believe that something that opened in the 1990s is now considered a quarter-century-old or more, but it's the truth. In this particular case, they open the store in September. That means that they've been doing business as Rooms to Go for just over 28 years now. They will celebrate their 29th anniversary in about nine months.
2. The company is based in Florida
The company has its headquarters based in Seffner, Florida, to be exact. This is a small town located in Hillsborough County, right in the heart of the state on the west side. During the last census, there were just under eight thousand people living in Seffner. Obviously, having the headquarters for this store there has been a huge boost the economy, which is one of the reasons that they chose to put it there in the first place.
3. They operate over 200 stores
At last count, they had 226 stores, to be exact. That's a pretty good number for any chain, especially when you consider the fact that furniture stores represent a fairly specialized niche. Granted, everyone needs furniture, but this isn't like operating a big box store that has things that people need on a weekly or even daily basis. Most of the time, people only need furniture when they move from one location to another or on the rare occasion that they decide that they want to update the look of their home. Clearly, they are doing something right in order to have that many stores that are up and running because when you operate a furniture store, you are constantly appealing to new customers, as returning customers may not need furniture often enough to give you a good financial foundation.
4. The chain focuses mainly on operations in the central and southeast parts of the country
Currently, this furniture chain operates locations in eleven different states or provinces. For the most part, the focus is on what most people consider the Deep South but there are also stores in the central southern states of the country and even in Puerto Rico. As far as the 50 states are concerned, you can find Rooms to Go stores in Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas.
5. It all started out as a more traditional type of business
Rooms to Go has only been operating since 1990 but the business that really helped launch it started back in 1933. It too was a furniture business known as Seaman’s Furniture, operated by the Seaman family. It was something that started as a very small family-run business and over time, it grew into something larger and larger. It wasn't until more than 20 years after that store first opened that they decided to take a full-page ad out in a newspaper and their business tripled over that same weekend. That was when they actually decided to open additional stores because it would reduce the amount of money they had to spend on advertising, at least when you looked at it in terms of cost per store. That's when they open their second store and they began expanding even more from there.
6. The company was founded by someone who did not have a college education
The person who founded Seaman's Furniture was named Julius Seaman and the thing that really is interesting about this individual is that not only did he not have a college degree, but he had dropped out of high school years before. This serves to prove that people don't necessarily always have to have a college education in order to do well in business. Granted, it was a different time and things are more complicated now, but like many other people, he seemed to know that he had a calling and he was ready to answer it without taking the extra time to attend all those classes. It isn't something that works often, but for a select few individuals, it does seem to be the right answer.
7. It was strictly a family business for quite some time
From the time that Seaman Furniture started doing business in 1933 until 1988, the stores that operated under that name were operated as a family business in the absolute truest sense of the word. During the time that Julius, the original founder, operated them he was able to put both of his sons through college. This allowed things in his own life to come full circle as the man who had dropped out of school was now able to impress upon his sons that they needed to not only finish school, but go on to college. Thanks to his success in the furniture business, he was able to put them both through all of their courses. Upon graduation, his older son came to help out with the business and work beside his father. Sadly, Julius passed away at the relatively young age of 48 after suffering a massive heart attack. His older son then took over while the younger boy finished his studies at college.
8. The company was subject to a forced buyout
Seaman’s Furniture was popular right up until 1988, when the company was bought out by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. This was not something that the Seaman family had planned on, nor was it something that they were ready to accept. As a matter of fact, this is a perfect example of how cruel Corporate America can really be. It was what amounted to a hostile takeover of the company and when the Seaman Furniture company was purchased for just 350 million dollars, it left the entire Seaman family with enough debt to crush them. For a time, they allowed Morton Seaman, who was a son of Julius, and his own son Jeffrey, to stay on as board members but that didn't last long. Just two years later, they were cut from the company as well.
9. Eventually, those who founded the original company were forced out
It didn't take long after that buyout for the original owners of the company to be forced out as well. As a matter of fact, it wasn't even quite two years from the timing of one event to the next. Not only did this leave the Seaman family with a great deal of debt, but it effectively removed them and all traces of their name from the furniture company that had been their livelihood for generations, dating all the way back to before World War II. This was not something that Morton Seaman planned on taking lightly, as you will see in the next paragraph.
