Schwartz pre­pares for move

‘ We’re of­fer­ing a new, fresh look for our cus­tomers’

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON

The Schwartz Fur­ni­ture store in Syd­ney is pre­par­ing for a big move to its new lo­ca­tion in the for­mer Cana­dian Tire store on Reeves Street.

The Schwartz store has been a fix­ture on Vul­can Av­enue, a street that’s a mix of com­mer­cial and residential de­vel­op­ment, since 1979.

Run­ning par­al­lel to Wel­ton Street, one of the busiest streets in Syd­ney, the lesser-trav­elled Vul­can Av­enue has kept the fur­ni­ture store in the shadow of one of Syd­ney’s main com­mer­cial strips.

So it comes as no sur­prise that vis­i­bil­ity was key in the de­ci­sion to move.

Schwartz pres­i­dent Brian Pur­chase said the com­pany bought the for­mer Cana­dian Tire store five years ago.

It has been used as a Schwartz ware­house un­til now. With the re­lo­ca­tion of the store, the 62,000-square-foot build­ing will house not only the fur­ni­ture show­room, but also the ware­house and the com­pany’s of­fices, Pur­chase said.

He said the new store would bring an “up­dated, mod­ern ex­pe­ri­ence” to shop­ping for a new bed or liv­ing room set.

When Irv­ing Schwartz opened the store in 1979, the “big thing” at the time was the ware­house fur­ni­ture con­cept, he said.

“We’re work­ing with our na­tional part­ners, DuFresne fur­ni­ture, on this pro­ject,” Pur­chase said in an in­ter­view, Wed­nes­day.

“They’ve given us some guid- ance and other ideas we’ve come up with on our own to kind of change the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence from what we were able to do on Vul­can Av­enue.”

Pur­chase said he would be able to go into more de­tail on the “fresh ex­pe­ri­ence” shop­pers can ex­pect closer to the open­ing date.

He said it’s ex­pected to open some­time in the fall, but it re­mains a mov­ing tar­get depend­ing on the speed of the ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions.

Its ex­ist­ing lease at Vul­can Av­enue is due to ex­pire at the end of the year.

The fo­cus for Schwartz at present is a liq­ui­da­tion sale of all mer­chan­dise at the Vul­can Av­enue store.

Start­ing Mon­day, all fur­ni­ture and ap­pli­ances, es­ti­mated at $2 mil­lion worth of goods, must be sold off.

Pur­chase said the rea­son is the risk of dam­ag­ing mer­chan­dise in a move to the new store. The big­ger rea­son is many of the cur­rent store brands will be dis­con­tin­ued, he said.

There will be more em­pha­sis on Cana­dian fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ers like Pal­liser and Dé­cor-Rest, he said.

“Con­sumers nowa­days seem to be look­ing for more Cana­di­an­made prod­uct than they were a while ago. And there are some of our fur­ni­ture part­ners that will be fol­low­ing us over for sure.”

One of the big­gest prod­uct lines car­ried by Schwartz is Ash­ley fur­ni­ture, a com­pany based in the U.S.

Pur­chase wasn’t will­ing to dis­close how much ren­o­vat­ing the new store will cost the com­pany, other than to say it’s the clos­est thing to a new build by tear­ing the walls back to the steel frame.

The ex­panded store will also in­clude Ser­vice Master fur­ni­ture restora­tion ser­vice, which is 50 per cent owned by Pur­chase and his busi­ness part­ner.

It’s ex­pected the new store will lead to the cre­ation of five to six new jobs in sales, the ware­house and in the of­fice, Pur­chase said.

There are about 30 peo­ple work­ing at its Vul­can Av­enue store now.

A to­tal of 75 peo­ple are em­ployed by Schwartz Fur­ni­ture, at its lo­ca­tions in Syd­ney, North Syd­ney, Glace Bay, and Port Hast­ings.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

The trans­for­ma­tion of the for­mer Cana­dian Tire store on Reeves Street in Syd­ney con­tin­ued this week. It will be the new home of the Schwartz Fur­ni­ture store some­time in the fall.

This is the present lo­ca­tion of Schwartz Fur­ni­ture, in Syd­ney.

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