Issue Date: The Observer, Posted On: 3/11/2005

03102005 The Observer Pedian's
 Retail Review:

Lincolnwood, IL

Overall Rating

* *

rugnews.com ratings

* * * * * World Class
* * * *    Very good
* * *      Mediocre

* *        Poor

*          Awful
none   Worse than awful


By The Observer

LINCOLNWOOD, IL -- After a century as the Midwest's grand old floor covering store, Pedian Rugs is searching for a 21st Century image. They'd better hurry.

The Pedian family sold the business last year to new owners Julie Dillon and Tim Dillon. The company was originally named Vartan V. Pedian & Sons, for the Armenian immigrant who founded the company, The Pedian "sons" are longtime industry leaders Haig, Ara and Vahan Pedian.

Pedian has four suburban stores and a suburban warehouse outlet. In 2003, the company acquired Village Carpet in the trendy Lincoln Park area of Chicago. Pedian is also affiliated with Oriental Rugs International (ORI) in the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

Connoisseurs of fine rugs hope that Pedian's will weather the  transition to new owners in graceful, mid-to-upper-income style. However,  there are signs  that the new owners are  broadening the customer base downward.

Indeed, Pedian recently conducted its "first-ever warehouse sale,"  to liquidate some of the older machine made and hand knotted rugs that have overstayed  their welcome. 

The Observer decided to check out  the rug situation at the suburban Lincolnwood flagship store, located in an elderly mid-century shopping strip. 

Santa Baby, what you doing here?

In the middle of the rug department, our senses were assaulted by a  Santa Claus rug. The jolly old elf leered at us from atop a pile of 5x8s. It struck a particularly jarring note mixed in with hand knotted Orientals. "We brought it over from the warehouse because we thought it would sell here," explained the nice, attentive salesperson. "But it didn't."

"No wonder," we retorted, amidst fits of laughter. "That is NOT the Pedian customer!"

But that kind of paradox has always been part of Pedian's persona. The store's exterior never matched the Pedian image: The 50's-ish rectangular building is still dwarfed by an incredibly tall and incongruous street sign, beckoning drivers along Lincoln Ave. with its old HoJo blue and orange colors.

Rug and roll, Pedian-style.

Several Oriental rugs hang in the wide expanse of front windows. But unlike other retailers who display  their zingiest rugs in the window, Pedian's shows passers-by  the  hand-knotted back-sides of the rugs. 

Inside the first set of double doors is an effective sales tool: two staircase mockups showing bordered Oriental style runners. One is installed correctly, the other demonstrates a no-no,  our salesperson later explained.

Through the second set of doors, we were met by a greeter who wanted  to connect us promptly with a waiting sales professional.  

At this point, though, we were just looking. We turned left - the wrong direction- and walked past neat sample racks of good-looking broadloom.  Elegant old-world tapestries were hung on the wall above the sample racks. They look like museum displays, but are all for sale.

We thought  we spotted a rug rack at the rear, but it was actually custom rug and carpet samples. Pedian's has long been known for its unique custom rug designs, insets and borders. And this display featured many beautiful, dense, tone-on-tone patterns in creams, sand colors and lattes. Soft florals, herringbones, subtle geometrics and waffle patterns are created in high-low loops, multilevel loops, cut-and-loop constructions. We also admired thick, deep, patterned plushes, such as a light aqua with pale cranberry floral insets, and a complementary border pattern.

At that point, our sales professional decided we'd had enough time to commune with the carpet samples. He introduced himself and steered us to the real rug section on the other side of the store. 

Hanging rugs have better tags, stacked rugs are mostly a mystery.

The rug room was a sad surprise, a dimly lit rectangle similar in size to the broadloom area but with none of its clean, bright look.

The department was a real display mish-mash with some larger wall-hung Oriental style rugs at the rear. Along a central aisle,  assorted wall racks and low rug stacks are organized by size. Although wool is the predominant fiber, we also spotted rugs of polypropylene, silk/wool combos and nylon.

Our salesperson was attentive but not overbearing, apparently trying to get a read on our style preferences as he flipped through one machine-made Oriental after another in a pile of midsize rugs.

Unfortunately, it was hard to get a grasp on prices and sizes since the rug department sports a hodgepodge of hang tags, many of them missing. The tags that do exist reminded us of an old Army-Navy store, lacking information on price, sizes, fiber or all of the above. One tag was actually torn off so you could read just one dimension.

Across the aisle, our first real treat: arm racks featuring newer lines (major machine-made vendors are Karastan, Couristan and Oriental Weavers). The Karastan rugs had large, cleanly designed hang tags enclosed in clear plastic that  told a little "story" about the rug and included all pertinent  information.

The racked rugs were shown with list prices that included, for instance, an 8x10 priced at $3,166. Next to the list price is a "sale price," that puts it  under $2,000. Most of the 8x10s  sell in the $1,200 to $1,600 range, the sales person told us. During the warehouse outlet sale, he explained, the older 8x10s will sell between $800 and $1,000.

Next, our sales professional showed  us some new machine made wool Oriental designs from Oriental Weavers. He noted that the line was traditional, but with updated elements and  "very nice design colors a medium-soft hand." He said the prices ranged from $350 up to about $850 for  8x10s. He mentioned the nice "patina" of one rug but, when we asked him to explain what a "patina" was, he didn't  exactly know.

Near the front of the store, along a bright window wall, we were shown more "contemporary Orientals" - traditional Kirmans  with a trace of freshness in the colors. One rug was  priced at $12,900 for a 4.9x who knows? The rest of the tag was missing. At this point, we told our salesman we'd come and get him when we had  more questions.

Tufenkian rack is sparse but elegant.

We headed  to a good-looking, if sparse, display of Tufenkian contemporary Tibetan rugs hanging in various sizes on an easy-to-slide diagonal arm rack. We saw a lot of soft blues, periwinkles and lilacs teamed with bright earth tones.  Hanging on the same rack was a flatter construction from Jeremy Dylan in a Harlequin pattern, utilizing such colors as mustard and deep ruby. A Dylan rug of 70% wool and 30% silk was priced at $7,776 in 6x9.

"The good thing about these rugs," said the salesperson, who had just rejoined us, "is that if you like a rug but want different colors, they can do it. It takes about 4 to 6 months for the larger rugs, the 8x10s and 10x12s."

Another good thing, the salesman pointed out, was there was no difference in price between stock colors and custom colors. As shown, the rugs were about $55 a square foot ($4,400 in  8x10).

We were also told that  Pedian's is working on a CAD system whereby customers will be able to see a virtual image of the rug they like in an array of colorations.

Our afternoon at Pedian's was sad and unsettling. If one of the premiere rug retailers in the United States does not present rugs in a logical fashion, with easy to understand pricing and basic product information, what is this business coming to?

Lincolnwood, IL



design and color selection

* * *
Selection is not broad. Heavy on traditional designs.



range of prices

 * * *  
Seems to run the gamut from moderate to high end. No promotional products and no antique rugs. Price tags missing.


construction selection


*  *  * 
Full range, we think. Hang tags could have told us more.


sales help:
 product knowledge

What's a patina? 


sales help:
design and color knowledge

* * * *
Salesman was enthusiastic, discussed color and design knowledgeably.


product presentation


   Dim lighting, missing tags. Lackluster rug piles and racks are disappointing at such a highly regarded store.


Enjoyment level

*  *  
Salesperson wonderfully helpful, but cannot make up for lack of display pizazz, hang tags and easy to find  information.


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