When the CandysDirt.com team got an invitation to do a early tour of the yet-to-be-completed Nebraska Furniture Mart Texas, we absolutely had to jump at the chance. There’s nothing that we love more than looking at pretty things, and besides, Nebraska Furniture Mart is a pretty interesting spot. The new Texas location of the brand is in Grandscape, a new development in The Colony. The store, which will anchor the 430-acre mixed-use development, is on 100 acres and is about the same size as 31 football fields. It is absolutely mammoth.
We walked the store (all 560,000 square feet of it!) and learned about the brand’s modest history (started in the basement of an Omaha pawn shop by Rose Blumkin in 1937) and its bright future in Texas (the only location planned for the Lone Star State). The store, which is more like five or six stores all under one very large roof, will open some time in the spring, though the marketing team isn’t ready to pin down a date yet.
After our tour, Leah Shafer and I sat down for a frank discussion about Nebraska Furniture Mart. Jump to read all about it!
Joanna England: So, Nebraska Furniture Mart is much larger than the photos portend. I feel like this is a store that would do really well with some drone photography.
Leah Shafer: That would be a novel use of a drone. They should consider it to document opening day.
JE: I keep thinking about the North Texas IKEA opening, and how crazy that was. When that store opened up, it was just insanity. People camping on the sidewalk to be the first ones in.
LS: I remember it well. A little scary, actually. MUST GET ALL THE DEALS!
JE: I wonder if it will be like that for this store?
LS: Oh, for sure! People are so excited about NFB opening. There’s a lot of buzz. Just for the curiosity factor alone, they will get droves of shoppers from all over DFW. You know what impressed me most (and this is kind of a weird detail to get so impressed by)? The parking lights that tell drivers which spaces are open, and which are occupied.
JE: That was a really thoughtful feature. That will mean a lot less driving around in a parking garage looking for a spot.
LS: It shows a level of attention to the experience of the people making the haul to get out there and addresses a major frustration of a large place like that: circling and circling, looking for that parking space.
JE: I couldn’t suppress the nagging feeling that this store really does fill a hole in our area, especially after how Michael, the PR guy, explained how they went about selecting the site. It took them 11 years from concept to fruition. The last store they opened was in Kansas City almost 13 years ago, I think?
LS: In 2003
JE: That’s right.
LS: They are going to have 4,200 parking spaces. THAT IS INSANE. But realistic.
JE: That is a lot of parking, but for a store of that size, totally realistic. I just hope those long-bed pickup trucks will fit in the spaces!
LS: I also think it’s smart they will have 138 stalls for customer pick-ups. Should help avoid the IKEA waiting-forever-to-pick-up-my-stuff frustration. OK, we’ve already compared them to IKEA twice. I think the comparisons are going to be inevitable, and I wonder what the impact will be on IKEA’s sales?
JE: I don’t think too much.
LS: I mean, no one can compare to their meatballs, but the furniture: I saw a lot more quality pieces in NFM.
JE: I feel like the inventory at NFM is a little bit more upscale.
LS: IKEA has great style, but the quality can be lacking
JE: Of course, you can expect to pay more at NFM I bet.
LS: I appreciate that NFM offers such a large range. One of our hosts pointed to the rugs and said, “We’ve got $100 rugs, we’ve got $10,000 rugs”
JE: Also, less assembly required, which for a mom who doesn’t want to spend her free time putting together a dresser, that will be great. I wish they had prices on more items during our visit so I could get a better feel on where they sit relative to other furniture stores.
LS: I had the same thought. I will be going back when they open to check that out. I was pleasantly surprised by how colorful it was in there. Pops of color everywhere! Yellow rugs! Rainbows of ceramic cookware!
JE: I loved that, too. It wasn’t bland and cheap-looking. There was plenty of leather furniture, too. And the modern/midcentury modern collection was a really pleasant surprise!
LS: Yes! I was actually shocked by the selection of modern furniture. That’s when I got serious about taking photos!
JE: Of course, they had a HUGE collection of those recliners that are just … UGH. But there were lots of European-inspired shapes, some stuff that looked like it belonged in IKEA, honestly.
LS: Yes, but again, it seemed like it was sturdier. Like actual buttcheeks upon the products would not destroy them.
JE: Totally. They would stand up to regular use!
LS:What did you think of the “Rosie the Riveter” tables?
JE: The riveted tables, console, and airplane wing coffee table … It’s interesting. I could see it in a really funky loft.
LS:I noticed a good portion of the blog crowd was snapping photos of them
JE: I haven’t seen anything like them before.