10. If it weren't for those events, there's a chance that Rooms to Go would not exist
There is no doubt that the Seaman family went through some very difficult times when they were forced out of their own business. They probably experienced a great deal of fear and uncertainty as they moved forward with things after the takeover. However, if that takeover hadn’t happened, there is every chance that Rooms to Go would not exist today. It was after these events that Morton Seaman decided to open Rooms to Go. In fact, that decision was made as the direct result of he and his son Jeffrey being forced out of their positions once they had been bought out.
11. The very first store of its type was opened in Orlando, Florida
The family had always had an important connection to the state of Florida. Therefore, it only makes sense that they would eventually decide to open their new store, the very first in the Rooms to Go chain, in Florida as well. This one opened in September of 1990 in Orlando, Florida and it proved to be a huge success right off the bat. After all the family had been through, they had a new lease on life and they were once again operating their very own furniture business.
12. The concept is to sell furniture for an entire room all at once
When they opened their new store, they knew that they would have to do something that was considered drastically different in order to succeed once again in the furniture business. They wanted to set themselves apart from everyone else who was selling furniture and they wanted to create something that would be memorable for the consumer. They therefore came up with the idea to pair furniture that would go well together in a room and then stage the furniture as such in their showrooms. They then started selling the furniture in packages so that their customers could buy enough furniture to fill an entire room, effectively allowing them to shop by room as opposed to shopping one piece at a time. This proved to be a popular concept for customers because they could save time when buying large amounts of furniture since they could do it all at once.
13. Purchasing furniture in this manner saves money
Another benefit of buying furniture in this manner is that it saves money. Since everything is packaged by room, customers are almost always given a significant discount when they purchase all the pieces for that particular room. Of course, you are never forced to buy enough furniture for an entire room when you visit a Rooms to Go store, but if you are in the market for that much furniture, this is definitely a way to save both time and money.
14. They now have seven different warehouses
The chain has proven to be so popular that they now have no less than seven different warehouses scattered throughout the same states where they operate their stores. This is done to better serve those stores and get each of their 226 locations the furniture they need quickly. Once again, the idea is to be able to serve the consumer in the most efficient manner possible.
15. They frequently partner with celebrities in order to create specialized pieces
It isn’t uncommon to see them including certain pieces from famous individuals. This is something they have been doing for the last ten years. Obviously, the idea is create something that is unique and it also helps when it comes to the marketing aspect of things. People like the idea of having something that has, in some manner, been created by one of their favorite celebrities. That in turn gives this store an advantage when it comes to keeping their customer base healthy.
16. Currently, they have three different such lines of furniture available
They started with furniture that had been created or inspired by Cindy Crawford, the ever-popular and ageless supermodel that has garnered a devoted fan following over the years. More recently, they have also created partnerships with actress Sofia Vergara and country music singer Eric Church.
17. The celebrity lines have proven to be big sellers for them
These lines of furniture have helped propel the store into an entirely new realm of popularity. The idea to create these partnerships has proven to be a brilliant idea. Over the years, the stores have sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of furniture sold in these specialized lines.
18. Even though they’ve grown, they still promote solid values
The one things that has never changed about these stores is that they still hold true to the same values they had back in the 1930s. They do business differently than most. Suffice it to say that you won’t find them forcefully buying out anyone who has worked hard to build something from scratch because they don’t believe in doing business that way.
19. They produce furniture of exceptional quality
They have always focused on producing a quality product and they still do that same thing even today. They realized long ago that the only way to remain successful in this business is to do right by the customer, and that involves creating and selling furniture of quality.
20. They have special stores that cater just kid’s furniture
These stores are called Rooms to Go Kids and they focus exclusively on selling furniture that is both attractive and sturdy enough to stand up to the test of time when it finds itself in the rooms of kids who will undoubtedly test its mettle at every turn.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson