Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fixtures Living Bringing Non-Vehicular Test Drives to Atlanta

The interior of a Fixtures Living store
Costa Mesa, California-based Fixtures Living plans to enter the Atlanta market.

The four-unit chain will reportedly occupy the upper level of the former Filene's Basement as well as a portion of the lower level. Described as being "a unique and innovative retail concept specializing in premium lifestyle products for the home," Fixtures Living sells home hardware and appliances including indoor and outdoor kitchens, and allows for guests to "test drive" products in a way seldom available to retail consumers. 

Though I have yet to visit any of their stores myself, the concept seems like an energized, more diverse version of the Insperience Studio at Buckhead Place.  The Insperience Studio was a retail concept from the Whirlpool Corporation that enabled customers and professionals alike to "test drive" home appliances from the family of Whirlpool brands including KitchenAid, Maytag, JENN-AIR and others.  The store was reconcepted the "KitchenAid Culinary Store" in 2009 and became a studio for professionals only and was not open to the public.  The store closed around late 2010. 

With housing showing signs of recovery and prices at their highest level since 2008, retailers like Fixtures Living are seizing the opportunity to enter new markets and expand their retail chain.  

Fixtures Living would seem to most closely "compete" with stores and "experiences" like the cooking studio at Sur la Table at Phipps Plaza, The Cook's Warehouse at Ansley Mall and the expanding Viking Store and Cooking School at Brookwood Place.

Unlike most retail stores, however, Fixtures Living operates with rather limited hours, with most of their locations open until 5pm, rather than the typical industry closure of 9pm. 

The chain has a total of three locations open, with four more listed as "coming soon." Existing locations are all in California at Rancho Mirage, Costa Mesa and San Diego. The locations coming soon include stores in at The Glendale Galleria (Glendale, CA) - Fall 2013, UTC Westfield (San Diego, CA) - Fall 2013, Oakbrook Center (Chicago, IL) - Spring 2014, and NorthPark Center (Dallas, TX) - Summer 2014. The NorthPark Center store in Dallas will occupy about 32,000 square feet of a recently shuttered Barney's New York store that Arhaus Furniture is also sharing, with the furniture store taking 24,000 square feet.

This past March the privately held Fixtures Living entered into a "strategic partnership" with Catterton Partners, a leading consumer-focused private equity firm that previously was involved with the growth of Restoration Hardware. Restoration Hardware was previously located within Lenox Square, but after a multi year absence from the Buckhead area, they will soon break ground on a multi-million dollar, three-story flagship location on Peachtree Road previously occupied by ESPN Zone. 

Fixtures Living has won various design and retail awards and honors including :

Winner, “Retail Store of the Year” (Hard-Lines 15k-25k sf category) from Chain Store Age (2012)

Listed #78 on Forbes’ annual ranking of “America's Most Promising Companies” (2013)

Winner, “Best in Show Worldwide: In-Store Signage and Graphics” (2012)

The Fixtures Living space opened as Dekor in 2000, a home furnishings store created by a number of former The Home Depot employees.  The store grew to about six locations before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2002 and closing all of their locations.  I remember attending both the grand opening... and later the grand closing and being a fan of their purple, cylindrical collapsible baskets that strangely later made their way into my local Pike Nursery location. 

The two-level space was later home to American Signature Furniture (on the upper level) and its then sister brand, Filene's Basement (on the lower level.)  American Signature's space is now home to Urban Active (now owned by LA Fitness) and the lower level, although vacant, was transformed last year into Google headquarters for the filming of the soon to be released film The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. 

No firm timetable for when the Atlanta store will open but I'd expect it sometime in the third or fourth quarter of 2014.  

Does Fixtures Living sound like a cool store to you?  Do you miss the offerings of Dekor?  What appliance would you like most to be offered for a test drive and or demonstration?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting concept; however, given their location next to Urban Active where the foot traffic is extremely high AFTER 5 pm, I hope they reconsider their hours and stay open later for their first few months of being open. Most people have jobs during the day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment. Our hours will absolutely match the demand of the market. We are really looking forward to being a part of the community in the 2nd quarter of 2014!

Anonymous said...

Looks like interior demo work has started on this in the past week or so.

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