Owner Joe Heslin’s new 21,000-square-foot store was five years in the making and well worth the wait.
BrandSource member more than triples footprint, expands assortment
By Andy Kriege, YSN
Carmona’s Appliance & Mattress Center’s new store in Redding, Calif., is in a word, magnificent.
While the move was a long time in the making, it was well worth the wait. Owner Joe Heslin could not be happier with how everything came together to make it happen. Heslin said the new store is drawing rave reviews. “We have had a fabulous reaction from our customers who have come in over the past few weeks,” he said. “There is such a wow factor just walking in the doors.”
What’s more, Heslin said sales reps have told him that the new Carmona’s location is now one of the top stores in all of California. “They compare us to Friedmans Appliance in the Bay area,” he said, and was quick to tip his cap to fellow BrandSource member Matthew Leachman, who helped plan the new location. “I visited his store, and he was extremely helpful,” Heslin said. “He gave me many ideas that played a big role in helping us design and plan our new store.”
Carmona’s new location has allowed the business to bring in seven new appliance brands and an additional 300 SKUs. But besides the expanded selection, Heslin now has the space to display them all. “In the past, local customers had to go down to the Bay area to see premium appliances displayed,” he said. “Now they can shop local and come here.”
In addition to carrying more appliance lines, the new store has added a SleepSource gallery that will showcase a complete collection of Sealy, Tempur-Pedic and Carrington Chase mattresses and accessories, as well as a full assortment of outdoor cooking products and accessories.
To properly staff the larger new showroom and service an expanded customer base, the business needed to grow its ranks by half, so Heslin employed BrandSource partner CareerPlug in his search for new hires. “They have been a tremendous asset,” he said. “I get anywhere from four to eight resumes a day. I filter through them all and have found that over time you can land some really good people.”
Taking the Long View
Heslin had the foresight to purchase the building five years ago, while it was still being rented to a furniture store that he didn’t see staying through the end of its lease. “When their lease finally came due in August, we had everything in place for a smooth transition,” he said. “Our contractors were ready, we had cabinets and displays that had been built a year in advance and were rat-holed, and we were prepared to roll when they vacated.” An extensive remodel followed, and Heslin was able to move into the new location and close the older store on schedule.
In retrospect, buying an occupied building five years ago in a desired location turned out to be a fantastic play for Heslin, as the price and availability of real estate would have made the deal much more cost prohibitive today. “My fixed overhead is exactly the same as it was in the previous, much smaller building,” he said.
Although the new showroom has only been open for a short time, business has been great. “We are doing very well,” Heslin said. “Foot traffic remains solid for us, and I suspect it will get even better when we get past the issues that all of us are going through now. We are still increasing every month and we see a bright future.”
Even before the move, Carmona’s managed to double its business over the last five years, which Heslin attributes to its marketing strategy. “With the support of AVB Marketing we can compete with Best Buy and Home Depot,” he said. “We do a lot more for customers than the big-box stores. Not only do we know what we’re doing, we do it better.”
Heslin also noted that it has been a total team effort and wishes to acknowledge the commitment of his business partners Victoria Heslin along with Jane and Mario Callegari.
YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.