Stepping into Chiasso feels more like entering the lobby of a chic hotel than a furniture store. The white walls and bright illumination showcase walls lined with modern art and couches set up with pillows and chairs that look like comfortable places to sit down and chat.
“Everyone seems super excited that we're here, and that we're so different from everyone else,” said store manager Dave Spaulding. “We're adding something that certainly wasn't here before.”
Beginning as a catalog and Web only business, Chiasso opened a store in Chicago’s Lincoln Park six years ago. The Wilmette location, which opened in October, is the store’s first foray into the suburbs.
“The Lincoln Park store was doing really well,” Spaulding said. “We wanted to expand out and see if we could bring our flavor to this area and see if we could recreate the same sort of buzz.”
Spaulding said that they chose the location at 108 Skokie Blvd. to be part of the area’s growing furniture corridor, which includes storefronts for Crate and Barrel, Room & Board and Restoration Hardware.
“People like to go to one area and bounce from store to store,” Spaulding said. “I think being near other furniture retailers is better for us.”
The store works to distinguish itself from the competition by offering items from around the world that aren’t readily available elsewhere. They also strive to keep prices low.
“With the economy being the way it’s been, having such an affordable price point has made it easier for our customers to justify spending money on furniture and home décor, which is a luxury in a lot of ways,” Spaulding said.
Chiasso customers can also find more than just furniture, including doormats, mailboxes and bath hardware. Most items you’ll see in the store are kept in stock, so you can have them in your home within a week of purchasing them.
Spaulding said he sees catalog subscribers walk into the store knowing exactly what they want, but many customers seek advice from store employees, sometimes showing them pictures of their homes on smart phones. He said he and his staff are happy to help.
“Everyone who works here loves working with furniture and designing spaces,” Spaulding said.
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