There will be no shortage of comfy seats when City Furniture & Appliances hosts Business After 5 at its new showroom Tuesday on Anderson Way.
The family-run business opened the doors to its 48,000 square-foot building in early October and is looking forward to welcoming the local business community at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce event.
“Vernon has been taking it to heart and is really enjoying what we’ve created here with the new atmosphere and the new products we have,” said Sareena Nickoli (neé Sharma), daughter of City Furniture co-founder Ruby Sharma.
Sharma helped create the City Furniture chain in Prince George in the mid-1970s. It has since expanded to 23 locations in B.C. and Alberta. The Vernon branch opened in 1986 at its former location across from the downtown Safeway.
But after noticing an increasing shift towards commercial development on the north end of town, Sharma wanted to follow suit and began contemplating a move about five years ago.
“This is a process and an evolution. We planned to move here because all the retail is moving here,” he said. “It’s the demand from our customers, and we feel there is a need for it. It is more room for us to expand and a better showcase for higher-quality furniture.”
And while the new showroom is only about 3,000 square feet larger than the old one, Nickoli says the layout – featuring expanded furniture galleries, plus and electronics section, bedding gallery and home office furniture – makes the new one more convenient and aesthetically pleasing.
“We’re able to display things a lot better now. We have displays up for every piece of furniture we have,” she said. “It’s a little bit more in the now. It’s a fresh approach and a different feel.”
Added Sharma: “The real impact is because it is all one floor. The old location was deceptive because it was two floors. It was rather large.”
Nickoli’s role as buyer has taken her to industry shows in Toronto, Las Vegas, North Carolina, China and Italy so she can keep up with the latest innovations and trends.
“Lots of people are looking for storage – lift-up coffee tables, beds with storage – just functional furniture,” she said.
“And now we’re starting to get into more of the contemporary designs. Vernon is just starting to get there and it’s nice to see clientele coming in and looking for something a bit more modern.
“We’re trying to deal with manufacturers that build quality furniture. We’ve been to the factories, so we’ve seen their production line. We’re not dealing with factories that are only going to sell us something and then not deal with us after.”
Nickoli has been helping around the store since she was little, officially joining the family company 10 years ago.
“I didn’t think I wanted to do the furniture business. I thought I was going to go into marketing…but I jumped on the train and have never looked back. I love it. I love the industry.
“I’ve been in the business 10 years now and it’s been nice to be able to work toward something like this. The fun part about this building is he (her father) designed the whole exterior part and I designed and merchandised the interior. It was a joint effort.”