Drive into the new Pender Village shopping center in Fairfax, and there it is, right next to the new Harris Teeter grocery store. We say this because our building permits were linked, and they were worried that little ol’ us wouldn’t be able to finish our work in time, and that we might be a drag on big ol’ them. Well tut tut, Harris Teeter, we were a month ahead of you, and our shelves are stocked with much prettier things:
We closed our Chantilly showroom to make way for the much bigger one (4,300 square feet) in closer-in Fairfax because 50 percent of our clientele comes from the Reston/Herndon/Fairfax area. “It made sense to move in for them,” Mark says.
Eleven months ago, Marketing Director Alison Heath sent a memo to our sales staff, outlining our vision for what the store should be: “It will go farther than we ever have in attempting to communicate our core messages – that we’re local, that we’re craftsmen, and that we’re quality. The idea is to bring the shop into the showroom.”
To inspire everyone, Alison created a “concept board” with assorted images meant to evoke the feeling we were after. (The living room in the central picture belongs to our general manager, Greg Gloor.)
Read on to see how that vision was realized.
“We wanted to show our furniture in a context that’s different from other furniture showrooms,” Alison says. “It’s custom furniture. To not take advantage of the atmosphere is a waste.”
Alison put together a design team to create a showroom that would best highlight the warm woods from which we craft the furniture at our shop in Woodbridge. The answer? Create some industrial elements to juxtapose against it, such as the stained concrete floor and the black ceilings, and paint the walls in warm yellow and burgundy tones.
As for bringing some of our shop into the showroom, Mark had a workbench built in the middle and hung antique tools from its sides, which he bought in Madison, VA, while shopping for his personal antique soda bottle collection.
Starting fairly soon, we plan to start a lecture series from that bench, where Mark and the other owners will hold forth on all the things that our hardwood artisans are great at. Mark gets a glimmer in his eye just recalling a talk he once gave on sharpening chisels: “It took me 15 years to learn how to sharpen a chisel – I mean REALLY sharpen a chisel,” he says. (OK Mark, we’ll take your word for it.)
And here, we’ve save the best for last: Our new design center.
From here, customers can sit with our interior designer Katie Grech and either design a new piece of custom furniture for us to build, or she can help you with the room design around the new furniture. Need new window treatments to hang above your new chest? Katie will make it happen.
We’re all excited about the future of the new flagship store. “This showroom is the beginning of the next phase of Hardwood Artisans. It’s the next new look for us,” Mark says. “This typifies what the next 20 years are going to be like.”