Comfort for customers

“Part of our success is that we’re big enough to move a lot of furniture, but we’re small enough to care, so we’re able to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace,” Steve Forberg, President and CEO, Decorium, tells The Canadian Business Journal.

A self-described upper medium to low high-end retailer in the furniture marketplace, Decorium provides fashionable looks at an affordable cost.

One location, plenty of growth

Since its founding in 1986, Decorium has remained in one location, at 363 Supertest Rd. But that’s not to say that the company hasn’t grown over that time. Beginning with a 3,000 square foot space, Decorium has seen substantial growth over the years. In 1992, it expanded to 5,000 square feet, moving from the lower to upper space of its location. Originally, Decorium was only open to those in the design trade, and not open to the public, while importing many quality, unique goods from Europe, like Spain and Italy, and developing a reputation of offering some of the most unique furniture pieces around.

Decorium has truly evolved over the years. And while the company has no immediate plans in terms of expansion, it’s something the company feels would be difficult to duplicate, because of the success, size, and selection Decorium has had at its one and only location. Added Forberg, “We still believe we can maximize more out of this location before we dilute the customers we are getting from other areas.”

Decorium continued to grow and now calls a 100,000 square foot facility home. Remaining in its only location has provided its advantages to Decorium. “There is not a lot of bureaucracy when we choose to discontinue or bring in a new collection, so as a smaller company we can do things very quickly. Because we are an independent retailer we can move on a dime,” Forberg said. “Our floor is ever-changing. We put about 50 to 100 new pieces on our showroom floor each week and that has also been part of our success. We have customers in here weekly to see what’s changed, what’s new, what’s fresh.”

Covering so much area, Decorium offers itself as a “one-stop shop”, saving time for the consumer and presenting its customers a place to get everything from A to Z.

Popular products

Based in Toronto, Decorium has taken advantage of the city being North America’s No. 1 condo market, with Forberg stating that condo-sized furniture has “exploded” in recent years, offering the likes of smaller scale sofas, functional office furniture, coffee tables, and more, that all fit this growing Toronto consumer market. Today, Decorium continues to actively work alongside Toronto’s condo builders market.

“We bring in a lot of unique pieces that can work in a lot of different settings, but we’ve been very cautious of the condo market,” added Forberg.

“We’ve also seen a big resurrection of mix and match for eclectic looks within a home,” Forberg said. “People want to create their own looks, not have the sameness as every other. They want furniture that is like a piece of art. They can say, ‘This is my creation.’”

Through another affiliation of which Decorium has been a part of since 1999, the company joined a retail focus group of like-minded furniture retailers. The group meets three times annually, sharing information and discussing as much as profits and losses, serving as a network to get a renewed vision on the industry’s landscape. In 2010, Decorium was among a group of 15 Canadian retailers which joined in exclusively building products within its stores, not available anywhere else, further separating Decorium from its market competition.

25 years in business

This July, Decorium celebrates 25 years in business—marked by an in-store sale no less—and with that, the company has its eyes on the future.

Over its lengthy history, a big part of Decorium’s success has been its customer dedication. Always hands-on, with family on hand, and staff to help, Decorium takes the extra step for its customers, one that many others in the industry too frequently neglect. As one example, the company offers its internal interior designers, free of charge, to customers for in-store design consultation. In fact, Decorium will also work alongside its own suppliers in order to achieve the desires of its customers.

“If a customer wants a sofa that is two inches longer because that is the exact size for them, we can call our suppliers and make something happen. [Our customers] are not buying something out of a box or off a shelf,” Forberg said.

“We have customers that buy cribs, then kid furniture, then furniture for college or university, so it is great to see that we have word-of-mouth, customer loyalty and brand awareness,” Forberg said, “so the goal is to be in business for another 25 years.”