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Furniture store’s old-town feel

Posted: July 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Owner Greg Moser poses inside Consumers Furniture Gallery in Santa Clarita.

 

Nearly a decade before Santa Clarita became a city, and residents could drive from one end of town to the other and rarely see a traffic light, Consumers Furniture opened for business to serve local residents.

“The parking lot used to be a dirt lot,” said owner Greg Moser, a native of Santa Clarita.

Opened in 1978 by Moser’s father, Clem, and an uncle, the privately owned furniture retailer not only survived the severe economic downturn, it outlasted major chain furniture stores that moved in and out of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Thirty-three years later, the business has 24 employees, some of whom have worked at the retailer for 22 years and more, Moser said.

Success
Attributing the store’s success to a loyal clientele, knowledgeable sales staff and customized services, Moser said the store combines boutique services with a large onsite inventory in a 40,000-square-foot showroom.

“We know most of the customers by their first name,” Moser said. “The city started as a small town, and we continued the small-town feel with our customers.”

The majority of the salespeople have design degrees, and can make house calls to assist a customer with the design, Moser said.

“We started hiring people with a design background who are very good at visualizing,” he said.

Consumers Furniture places special orders, offers fabric selections, home delivery and carries name brands in the showroom for shoppers, perusal. The retailer also hosts a leather furniture gallery.

“The custom-design services account for 30 percent of our business,” Moser said.

Relocated
In 2004, Consumers Furniture built a new showroom on Golden Triangle Road in Santa Clarita.

“We had to move because of the Cross Valley Connector,” Moser said. “The old store sat where the Golden Valley Bridge sits today.”

The Mosers owned the land where their store was previously located, but had no choice but to make the move.

“But we felt it was worth it to us, to go with the higher cost and build a new showroom,” Moser said. “The timing seemed right.”

Survival
While the recession took its toll on larger chain retailers, Consumers Furniture survived because it offers a full line of furniture for every room and need in the house, Moser said.

Still, survival came at a cost.

“Business is down 50 percent since 2006,” Moser said.

But the full line of furniture offerings kept the store in business. Consumers might not be spending as much as before, but they still buy the basics, he said.

Formal dining and living room furniture purchases have dropped, but people are still buying furniture for family rooms and bedrooms.

“And people have taken money they might have spent on vacation and put it back into the house,” Moser said.
Mattresses have been a big-selling item, as well, along with home office furnishings, as more people started their own businesses, Moser said.

Economy
The retailer’s business was driven by the real estate market, Moser said. And, until the market stabilizes, he expects business will continue to be somewhat stagnant.

“It stopped free-falling like it did in 2008 and 2009,” he said. “But things will be very rough at least through this year and next year.”

There was a spike in business last year, when first-time homebuyers took advantage of federal and state tax credits to buy a home, he said. The incentive spurred the market, but things slowed down again once the credits expired.

Forward Looking
Saying there has been some pent-up demand; however, Moser expects there will be a small increase in business later this year.

“I’m looking forward to having a rejuvenation of shoppers in our area with new tenants moving in — with the opening of the Ashley store — I’m happy about that,” Moser said.

“When people do shop for furniture, they like to go to more than one store,” he said.

Having another furniture retailer in the same area draws more traffic to the area, Moser reasons.

“We have a very loyal customer base, and that has definitely helped out,” he said. “We really appreciate all our loyal customers. They’ve helped immensely.”

Consumers Furniture is located at 21048 Golden Triangle Road, Santa Clarita. The retailer’s line of furniture can be viewed online at www.consumersfurniture.com and consumers can call the store at (661) 259-9609.

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