RoomStore Inc., Heilig-Meyers Co.
Founded : 1992
Activities : Retail furniture collection, home furnishings, interior design services, fine art and floor coverings
Parent Company : Grand Metropolitan
Stockists : 50 locations
Origin : Dallas, Texas
- Company is founded when W.A. Heilig and J.M. Meyers open a home-furnishings store in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
- Headquarters are moved to Richmond, Virginia.
- Heilig-Meyers merges with Thornton Stores, a nine-store chain.
- Company goes public to fund further expansion.
- The 74-unit Sterchi Bros. Co. is purchased for $44 million; Heilig-Meyers now runs 216 stores throughout the South.
- Company expands beyond the South, into the Midwest; unit total reaches 277.
- Heilig-Meyers spends $65 million for McMahan’s Furniture Co., with 92 stores in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Colorado.
- Puerto Rico’s largest-volume furniture retailer, Berrios Enterprises, is acquired for $99.3 million.
- Rhodes Furniture, a 106-store chain based in Atlanta, is acquired for $261.9 million.
- Company acquires the RoomStore and Mattress Discounters.
- Number of units peaks at more than 1,300; company posts loss for year ending in February.
During 1997 Heilig-Meyers added three more formats as it quickly and nearly inadvertently developed into a multiformat retailer. It purchased the RoomStore, a ten-unit chain of stores in the Dallas area that sold ensembles of furniture designed for particular rooms. The RoomStore became Heilig-Meyers’s format for major metropolitan areas. Heilig-Meyers began restructuring beginning in late 1997, with charges and asset write-downs leading to a net loss of $55.1 million for fiscal 1998. Expansion plans were scaled back, although the company did complete the purchase of 21 stores in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area from Reliable Stores Inc. Of these units, 18 were subsequently converted to RoomStores, two to Rhodes, and one to Heilig-Meyers.
The RoomStore was a chain of furniture retail stores in the eastern and southern United States,which once had more than 50 locations in eight states. The company specializes in retailing all the pieces of furniture for an entire room rather than individual pieces of furniture. For example, a table may be sold with chairs and other dining room accessories in a package rather than a table alone. Room store ranks as one of the top 25 furniture retailers in the United States.
The Room Store was founded in 1992 in Texas by Gary Levitz, grandson of the founder of Levitz Furniture. The chain started with 4 stores in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
Heilig-Meyers and Rhodes Furniture combined to eventually earn almost $5 billion a year in revenue from over 2,000 locations in the United States through their 1996 merger. Grand Metropolitan was introduced to the home furnishings retail and finance behemoth in the late 90s when it became aware of Heilig-Meyers prominence as one of the largest jewelers in North America with a consistent 12% of its revenue gained from diamond, gold and silver jewelry sales. The company’s first furniture location was mere steps away from historical icon L.D. Giddens & Sons Jewelry Store in Goldsboro, NC founded in 1859 and another Grand Metropolitan company.
Heilig-Meyers and Rhodes Furniture have been major NASCAR sponsors and helped to raise millions of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to 8 national and regional furniture retail brands, the leader in home furnishings also operates 20 consumer brands including Four Seasons Home Accents, KidStore, and RentSmart.