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Soft Goods Set Tone at Art Van

Decorative pillows and area rugs are used to define new product trends in furniture at Art Van, the 30-unit furniture specialty store chain based here.

"With decorative pillows especially, we show color trends as well as define our four key lifestyle statements in our entry atriums," explained Bob Price, vp merchandising for the family owned business that had 2007 revenues of $470 million.

Art Van ranks No.17 on the Top 100 list of furniture stores ranked by Furniture/Today, Home Textiles Today's sister publication.

But pillows and rugs serve another purpose, Price remarked. "They let us show different textures and fabrications throughout the store," creating contrast to many of the furniture fabric covers that tend to be solid colors.

The Art Van lifestyles are Metropolis, an urban view; American Retrospective, a country retreat; Elegant, a traditional statement; and Casual, exactly as its name. "There are four to eight groups in the atrium, and we change them eight times a year. We buy decorative pillows to go with the new items and also buy for the displays in the atrium," Price said.

The two leading lifestyles today, Price noted, are Casual and American Retreat.

As for rugs, the display presentations in vignettes "are more a living room thing. We plan groups for specific living rooms, and just some for bedroom," he said.

In top of bed: "Today we plan styles for specific beds, but not throughout the store," Price indicated.

Decorative pillows are sourced from a variety of suppliers and range from $29 to $59. Area rugs from Shaw, Momeni and Oriental Weavers run $199 to $799 for the 5-by-8.

While basic bedding involves pillows and mattress pads — "part of the Tempur-pedic warranty program" — Art Van currently does not offer comforters, Price said.

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