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Laytner's moves up to Westchester

SCARSDALE, NY -After more than 40 years within New York City limits, Laytner's Linen & Home leapt to the suburbs last week, with its newest-and largest-store here.

Officially opened in the Vernon Hills Shopping Center on Nov. 15, the store spans 11,500 square feet, almost double the size of the company's Upper West Side flagship store. It also fits in nicely with its new neighbors: Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic and others.

And both Alan and Mel Laytner, brothers and partners, believe the new Westchester store will significantly boost the company's business, which is currently in excess of $10 million in sales.

"We are not worried," said Alan Laytner, judging by the amount of walk-in traffic the store has already seen.

The idea to move to the suburbs started when the Laytners noticed an increase in deliveries to Westchester from their Manhattan stores, and they decided to fill the void.

Though the customers are similar, Westchester residents are typically buying product for houses, as opposed to Manhattanites, who more often live in apartments.

"These are people with homes with two or three bedrooms, maybe with a den," Alan Laytner said. Hence, more king-sized items, like sheets and beds, will be sold in this location.

This particular location also has an abundance of the one thing in limited supply in Manhattan-space. The layout conveys an airy and spacious feeling, and products are placed in logical adjacencies. Seasonal and gift items are at the front of the store, beds and bedding on the left, furniture on the right, and bath in the back, as well as cross-merchandising displays throughout.

The displays themselves are "clean, simple and white," and most display fixtures are on wheels. "We have to be nimble and be able to change weekly if we want. We can easily switch the bedding and bath areas, for example, so the customer who comes in every few months will see something fresh," said Alan Laytner.

And the displays are not product specific. Alan Laytner pointed out one in particular that was 2 feet wide and 84 inches long with a hang bar and adjustable shelves. "I can put bath on it, bedding, comforters, quilts, whatever. I need flexibility," he said.

The product mix is the same as in the other locations, he said, though each area will expand because of the bigger space. However, the vendor list remains virtually the same.

Twelve dressed beds are placed throughout the selling space, including one bed at the front of the store that faces customers as they walk in.

Sheeting focuses on product from Wamsutta and Melange Home-the Laytners' wholesale import company-as well as Divatex Home Fashions, American Pacific and Crown Crafts. Top-of-the-bed vendors include Veratex and area, and Croscill is on the way. Other basic bedding, such as down comforters, is placed in the back corner.

"We look for premium bedding that's still affordable," said Alan Laytner. "We've never been a bed-in-a-bag store."

Fieldcrest's Royal Velvet and Charisma bath towels command the back wall of the store. (Laytner's sells WestPoint's Patrician towels in its other locations.)

Shower curtains were showcased in several displays, including a new one on a side wall that hangs the curtains on a swinging rack similar to hanging rug displays, with stock shelved behind it. Bath and accent rugs and bath accessories are located nearby. Decorative pillows, throws and blankets are placed throughout the store. Several bays of table linens, consisting mostly of place mats and napkins but some cloths as well, are shelved on a side wall.

Rugs will also join the mix, Alan Laytner said, and about 40 rugs will be displayed on a double-hung rack with 3 feet by 5 feet and 6 feet by 9 feet sizes. The looks will include contemporary and traditional, and the fibers will be both natural and manmade. This store will also participate in Laytner's rug events, which occur twice a year.

And more suburban locations may come in the future. "We have to see how this store works out," said Alan Laytner. "We still believe in linen. I am viscerally and tactility involved with the product."

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