Entering Ashley HomeStore in the charming, historic Marshall’s Hardware building at 84 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh, is like arriving at your dream home. Furniture in each section of the multi-level store is grouped by decorating collections and arranged into open-concept rooms. A living room featuring a modern farmhouse style—complete with artwork, clocks, pottery, and framed photographs—beckons in one corner while a dining room with modern, naturally distressed pieces compliments it. Sweeping through the showroom, tableaus of urban industrial design give way to casual cool meets luxury aesthetic. For the more traditional tastes, there are collections that feature a fresh interpretation of the heritage classic style and pay homage to mid-century nostalgia. For those who are furnishing their first living space away from home, glitz and glamour is also featured as is “shabby chic”. Areas of outdoor furniture, “inspired by driftwood”, with clean lines, rust-proof frames, and all-weather cushions, offer conversation, relaxation, and dining seating for patios and porches. Ashley HomeStore makes it possible for every customer to find their “signature look” for every room.
As demonstrated in today’s current spate of home redecorating television shows (Fixer Upper, Love It or List It and Property Brothers are just a few), gone is the day when folks designating a room “off limits” to children and pets, and had their best furniture encased in plastic. White, gray and taupe are emerging as dominant colors instead of dark wood. With the affordability and flexibility of Ashley HomeStore’s merchandise, people need no longer purchase just one set of furniture for their lifetime. Today’s furniture is meant to be lived in, used by children and pets and can be replaced when customers want a fresh look. No more re-upholstering.
IT BEGAN AS AFFORDABLE FURNITURE
“My father and stepmother, Howard and Maureen Pirofsky, started this business as Affordable Furniture on Route 3,” explained manager Sam Pirofsky, who began working with his father when he was 13. “We moved to our present location in 1994 as part of a grant to draw businesses downtown. In 2006, Ashley HomeStore approached them, and that’s when they asked me to make the commitment to stay in the furniture business. They said they wouldn’t do it without me.”
Ashley HomeStore is an American furniture store chain that sells Ashley Furniture products. Opened in Anchorage Alaska in 1997, the chain has over 800 locations worldwide with stores located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Japan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh. The chain has both corporate and independently owned and operated stores. Currently, it is the #1 home furniture retailer in North America.
Although many Ashley HomeStores are independently owned and operated, all of the furniture sold – with the exception of mattresses— is manufactured by Ashley. The parent company of Ashley HomeStore, Ashley Furniture Industries, headquartered in Arcadia, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest home furniture manufacturer. According to Pirofsky, furniture is globally made—pieces are made in various factories throughout the world, and the final assembly is done in the United States.
Since its founding in 1997, Ashley HomeStore has been instrumental in philanthropic activities. Specifically, it raised over $6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and it hosts the annual Midwest Ashley for the Arts, with proceeds going towards children’s charities, schools and other humanitarian initiatives. Most Ashley HomeStore locations, including the one in Plattsburgh, also support the Hope to Dream foundation which donates mattresses to kids aged 6-16.
Although his father still does the accounting for the business, Sam Pirofsky, who has nearly three decades of experience in the furniture business, does the day-to-day management. Ashley HomeStore has 22 full-time employees.
“My father instilled a work ethic in me. I started working with him when I was a teenager assembling furniture. As the years went on, I did every job in the store from delivery to sales to marketing, decorating — you name it,” recounted Sam.
What’s the Pirofsky’s secret for working together while keeping family ties strong? “My dad and I keep our interactions to business when he’s here in the store,” said Sam. “When we’re home, it isn’t long before we’re talking about football.”
THE MODERN WAY OF SELLING FURNITURE
Beginning with arranging furniture into fully decorated room settings rather than, for example, grouping all the sofas together, all the dining room sets together and all the beds together, customers can also use a catalog kiosk, located on the first floor, to quickly view the total inventory.
“The kiosk has every item in all the colors, dimensions and fabrics available,” said Sam. “This means we don’t have to carry a total inventory here in the store. In addition, once a customer makes their selection, we can ship their furniture directly from the warehouse to their home in as little as two-three days.”