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Sunday, April 14, 2013
A furniture store carrying samples from High Point, N.C., furniture showrooms is set to fill a large vacancy at Tanglewood Mall.
Furniture Outlet is opening in a 36,000-square-foot space inside the mall across from A.C. Moore. The store will occupy the space where Stein Mart was located before it moved to its current location at Tanglewood.
John Martin, a Martinsville businessman, owns the furniture company with Mac Johnson.
Martin got into the furniture business 15 years ago. He was operating a small flea market in Martinsville that sold, among other items, used furniture.
"It sold as fast as I could get my hands on it," Martin said.
Seeing the demand for inexpensive furniture, Martin worked out an arrangement with Bassett Furniture to buy the season's old samples off the showroom floor.
Martin opened his first furniture store, Price Busters Furniture Outlet, in Madison Heights.
The company now operates three other stores, Bargains Galore Furniture Outlet in Martinsville, MPL Furniture in High Point and the Roanoke store. A fifth store, Warehouse Furniture, will open later this year in Danville, Martin said.
The stores are stocked with furniture that Martin picks up from showrooms in High Point, where manufacturers show off their new lines to retailers. Twice a year, when the manufacturers need to clear out the samples on the showroom floor to make room for new lines, Martin sends a convoy of trucks to High Point. The trucks stop at 50 furniture dealers and distribute the pieces between stores. The furniture is normally in new condition, Martin said.
Martin buys the furniture for 50 percent to 80 percent off, he said, which allows him to sell it at a discount but profit from the arrangement as well.
"We make our profit from buying correctly," he said.
"We sell quality stuff, but we are selling it at Kmart and Walmart prices," Martin said.
Martin said he carries several different brands of furniture, with an emphasis on Bassett, and includes various types of furniture, such as mattresses and sofas.
Martin sought to open a store in Roanoke because he has customers from the area who drive to his store in Martinsville, he said. He said he cho se Tanglewood Mall because it had the space he needed, and he likes the mall and the area surrounding it.
"It is a beautiful mall," he said. "I can't believe they don't get more traffic. I've really been impressed with them."
Martin hopes his store, which is scheduled to open May 1, will bring more shoppers to the mall.
"I think we'll be a big help to it," he said.
Seafood vendor expands to storefront
A Roanoke College graduate who two years ago started a local seafood delivery business on the Roanoke farmers market is expanding his business by adding a storefront.
Seafood Charlie's recently opened on Fourth Street in Salem, where Joe's Deli was located. (The deli moved to Roanoke Boulevard in Salem).
The store is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, or until it sells out of seafood.
Charlie Counts, 25, started the business in 2011 after graduating from Roanoke College with a degree in business. He looked for a job but couldn't find anything that would use his college education.
So he decided to make a go of what had become a family hobby: traveling to Surf City Crab seafood market on Topsail Island in North Carolina once a week and bringing back fresh seafood.
During the warmer months, Counts travels to Surf City once a week to pick up fresh seafood. He hauls it back in large coolers in his truck.
The business has been successful because consumers want fresh, local food, Counts said.
"People want to eat fresh seafood, and we only live 300 miles from the ocean," he said. "There is no reason to have it imported from 3,000 miles away."
Counts wanted to expand this year to a place that he could double as storage, he said. He had been storing the coolers and seafood at his house.
He is employing a Roanoke College student so that one person can staff the store while the other sells at the farmers market. He also will continue to sell at the Grandin Village Community Market .
Lately he's been bringing back swordfish, Scottish salmon, striped bass, flounder, catfish, cod, crabmeat , oysters and scallops. Next month he expects to begin selling fresh shrimp.
Sears shutters portrait studios
Sears portrait studios — including locations at Valley View and New River Valley malls — have closed nationwide.
CPI Corp., which provided the services at Sears and other retailers, has gone out of business, closing more than 2,000 studios in the U.S.
"After many years of providing family portrait photography, we are sad to announce that all of our U.S. portrait studios are now closed," CPI said in a two-paragraph statement on its website. "We appreciate your patronage and allowing us to capture your precious memories."
The Associated Press reported that the popularity of digital photography had cut into CPI's sales, and the company was struggling. CPI operated more than 2,000 studios in stores such as Sears and Walmart.
Sears is searching for another company to resume photo sessions at its studios, the AP reported.
Sears President and CEO Jim Abel said in a letter to customers that orders will be fulfilled through Thursday.
Weather JournalMidday update: More ice likely later