Furniture Trends & Design opened the doors for its new location in early August, in front of the Sanford Technology Group building. According to owner Sylvia M. Flores, the store — which formerly took up a 2,550-square-foot space in the Norman & Son building next to the Tamuning Nissan dealership — has been making a gradual transition to the new 3,600-square-foot space over the course of the past few months.
“Our goal was to find a more visible Marine Drive-based setting, and I really feel we can accomplish that with this new location,” Flores said. “The Sanfords have authorized us to use the parking lot every weekend, so that gives us the opportunity to try some newer, more aggressive marketing tactics. I’m hoping to set up tents outside and start staging furniture pieces on the walkway on weekends, pushing different promotional items each time.”
She said that it will be challenging, given that most of the pieces in the company’s showroom are made from bonded leather, but she is confident that she can make it work. While the showroom’s inventory consists primarily of living room and bedroom sets, Flores said that she plans to install a functional show kitchen and bar for promotional mixers and events in the future.
Flores, who has been in the furniture and design business for more than 30 years, started this newest venture more than two years ago with help from the University of Guam Small Business Development Center, and still seems to be going strong in spite of the economic climate. In addition to the new, larger location, she said that she has been approached by several companies with the possibility of displaying her pieces at various other locations. “I’ve also been working closely with the military,” she said, “because I’ve had a lot of military customers who come in when they can’t find pieces like ours anywhere else.”
She added that she believes the industry — and on a larger scale, the economy — will improve as the military buildup continues. “But I’m not just thinking about the buildup,” she said. “I’ve already submitted a bid at one point with NAVFAC Marianas, because that market can be sporadic, but securing even a small portion of it can help quite a bit and I’m fortunate enough to have some experience with that type of clientele.”
In spite of her optimism, however, Flores said that the main challenge she faces is that the business lacks the deep pockets of some of its competitors. “Since I’ve started, prices for rent have really gone up, as have the utilities. And freight and shipping has been rising steadily, as well. So a lot of people in the industry have had to raise prices in response. After Mirage [Furniture] came into the picture, they became our biggest competitor in terms of the lines that we carry, but I don’t really see the competition as too much of a threat. I think it’s healthy for the industry and the customers.”