Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 36

Doerr Furniture
it's a $2,000 sofa but it's completely junk it's not going to be
on my floor."
The store caters both to high-end clients with a second
home in the French Quarter and young families with small
children looking for affordable living room sets that will
hold up over the years. "I can bring in a lower-priced sofa
or love seat but I just want to make sure it's the quality my
customers have come to understand," Mutter explains.
Doerr Furniture's commitment to quality begins long
before the products arrive in its store. The company strives
to visit many of the manufacturers it works with to solidify
its relationships and conduct quality checks in person. Doerr Furniture's dedication to understanding the products it
sells is why manufacturers such as Stickley Furniture, Palettes by Winesburg and Daniel's Amish entrust their pieces
to the store.
"We make sure that the relationships we have with our factories are relationships we want to keep for years from now,"
Mutter says. "It's like a marriage with these factories, so it's

Several generations of the Mutter family have worked at
Doerr, including (from bottom) President and CEO Shane
Mutter, and his uncles David Mutter and Julian Mutter.

36

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

Volume 58, Issue 2

very hard for any new company to come on board with Doerr
Furniture because I have these wonderful relationships."

Second Store
After 80 years operating in a single location, Doerr Furniture expanded its footprint for the first time at the end of
December with the opening of a second store in Covington,
La., a historic suburb north of New Orleans. "I'm seeing
where there's a shift in the growth of Louisiana in our marketplace," Mutter says. "The location I've selected I felt was
in need of high-quality home furnishings. I felt our products
could fit the need very well."
At 11,000 square feet, the Covington store is about a
third of the size of the original Doerr Furniture; however,
Mutter contends it is better suited for the business, which
is more focused on designing custom furniture and requires
less on-site inventory. Online sales have further reduced the
need for large shop floors. "In the current retail environment
we're living with, if you're opening a brand-new store it's a
little more important to focus on a small scale than we're
used to," he says.
It took a while to find the right location, but Mutter says
everything fell into place shortly after the site was finalized.
The biggest challenge was merchandising the location effectively to account for the demographic and socioeconomic
differences in the market. Much of that responsibility fell to
Merchandising Director Amy Freese, who found the right
mix of products and organized their presentation within the
store. "It was an amazing thing to set up a store like that and
see it all come together in a three- to four-week period,"
Mutter says.
It seems counterintuitive to expand the brick-and-mortar
retail business when online sales are only becoming more
prevalent, but Mutter believes seeing a new sofa or dining
table in person before buying is still the best way to ensure
customer satisfaction. "The conversations I've had with factories are that some of these online retailers are getting 15
to 20 percent in returns and to me that is a bad business
model," he says.
Doerr is investing in its internet presence, but instead
of online ordering, the company is putting its effort into
making sure all its products are listed on its website. That
way, customers can browse its listing and call the stores
directly to place an order or show up in person to see it
for themselves. "We're definitely spending more time and
energy and money on our website, constantly updating it,"
Mutter says.
"What I find is that if we can continue to create a need
or create a niche and do it well - and let people know that's
what we are and that's what we stand for - we'll still be successful in our endeavors," he adds. O


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 5
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 6
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 7
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 8
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 9
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 10
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 11
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 12
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 13
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 14
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 15
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 17
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 18
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 19
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 20
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 21
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 22
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 23
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 24
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 25
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 27
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 28
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 29
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 30
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 31
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 33
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 35
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 36
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 37
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 38
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 40
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 41
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 42
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 43
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 50
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover3
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