|NO PLACE LIKE HOME
$18 million a year in smart and savvy design stores.
Want to give your bank account an extreme makeover? Consider home furnishings. Americans spend big money on home furnishings—$77.8 billion a year, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce. But it has taken a husband-and-wife team from Chicago to introduce a new wrinkle to a massive industry that has been traditionally slow to change.
Jim and Michele Evanger are co-founders of Designs Of The Interior (DOTI), an upscale, franchised network of “Design Stores” that combine traditional interior design services and home furnishings along with a retail showroom. The combination offers customers a new level of individual in-home or in-store service, while offering an unparalleled selection of high-end brand names from more than 200 vendors in the areas of furniture, wall coverings, window treatments, floor covering, lighting and accessories.
Traditional furniture retailers and independent design studios can’t match DOTI’s combination of service and selection. Furniture stores typically offer a small number of lines. Some offer design services, but their designers typically pitch floor merchandise to meet inventory objectives. DOTI is neither limited by floor space nor by offering a small number of lines.
“This is really about a young franchise in an old industry,” said DOTI CEO Jim Evanger. “It’s about an opportunity to get into a business that’s in huge demand. Hopefully, we’re putting our stamp on it by providing some fresh, new thinking.”
Founded in 1993, Barrington, Illinois-based DOTI has 16 Design Stores nationwide, including six in the Chicago area, but also in cities such as Denver, Atlanta, Tampa, Scottsdale, Arizona and Austin, Texas. Stores are in development in Los Angeles and Temecula, California, West Plano, Texas and north Tampa. The first franchised location opened in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1999.
With system-wide sales of $10 million to $11 million expected in 2005, DOTI plans to add 12 to 15 new franchisees each year and have 65 Design Stores open nationwide by the end of 2008.
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