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Carole Sloan, Staff Staff, December 16, 2002

For those who missed the opening of the Costco Home store in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland earlier this month, it's worth a trip just to see what the future has in store.

The prototype, a 102,000-square-foot building with 70,000 square feet of showroom, resembles a conventional retail store more than a typical warehouse club environment. And of course, this new store is just that — a warehouse club.

But vive la difference!

Forget the pallets that are part of the typical schematic of warehouse clubs. Here you have vignettes with rugs on the floor, decorative pillows and throws embellishing the sofas, decorative accessories and faux trees and silk plants in the vignettes. Not necessarily a Bloomingdale's or Strouds, but enough to whet the appetite.

This is a warehouse club with names like Henredon, Bernhardt, Ralph Lauren, Viking, Waterford Crystal — and on and on. If this concept clicks and moves out of the Seattle metro market, the challenge will be for some of the suppliers to provide proprietary product that will not be available through their conventional distribution channels.

And the pricing on everything is significantly below where more conventional retailers would be pricing the same stuff — across the board.

But we're not talking el cheapo, low-end in pricing. There's a $40,000 grand piano, a $3,800 Viking grill and a $10,000 Henredon bed.

Another difference: Everything is available for immediate take-with or delivery, whether it be a picture frame or a bed ensemble.

This is a warehouse that could well change the way home furnishings are marketed.

Changing the subject abruptly. It was absolutely deplorable that a mere 22 companies were represented at the HFPA seminar on flammability last week.

What's even more interesting was that two of these companies were retailers that made the trip to New York just for this event — JCPenney and Ikea.

Speakers included the likes of Patti Adair of ATMA, Allyson Tenney of CPSC and Gordon Damant of HFPA's American Down & Feather section and the International Sleep Products Assn.

You may all be in denial, but there's a lot happening already on the flammability regulation front. More is to come, and there are forces that haven't really made themselves felt.

The regs will impact everyone in this business. Too bad you didn't take the time to find out about it!

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See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!