Partnership offers big savings for buyers, sellers, and agents

Now that Ebby Halliday Companies is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, it was just a matter of time before it would connect with a cousin company and give agents, buyers, and sellers a deep discount at Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony.

Anyone who buys or sells a home through Ebby Halliday is now eligible for major discounts at the massive NFM along the southern border of State Highway 121, officials announced recently. Those savings include: (more…)

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The brand new behemoth in The Colony, Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas, will open next month, and the store is doing a series of giveaways to kick off their opening. The first giveaway closes tomorrow, and includes a $1,000 gift card. You can enter to win the big bucks via their Facebook page. The only requirement is that you live in Texas. Otherwise, you can start imagining what you’d spend that sweet gift card on when you enter!

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Furniture Mart

Photo courtesy Nebraska Furniture Mart

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!

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This is Bob Batt, the Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Furniture Mart which broke ground on the largest home furnishings store not just in Texas but the USA — and probably, the world — this morning in The Colony, along the southern border of State Highway 121. The store won’t be selling us any granite or bedding or furniture for our homes until 2015, but this is a major, major deal for North Texas. First of all, Nebraska Furniture Mart will be the anchor store of a 1.5 billion, 433 acre mixed use development complex and distribution center along 121. When it opens, it will be the largest retail and entertainment destination anywhere. Like, I cannot even wrap my head around how big this is going to be. Looking out across the field, if you can see the trucks in the far distance, that’s the span of the place.  They say the size of 40 Texas football fields and sitting on 90 acres just for the 560,000 square foot Furniture Mart alone. Ye haw. When it opens, it will attract more than 8 million visitors and generate a projected $600 million in annual sales. All here in North Texas.

This is also cool because it’s a joint partnership with The Colony,  a TIF that claims to give five million back to The Colony and double the area’s sales tax base. This is how the Denton County and Colony folks put it: it’s a long term marriage, not a one-night stand.

So why do we get all excited about a gigantic home furnishings mecca going up? Well, for one, 2000 plus jobs and Nebraska could have chosen anywhere, but they chose Texas. Specifically, they chose The Colony where they had a unified, cooperative city council and let’s face it: lots of cheaper land. Could the Dallas City Council have pulled off something like this in say, Oak Cliff where we still have acreage to spare? Are you kidding me? My Lord, the guys down at Trinity Groves had to work fingernails to the bone for the recent zoning compromise that finally allows these urban pioneers to forge ahead with  West Dallas Investments and plans to build restaurants, retail shops and entertainment venues on a 15-acre site called Trinity Groves along Singleton Boulevard. One group of homeowners, the La Bajada neighborhood to the north, dug in and fought to the bitter end. They “didn’t want to change the neighborhood”. Don’t get me started.

So, we are bringing in jobs, and development to The Colony, and what follows? Residential real estate, like Billingsley’s Austin Ranch to the south.

“Build a great road system,” said Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Bob Batt, “the commerce and homes will come.”

Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska by a Russian immigrant to America named Rose Blumkin, who we were told this morning, worked in the store until she was 103 — sounds like our Ebby Halliday, no? — and did not understand why people wanted to take vacations. She also never spoke nor wrote English. She started the store in the basement of her husband’s pawn shop in downtown Omaha with a $500 investment. Her philosophy was to “sell cheap and tell the truth” about home furnishings. The company flourished so much that famous Nebraska native and mega investor Warren Buffet bought Nebraska Furniture Mart for $60 million in 1983, bringing the store into his Berkshire-Hathaway fold with his legendary handshake deal. So yes, NFM had a major capital infusion that bought expansion to Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Mo. There is also a Mrs. B’s Clearance Center and Factory Outlet in Omaha. The store is still run by members of the Blumkin family, including Mr. Batt here who is one of her grandsons. The grandkids said they all had to work in their grandmother’s store beginning at age 14.

So this is just another example of how well our economy is doing, why even though we love the inner loop of Dallas, folks still look north to buy dream homes and now, furnish them from flooring to granite to furniture and bedding to even appliances, electronics and computers! Mr. Batt also told me the price range spectrum at NFM will be from value-oriented to high-end, something for everyone!

“Dallas is one hell of a place to do business, ” he said.

Dallas? It’s in the Colony. Interesting how our suburbs manage to make us south of LBJ look so darn good!

 


We all know Troy Aikman’s Highland Park  house on Highland Drive has been on the market now for nine months, at least. We all know it hasn’t moved. Steve quoted Allie Beth Allman saying she’s had several offers, and you can bet your bippy she took the whole Kardashian/Odom crowd over there to look/see. Maybe they wanted to lease it? Warren Buffet was in town last week checking out his Nebraska Furniture Mart, but a $24 million home is not his style, much as he might want to fill it with his namesake furniture.

With a home that unique and expensive, you’ve got to get it on parade!

How the heck can you sell a house when you can’t put it out for the world to see?

Then there’s Champ d’Or, another celebrity home whose owners were not psyched about opening up the home (save for their private parties) to let John Q. Looky-Loo march up through. Can’t say I blame them. (Can’t say I blame Troy!) We know what happened: the Champ is being auctioned off March 30 in Dallas. And now they are letting the world in! In fact, at Champ last Friday, one agent told Concierge Auction’s marketing director, Laura Brady, to keep her eye on Troy’s house as a possible future auction item.

So I ask you: should celebrities show off their homes more in order to sell them? Fame is a double-edged sword: super stars love all the attention that makes them stars and able to afford $24 million homes, yet when it comes to their home they don’t want the public in: most definitely a conundrum.