This local furniture retailer is expanding its service line by offering in-home design services. Belfort Furniture has focused on of providing quality furniture selection and service for more than 23 years. Although it’s already known for its expansive inventory and attractive showroom space, Dan Kennedy, president, said the retailer is expanding its business in a new direction by helping customers define their living spaces through its design services.
Located in Dulles, Va., Belfort Furniture serves customers from all over Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Its 100,000-square-foot furniture campus is divided into four showrooms and clearance center and outlet featuring more than 500 room displays and 50 brands of living, dining, bedding, accessory, office, and entertainment furniture selections. In addition, it has one 86,000-square-foot distribution center located five miles from its showrooms.
Since Michael Huber, CEO, opened the doors to Belfort Furniture in 1987, the business has served customers by offering the best furniture selection for the best values. Building on the foundation and vision set by Huber, Belfort began to focus on developing design services in 2006, said Kennedy. “Today, we offer total home solution services,” he said. “From furniture selection and space planning to fabric selection and accessorizing, we are committed to helping our customers with any and all of their design needs.”
Building on those efforts, Belfort added custom window treatment services to its design program in 2008 and began offering pantry and closet organizing services through its Tailored Living service line this year. “Customers see the value in choosing Belfort for custom window treatments,” Kennedy said.
“It just makes sense; our designers are planning an entire room with furniture and fabric selection,” he continued. “Choosing the fabric and drapery style is part of the overall room design. We’re known for providing value and selection to our customers, but now we can reach out to them in different ways by offering them a full design experience. We will continue to explore opportunities to enhance our program.”
To support these services, Belfort assembled a team of 12 design consultants. Individually, each brings their own unique design passions and experiences to their roles; collectively, they offer more experience and talent than any other retailer in the area. In addition, Kennedy said all Belfort staff members have been trained on addressing total home decorating solutions.
“For those customers looking for added support, we want to ensure we can help them in any way we can,” said Kennedy. “Even if it’s just looking for the right accessory or helping them select a fabric color, we encourage our staff to point customers in the right direction.”
The furniture store has even taken its design assistance online, tailoring it’s website to help assist customers with design dilemmas before setting foot in the store. The Belfort website offers a free room planner that allows customers to drag and drop furniture selections into various room settings, including dining room, living room, and office floor plans. Customers can also take an online design quiz to help them identify their style.
“The online tools are added value services,” said Kennedy. “Once customers are in our showroom and working with a designer, they can rest assured that we will create a look that will suit their style and budget.”
Belfort’s marketing efforts don’t stop there. In addition to producing eight full-color circulars annually, engaging in TV advertising, and sending its customers e-mail incentives, the store holds events to promote its home solution services. Decorating classes are held regularly on all topics related to designing a beautiful space. From fabric selection to integrating color into a room and adding the finishing touches—accessories and rugs—these classes are very popular with customers.
As Belfort continues to build on its design approach, Kennedy said it’s also in the process of exploring other means of reaching customers. One major initiative for the store this year is to engage more in social media. “We have a Facebook page now,” he said. “But we want to explore further how we can use the tool to both communicate and educate our customers on our services and furniture selections.”
Belfort maintains a strong presence on the local level by engaging in community charities and causes, said Kennedy. Since 2005, the community-friendly furniture store has been the corporate sponsor for the YMCA Loudoun County annual charity golf tournament. All the proceeds go to the Building Bridges Campaign to support the YMCA’s summer camp and after school care program for children.
Last year, the charity event raised more than $45,000 for the program, and Belfort has helped raise more than $250,000 in the last five years. Kennedy said it’s just one effort on Belfort’s part to give back to the community it calls home. “It’s a great program,” he said. “We take pride in our community, and it’s important to us to give back to those who have supported us so generously.”
Belfort also donates to various charities, education funds, and social programs annually. In 2007, it began its “Be Green” campaign to reduce it carbon footprint. Kennedy noted, “For every delivery we make, we plant a tree seedling through our partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry. To date, we have planted more than 78,000 seedlings,” he said.
“It’s just another way we are trying to be conscious about how we can make a positive impact in our community. After all, providing service and support is at the core of everything we do.”