Empire Today opens first retail stores

Flooring and carpet industry giant Empire Today will open its first-ever retail stores. The physical locations include one store in the Washington, D.C. area and two near Long Island, New York.

Looking at research of shoppers who purchased flooring in-store from other retailers, Empire Today found that customers were not fully satisfied with their experiences. In fact, customer perception is that home improvement stores provide insufficient expertise, a slow process and unclear pricing.

"Empire Today is using its 55 years of shop at home experience to create a better kind of flooring store," said Keith Weinberger, Empire's chief marketing officer. "Empire Today wants to take the stress out of getting new floors. Empire's new stores will have a personal flooring specialist who collaborates with customers throughout their project, a hand-selected product assortment, special warranties, and Empire's great pricing and specials."

In the new stores, Empire plans to employ personal flooring specialists to assist customers throughout the process. A specialist can not only make suggestions and provide samples, but also visit a customer's home to take measurements.

Products will be placed in "neighborhoods" so similar items across budget levels are grouped together in the store. In addition, every product has an all-inclusive price right on the tag which includes flooring, padding and materials, and installation, along with a rating. Finally, customers have 30 days from the last date of installation to decide if they like the product or not and Empire will cover the cost for replacement flooring of equal or lesser value.

Empire joins a host of retailers that have opened their first brick-and-mortar locations in the past year, once again proving that the physical store is not dead. For example, at the end of last year, Zappos (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced it would open a pop-up shop in the shoe retailer's hometown of Las Vegas, located in The Western Hotel. Other first-time physical store retailers in 2014 include The Grommet, Crest & Co. and even Amazon.

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