Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything
Home furnishing store to locate in Fairfield as market continues to boom
By Catherine Moy/Special to The Reporter

Ashley Furniture, the second largest furnishings company in America, will open a massive store in Fairfield to offer a large selection of furniture to the area's growing population.

The company worked with Colliers' International to broker the deal, which culminated on July 18. Ashley plans to build a 46,000-square-foot store near Fairfield's Auto Plaza Court off of Interstate 80 near the North Bay Auto Auction and the Saturn dealership. The Retail Endeavors Group of Austin, Texas, bought almost 5.5 acres for its furniture store. The group will break ground on the project by February, according to Nicole Rodrigues of J. Stokes & Associates, which represents Colliers' International.

With an ongoing housing boom in Solano County, the timing could scarcely be better. The Census Bureau reported home furnishing retail sales were up 3.3 percent in July 2005 over same period last year. June saw similar increases as home furnishing retail sales rose 3.6 percent over the month last year.

"Ashley's anticipates to generate sales of about $40 million a year, which will be a huge economic boost for Fairfield and Solano County," said Brooks Pedder, SIOR, vice president with Colliers' Fairfield office. "There are a ton of homes being built in the area; homes that all need to be filled with furniture. The company hopes to have the building complete and doors open by the first or second quarter of 2006."

The company will likely hire all of its employees from the area, Pedder said. Aside from new jobs, Ashley will bring new revenue to Fairfield and offer diversity for home furnishings, he added.

"It's going to be pretty incredible tax revenue," Pedder said.

Fairfield's Ashley Furniture Store will be the first for the company in Solano County, though several stores carry various Ashley pieces including American Furniture in Fairfield, according to the company Web site.

Ashley Furniture has more of a foothold in Southern California, but is moving north, Pedder said. In addition to the Fairfield project, the company is opening a store in the East Bay and in the North Bay along the Highway 101 corridor, he added.

Ashley Furniture's headquarters are in Arcadia, Wis., which is the main manufacturing and distribution center for the company. The privately held company began in 1945 with branches in Goshen, Ind., and Chicago, but moved to the Arcadia headquarters in 1970, according to the company's Web site.

The companies involved declined to disclose the cost of the land sale. Pedder and Phil Garrett, SIOR, vice president with Colliers in Fairfield represented the seller, Northbay Properties, LLC, in the transaction. Robert Dennis of the Retail Connection represented Ashley Furniture. Officials with Ashley could not be reached for comment.

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