TUCKER, Ga. — Atlanta-area Underpriced Furniture is building a 164,000-square-foot distribution center here and rebranding as Georgia Furniture Mart as it prepares to grow beyond its Norcross, Ga., superstore.
The retailer and local business district The Tucker Summit CID co-hosted “The Foundation for the Future” event Thursday to mark the early stages of construction under way on the facility at the intersection of Sarr Parkway and Mountain Industrial Boulevard in northeast Atlanta area.
With easy access to U.S. Highway 78 and Interstate 85, the large racked warehouse with 40-foot ceilings will support next-day deliveries as well as the retailer’s store expansion plans. It will replace a smaller facility near the company’s one Norcross store that’s operating at full capacity.
Underpriced also used the occasion to unveil its new name, Georgia Furniture Mart, designed to convey its wide assortment strength while pivoting away from the “Underpriced” moniker that some consumers misinterpreted to mean lesser quality goods.
A couple of years ago, the retailer hired Cox Media to conduct consumer research, and “it ended up illustrating the consumer’s confusion over the name,” said Robin Graham, vice president of sales and marketing for the soon-to-be Georgia Furniture Mart.
“What ‘Underpriced’ is meant to imply is the fact that we work off very low margins, so the intention is we only want to make a little profit off our customer but a lot of times, vs. a lot of profit off our customer one time.”
However, over the years, both consumers and manufacturers repeatedly misunderstood this, she said. They’d enter the 92,000-square-foot store for the first time, thinking they were going to walk into a warehouse-type environment and a store that sold cheap or perhaps used furniture, only to discover beautiful displays and quality furniture at a great price, she said. “They’re just shocked.”
Underpriced tried to overcome this misperception with various marketing campaigns over the past several years, but it continued to stick, Graham added.
The new name should eliminate that confusion while indicating the retailer’s wide assortment, which it says dwarfs the offering of many furniture stores.
Thanks to vertical merchandising techniques it uses (showing additional product options in suspended or wall displays above the floored vignettes), Graham said the midpriced retailer actually displays the equivalent of a 130,000-square-foot store and includes some 130 living room groups, 76 bedroom and more than 80 dining rooms.
Key suppliers and brands include Ashley, Elements International, Homelegance, Jackson/Catnapper, Serta and Simmons.
The company will begin the transition to Georgia Furniture Mart next month, and in January, it will drop the former logo and other references to its former name.
Underpriced Furniture was founded in 1986 by CEO Mike Hall and has experienced rapid sales growth in recent years, following a large investment in primarily broadcast advertising. The move helped the retailer more than double its annual sales from about $17 million seven years ago to $40 million this past year, Graham noted.
The Tucker distribution center project is just the first phase of a larger growth strategy, Graham said. Ultimately, the retailer plans to expand the facility to 240,000 square feet and grow from its one retail location to multiple Atlanta-area stores over the next five years.
She declined to disclose how many stores are planned but said the company is working with a real estate company to identify potential Atlanta-area sites and hopes to have a second store up and running next year, within six months of the distribution center opening, currently slated for late March or early April.
Hall said the Tucker site made it “the most convenient” location for a distribution center.
“We have poured our hearts into bringing our customer the very best home furnishings at the best prices possible from many resources,” he said. “The public has responded and given us the confidence to expand.”