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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Do Large Stores have better prices?

There has been so many things different this past year with the pandemic, especially in retail business. It has been hard for small business due to being shut down, some for weeks and others for months! Let's talk about product, costs and the difference between the smaller retailer as compared to the Big Box stores!

Many people ask, " Big Box Stores come and go. The name may change, but the commercials and the items inside are the same. Is there really huge savings when you buy from the BIG stores?"

What you need to understand is that the large stores can give the illusion of HUGE DISCOUNTS on home furnishings. But realize, they have HUGE overhead, with buildings, stock, staff, warehouses, taxes.....on and on....because they are big, everything they have on the expense side is also big! They need the flow of sales and movement of furniture in and out to stay in business!

Secondly, if you compare, item for exact item, a big box store is normally going to be higher priced than a smaller store because of the overall costs of doing business! The issue here is, they do not purchase the same quality merchandise so that you can compare an apple to an apple! Many times, when they are large, they will have an import company ‘copy’ a product from an American manufacturer, so everything on the inside will be made with less quality, framing, springs, fabrics and, yes it might look like something else, and may be a bit less cost, but generally it is way overpriced for the quality it actually is!

Another question I get is, "What about furniture warranties from these companies?"

Because furniture is a product that is usually kept awhile, warranties are important! Most big box stores purchase without warranties, so if you move out of the area, or if the store goes out of business, you are stuck with no one to help. Again, a lot of these products are made special for them so another store cannot help you because they are not aware of who even made it! Also, warranties go by a serial number if you are trying to get parts for a sofa, the company checks to see who actually bought it, and they will not warranty it if it was purchased without warranty! Unfortunately you are not aware until you need help!

I hear about this one a lot these days. "What about the financing and free stuff that they talk about?"

Almost all home furnishing retailers offer some type of financing programs so that is not really a big deal. If you read their fine print, you would understand that 60 months financing only comes with really large dollar you cannot purchase a $999 mattress set, and finance it for 5 years! Also, recognize that free isn’t always free! The cost is in there somewhere! They have to make money, or they will go out of business, and with heat, lights, taxes, rent, etc.....they need to make a lot of money! Do not be fooled by buy one, get on free! I was asked about that today. "Do you have Buy One Get One Free Recliners?" Sure, ...just double the price of one recliner and then the other one is free! Don't be fooled. Free normally has a hidden cost!

Best advise when purchasing furniture today is.....

  • First, I would tell you to purchase from a reputable store, who has been there a while, and will stand behind their products.

  • Secondly, the best priced product is the one that you get, and have for a long time! The cheaper products that you are replacing all of the time, actually cost you the most, not only in dollars but also in frustration!

  • Thirdly, purchase American made if possible! If you have to assemble it, it probably was made somewhere else and shipped in on a container!! American products are generally made one at a time, with much higher quality components, and if you need a part it can be replaced in a timely manor.

I am seeing that imports have really increased in price due to tariffs and shipping, so they are not really as ‘cheap’ as you might think! Many American product can actually cost you less! At the end of the day, you may be paying for the freight of the product vs the product itself. Not what I want for my family or my home.

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