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Morris Home Furnishings Creates It Own Retail Complex


Big-box stores have nothing
on Larry Klaben, who created a superstore
concept of his own.

Klaben is president/CEO of Morris Furniture,
a 63-year-old Ohio furniture chain that
he acquired in 1998. In addition to two flagship
Morris Home Furnishings stores in the
Dayton area, the company also operates
licensed Ashley Furniture locations, Better
Sleep Shop bedding stores and outlet

In an effort to expand beyond the Dayton
market and create a unique shopping destination,
Klaben recently combined his four
brands and a new Home Theater Store concept
into a 144,000-square-foot retail complex
called Morris Home Center. The five
contiguous stores are more than two football
fields in length, and occupy a former
Roberds site and adjacent vacancies in the
Tri-County shopping mall section of Springdale,
a Cincinnati suburb.

The stores maintain separate storefronts
and entrances, but an open floor plan inside
encourages traffic flow across the entire
shopping expanse. Customers are especially
drawn to a 15-foot by 8-foot rear-projection
screen that fronts the Home Theater Store,
where family-friendly content and ample theater
seating, plus games and promotions
from a local TV station, have made the A/V
area a destination unto itself.

“Most furniture stores are not very exciting,”
Klaben told TWICE. “The integration
of consumer electronics and furniture really
makes our store stand out, makes it fun, and
encourages couples and families to shop together.”

The Home Theater Store also features six
audio showrooms; two home-theater showrooms,
including one with a Sony 3D projector
and two rows of theater seating; and a TV
display wall holding 70 SKUs.

Brands include LG, Samsung and Sony, as
well as such premium audio nameplates as
Bose, Denon, Onkyo and Paradigm, which the
Nationwide dealer obtains through membership
in the group’s Specialty Electronics Nationwide
(SEN) division.

Morris, which entered the home-automation
category about six years ago, also provides
room design, installation and Control4 programming,
along with cabinetry and theater
seating, to create a complete room. “We can
provide a single flat-panel HDTV to a complete
ultra-deluxe home-theater room with
the best video, audio, seating and cabinetry,” said Morris’ home electronics buyer Ed Robinette.

The Morris Home Center debuted in January, when
former supermodel Cindy Crawford visited the showroom
to promote her furniture line and donate $20,000
from its sales at Morris to Cincinnati Children’s

Klaben said he is looking to expand
the one-stop-shop home center concept
to other locations within Cincinnati as well as to additional
markets. “We survived the challenges of 2008
and 2009 and recouped our lost premium business
by looking outside Dayton,” he noted. “When there
are challenges, there are opportunities, and there are
some great opportunities out there now.”