Friday, January 7, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] Former Buckhead Steakhouse to Become New Floor & Decor Design Studio

Floor & Decor (NYSE: FND) plans to open one of its new Design Studio stores at Tower Walk (3365 Piedmont Road) in Buckhead.  The new 12,358 square foot studio replaces Brazilian steakhouse Chama Gaucha which closed temporarily, and later permanently, in 2020.  Permits recently filed with the City of Atlanta estimate the company will spend $1 million converting the former restaurant space.   

Before Chama Gaucha, the space was home to short-lived and poorly named upscale eatery "Modern," and before that enjoyed a long life as an outpost of Copeland's, a New Orleans-style restaurant.  [Nearby, another former Brazilian steakhouse, Chima - 3215 Peachtree Road - (before that Boi Na Braza, and before that, Kudzu Cafe) was demolished last year to make way for a new Bank OZK.] 

Floor & Decor, which started in Atlanta in 2000, today operates more than 150 of its standard warehouse style stores across the country.  Design Studio, introduced in Dallas, Texas shortly after the start of the pandemic in 2020, caters to a higher-end customer and professionals who want to bring their customers along and show them options in a quieter, smaller area, company CEO Tom Taylor told Forbes this past November.  The Design Studio is essentially an evolution of the "Design Center" which has been part of the company since the beginning.  

Design Studios are typically in densely populated, high traffic areas where they serve to supplement standard Floor & Decor stores in a market.  The Buckhead studio will reportedly offer premium products that may not be available at other Floor & Decor stores.  

Floor & Decor late last year demolished both its original store on the Northeast Expressway in Brookhaven, as well as two adjacent buildings where it is today building a huge new 80,000+ square foot flagship store.  The Floor & Decor Atlanta Design Center, currently situated in a separate freestanding building next door, will move into the new flagship store once complete later this summer.  

The company has operated a stand-alone "Design Gallery" in New Orleans for several years, but Dallas marked the first outpost to carry the "Design Studio" moniker.  Both stores offer essentially the same services of the Atlanta Design Center - browsing, choosing, comparing, and buying merchandise - that is then either shipped to the customer or available for pick-up at a local Floor & Decor retail store.  

ToNeTo Atlanta contacted Floor & Decor's Senior Marketing Manager Jennifer Greenberg with questions about the difference in the various store banners and the opening of Buckhead store but was told "no comment" in response to all queries.  

Floor & Decor plans to open new Design Studio locations in Miami and Houston on January 26.  Sources close to the retailer tell ToNeTo Atlanta that current plans call for the Buckhead Design Studio to open this coming July.  

In Buckhead, Floor & Decor joins Europe's Porcelanosa which opened their showroom in early 2016 at the corner of Piedmont and Roswell Roads, in offering kitchen and bath heavy design services.  

Buckhead has played host to several other design-oriented stores in the past including EXPO Design Center (owned by The Home Depot) as well dekor and Pirch, each of which occupied portions of the same space in Lenox Marketplace but more than a decade apart.  

For its part, The Home Depot, also based in Atlanta, operates two Design Centers of its own, one in San Diego, the other in Rockville, Maryland.  

Have you started or completed a home improvement project during the pandemic?  Do you plan to?  Are you pleased to see Floor & Decor opening a Design Studio in Buckhead?  

Please share your thoughts below.  

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