Issue Date: 2019 AUGUST, Posted On: 8/22/2019

08222019 Toms Price Rolls Out Rug Studios -- And the Move Pays Off
By Lisa Vincenti

Chicago-area home furnishing retailer Toms Price introduces Rug Studios in three of its Illinois locations to boost the prominence of the category by customer demand.

BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. -- Chicago-area home furnishings retailer Toms Price Home has revamped three of its stores for the launch of its new Rug Studios, which double its rug assortment at each location.

Already the new format is paying off,  according to Lori Stengren, vice president of marketing and merchandising for Toms Price, who told RugNews.com that sales in the category are up since the rug galleries rolled out this summer. 

Toms Price opens rug galleries in its Wheaton and Lincolnshire, Illinois stores, its two largest locations, pictured. A smaller store in Skokie, also has a Rug Studio as well.

The new Rug Studios have been added to Toms Price's three largest stores -- in Lincolnshire, Skokie and Wheaton -- and are centrally located within each. The company now offers thousands of rugs, merchandising them by price for ease of shopping, and changing the way in which rugs are showcased by adding rug sample displays and stacks rather than using only rack systems. Rugs are also merchandised throughout out the store in room vignettes as well.

What's more, the retailer of mid- to high-end home goods completely overhauled its area rug assortment, updating the styles and collections now available to customers and expanding the selection of larger sized rugs, typically 8x10 and up, now the preferred choice among its shoppers. 

Toms Price doubles its area rug assortment adding stacks on the floor, and showcases a range of contemporary samples for custom options. On the right wall is a hand-knotted Toms Price Luxe collection design made of fine wool and viscose.

The introduction of dedicated rug galleries is part of an overall strategy by Toms Price to modernizing its stores, and  to make shopping for rugs and other home furnishings easier. Founded in 1908 by Edwin Toms and George Price in downtown Chicago, the fourth-generation family-owned Toms Price home stores features 50 leading furniture brands, and over the decades has evolved to become a "design firm within a furniture store." Today all sales associates in its four stores and one retail outlet are trained in design.

"We are really working toward making our stores very shoppable for consumers and so we are dong a lot of updates and upgrades," Stengren said. "The whole focus is on the consumer and how to make it easier for them to find what they want, and to see that they have many rug options at Toms Price.
"We moved rugs to more prominent locations within our stores because they are such an important part of the design process," she continued, adding that Toms Price did away with most of its rug racks, partly because they cannot accommodate the larger sizes popular among today's consumers. By placing rugs in stacks on the floor, Stengren said, "it merchandises rugs how they really are meant to be viewed -- on the floor."

Above and below, The Toms Price Home Furnishings team celebrates the grand opening of its Lincolnshire Rug Studio. From center left to right, David Price, Toms Price CEO; Scott Price,  president; Christopher Dickason, ORC Rugs president; and Andy Ingle, Toms Price rug specialist.

In addition, the retailer now has rug specialists on hand at each store to assist customers with hand-knotted rug selection. The company's fine rugs are sourced and provided by Tulsa, Oklahoma-based ORC Rugs. Machine-made options include area rugs by Karastan and Nourison, as well as specialty options like staircase runners and wall-to-wall. Consumers will also find kiosks with about 10,000 more area rugs that can be swiped through and filtered.
"While we always carried rugs at Toms Price, we are responding to the growing trend and demand for households with hardwood flooring. These homeowners want to make a statement with their floor coverings and rugs are a great starting point," Stengren said. 

About half of all rug revenues generated at the retailer are from hand-knotteds, which are sold under the Toms Price Home label, the remainder are machine-made area rugs, broadloom and stairway runners. At the Rug Studios, most rugs sold are in the 8x10 size and the best-selling price point in their hand-knot category is $2,500-$3,500, Stengren said. She added that area rugs have become an increasingly important and growing category at Toms Price, prompting the changes to its store format.

The new Rug Studios include hand-knotted rug samples on ladder displays, which are part of its continuity program and are available in a range of sizes such as 6x9, 8x10, 10x12 and 12x15.

David Pease, hand-knot specialist and rug buyer at Toms Price, explained the move to floor covering specialists: "They guide customers to make an informed buying decision concerning color, fiber and the appropriate rug size for the room. The ideal situation is to begin with a rug you love as the foundation for designing an entire room around it. While it may not always work out that way, it is easier to pull colors and fabrics from the rugs. Our rug specialists are also able to bring several rugs to a client's home at no charge," he said.

A Toms Price relocates its area rug assortment to the center of the store and revamps its merchandise approach.

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