Aug. 25, 2014. Walking into Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery’s showroom is sure to leave an indelible impression. The building itself is impressive: a stunning cabin of huge proportions, hardwood floors and vast windows that invite in the beauty of the surrounding area. But what draws the viewer to linger is the feeling of warmth and comfort created by the tastefully displayed array of furnishings and accessories, chosen with care to dare one not to take a seat, put up their feet and imagine themselves enjoying this beautiful setting in their own home.
In the furniture business, consistency and loyalty count for a lot and the managers of Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery have gone the extra yard to prove their commitment to the customers who travel to their fine, well-designed studio on U.S. 321 bypass. Just eight months ago, it looked like the legacy of what opened as Broyhill Furniture Galleries might be over when the parent company of Broyhill, Furniture Brands International, declared bankruptcy in September. Despite strong sales, the lush showroom that so complemented the surrounding area for the previous ten years was forced to shutter its doors in January when their lease was ended as part of the company’s financial restructuring plan.
The former General Manager for the Broyhill Store, now General Manager for Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery Peter Caron, Assistant Manager Crystal Puett and Sales Manager Patricia Frantzen decided they couldn’t let this institution die. They rolled up their sleeves, took a month to reorganize things, brought in investors and went to work setting up the new venture.
“By the end of February, we knew we would be doing something,” Caron said. “All three of us had enjoyed the previous ten years, helping customers make their house a home.”
Rechristened as the Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery, the store reopened with what Caron called “a soft opening” on May 9. It’s official grand opening on July 1 was well attended as the community showed its support and enthusiasm for the new concept.
The months before the new store opened were very busy behind the scenes. There were numerous meetings with furniture representatives and investors. A number of trips to the showrooms of the High Point Furniture Market were also necessary. The interior layout of the store had to be completely redesigned to showcase all the new collections that were being purchased.
“We started from scratch,” said Caron. “There’s a lot of physical labor involved in setting up a store. It’s still a work in progress.”
Tailoring things to their shoppers’ desires, Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery regularly features eight or nine manufacturers, with an emphasis on American-made products.
“Our customers expressed a desire for American-made furniture and we have attempted to fill that need,” Caron said. “We completed out goal partially, but you can’t fill a 20,000 square foot showroom with just American manufacturers, because so many manufacturers now source their products globally.”
Caron noted that the other goal when designing the store was to give customers “a variety of quality furnishings at an affordable price,” a goal the group believes they’ve succeeded in achieving. While the feel of the showroom is country-rustic, Caron pointed out that their ability to order from many manufacturers lets them carry a “wide range of styles and looks.”
One of the unique things about the business is the loyalty that Caron and his managing partners have built with clients over the years.
“When customers return to town for the summer, they come by the store to visit with us and see what new products are on display. This June, one couple stopped in on their way to town even before they had gone to their house,” Caron said, adding that, “Everybody who comes in says they are glad we are back.”
This has been the appeal of this location, this building and these furnishings for the last ten years. Combined with a knowledgeable and experienced sales staff that customers have come to know and trust year after year and a dedication to helping each customer recreate the feeling of peace and comfort they enjoy when they enter Blowing Rock Furniture and Gallery, it is no wonder that a successful business has been built.
Caron concludes, “While the name has changed, the commitment to quality, affordability and exemplary service remain our driving principles.”
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