LS: The rivets are a poor choice for a desk (which they had), but very cool for side tables, coffee table, etc. Quite unique.
JE: And it was a hot topic on my Facebook and Instagram pages. The airplane wing, of course the first question was “Is it level?” A lot of people liked the look, but didn’t think it was practical. That’s not to say that the store didn’t have other cool-looking, but more practical furniture. I do love that they have outdoor entertaining in-store, too.
LS:Well, they have room for it all with 560,000 square feet!
JE: What did you think of the kids’ area?
LS: I thought the kid’s section was cute! More selection, and a broader selection, than I had anticipated.
JE: My son will want to climb up in that treehouse, though. Too bad you can’t! That was a bummer! I was like: “NEAT! A treehouse!” And then I realized you couldn’t actually get up there.
LS: You know, I came ready to dislike NFM. “Another mega store, cheap crap, blah blah blah.” But I walked away pretty impressed with their selections, price range, and the price-matching deal with the digital price tags. The fact that they price check every morning against all competitors — and when they said Amazon was one, my ears perked up — was surprising. My first thought was, “How do they make a profit, then?”
JE: I was really amazed that they work hard to get you the best deal. And you can bring your receipt back after a competitor advertises a lower price for a refund. Of course, the way they profit is in scale, which considering this store’s size (31 football fields!) is unparalleled.
LS: I saw that they have enough hardwood in stock they could cover the Dallas Cowboys stadium seven times!
JE: That just seems insane to me. Truly unfathomable.
LS: Well, I guess they could cushion the floors with some of the 2,800 rugs. Is this the future of shopping? Endless selection in massive spaces?
It seems like the logical competition for online shopping
JE: Isn’t it crazy? I mean, I am definitely glad they put a restaurant in there, because I will need a break for lunch.
LS: Combines the selection of online shopping with the pleasure of in-person shopping, BUT THERE ARE NO SWEDISH MEATBALLS! But I see why they chose The Colony. Can you imagine trying to build something of that scale in Dallas? Where would it go? The Colony economic development folks must be skipping to work every day now.
JE: Honestly, I thought that this store would employ a lot more people than just 2,200.
LS: I wonder what kind of wages they will offer? I hope it’s above minimum wage, for the sake of the people who get some of those jobs.
JE: That’s something that a smaller, more close-in store will definitely have over NFM: higher paid and more experienced sales associates. But do you see people driving in from places like Corsicana, Tyler, or Amarillo? Will this become a regional store like they think it will? Somewhat of a destination like IKEA is?
LS: I can see people coming in to furnish their whole house. Sounds like their delivery service will be in place and they’ve got professional designers on staff to help.
JE: I also like that they have an app and digital signs to help people find their way through the store. It’s like you can get a feel for where things are before you arrive.
LS: It was definitely easier to navigate than IKEA. No winding routes.
JE: And there are more bathrooms! So a 560,000 square foot retail showroom, 1.3 million square foot distribution center, 4,200 parking spots all on 100 acres. Also known as GIGANTIC.
LS: I would like to know more about their environmental practices. What kind of energy are they buying? Is furniture all made in China? Any renewable sources, like bamboo flooring? That kind of stuff is important to me, and I’m willing to pay more to feel comfortable with the products I bring into my home.
JE: Me too. The do stock a lot of American-made brands, such as Thomasville, Ashley, and Bassett. The high-end showroom upstairs had several great brands, like Natuzzi and Broyhill. And I like that there are luxury appliances downstairs in the kitchen gallery, too. It’s not all basic brands or cheap stuff. You can get Miele built-ins and a Thermador range, too.
LS: I did note the large selection of leather furniture because…TEXAS! No cowhide rugs, though.
JE: I was just about to say that! Where were the cowhides? I guess if you have to have one, go to Anteks in the Design District. So, closing remarks: Is it too big? Is it a “Bigger in Texas” cliche?
LS: Oh, this is a new epoch in shopping for North Texas. People are going to love it. There will be plenty of haters, and I have a few concerns myself, but overall, this will get a huge reception.
JE: I predict this being a boon for people who are tired of shopping in five different stores to furnish their home. No more of that RoomStore or Rooms To Go, or finding out that the armchair you like at the Ashley store only goes with the side table you liked at Bassett. And then appliances? Whatever.
LS: I think the availability of quality options at NFM will be the real game-changer.
I hope you enjoyed our discussion, and stay tuned to CandysDirt.com for more news on Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas!