Stickley retail stores offer window into consumer preferences in challenging times

Events help draw foot traffic, but company aims to succeed on more than just discounts

MANLIUS, NY — As a manufacturer of luxury case goods and upholstery, Stickley Furniture often relies on information from its retail partners to know what’s selling and what isn’t in today’s marketplace.

But it also gets a first-hand glimpse into marketplace activity — including what’s selling and what isn’t — through its own network of 13 showrooms in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Colorado. Together, these stores offer a mix of both Stickley product along with some other upper middle to luxury brands.

Edward Audi

“Traffic has been uneven,” President Edward Audi told Home News Now during the April High Point Market, adding that the company has promoted its special order and its quick ship business to help get people into the stores. “We’ve been able to put strong express and stock programs in place and now we have a great mix of special order and express business and we’re filling in some of the uneven retail months with event business in the stores and we are also upgrading our locations to really good high traffic locations with adjusted store sizes.”

Audi was referring to the recently launched Express30 and Express60 programs that are ready to ship product to the dealer within 30 or 60 days from the time of order depending on the item. A catalog the company issued at the April market specifies which items ship in either time frame.

For example, most of the case goods offered in the catalog ship within the 30-day time period, while the upholstery — including some recliners and power motion sofas — ships in either 30- or 60-day windows.

“Just drawing people to the stores is our main focus,” Audi said, adding that price is not as much a factor in purchase decisions involving the brand as much as availability. “We are trying hard not to sell on discount alone.”

That said, he believes the company’s express ship will grow from a third of the business (with custom representing about two-thirds) to about half as it’s “pretty heavily supported with the core covers.”

As with other retailers from Havertys Furniture to La-Z-Boy, Bassett and even Ashley, Stickley’s store program continues to evolve with new stores, relocations and store revamps and upgrades. As of the market in mid-April, Audi said the company had four stores being remodeled, along with a new location in south Denver and a new store in White Plains, New York.

But throughout the network, he said, events — along with the right product mix — remain critical to attracting customers.

“We’ve got great floor sample deals to make way for new samples,” he said, noting that an event can include an entire remerchandising of the store with both Stickley and other brands sold at that location followed by a storewide sale.

Or it can involve an entire upfit of a gallery to what Audi refers to as a new “Stickley 2.0” version. “And there are special order discounts we also will offer. So from a consumer standpoint, it’s a great big sale event. Everyone loves that. But it’s just our job to not get fatigued or overdo it.”

Location also remains critical to the brand, much like it saw with the move of its High Point showroom from 400 W. English Road to 200 N. Hamilton St. during the April 2023 market. Audi said the move has generated 11 times the traffic it saw in the previous location.

“So we get to tell our story to that many more people,” he said, citing an example of just how important location, product mix and other factors are in getting people in the door at its retail stores. In navigating this still tight economy, finding the right balance will continue to help it succeed in the months and years ahead.

“We are taking nothing for granted,” Audi said. “I don’t think we’re going to get much help from the economy. We’ve added some events to our schedule just in anticipation of uneven sales as we get further into an election year. I would just say that we are being proactive.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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