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Retail

Gamble Home Redefines the Furniture Shopping Experience; Invests in Community -- and Rugs

The family run home furnishings retailer has seen its rug business take off with plans to invest in the category.

By Jessica Harlan
4/14/2020
Gamble Home photo
JONESBORO, Ark. -- "You've never seen a furniture store like this," proclaims Kaula Sparks, operations manager for Gamble Home. Indeed, this home furnishings store comprises 74,000 square feet of retail space scattered over seven buildings, each with its own focus and identity. 

Founders Dan and Wanda Gamble first forayed into furniture retailing with a 600-square-foot shop in nearby Manila, Arkansas. Buoyed by their success, they opened another store, Weekends Furniture, in Jonesboro. It was called that because it was only open on weekends. That small storefront has now evolved to the sprawling complex -- so big that salespeople employ golf carts to drive customers around. That is Gamble Home today. And yes, it's open more than just weekends now -- and its successful area rug department is being redesigned with plans to grow the company's assortment in the coming months.

Wanda and Dan Gamble, founders of the now behemoth 74,000-foot Gamble Home, began with a 600 square foot furniture shop in Manila, Arkansas.

Also part of the Gamble Home complex is Shop Local Park, an expanse of green lawn that's become a gathering place for the community and a place where kids can play while their parents shop. There is also an outdoor amphitheater, which opened in the summer of 2018 and where weekly movies show in warm weather, and bands perform. Then there's Gonzo's Event Space, opened in March 2019, which hosts everything from weddings to fundraisers for the community.

The main building of the sprawling Gamble Home complex in Jonesboro, Arkansas, was the original Weekends Furniture store.

Much of the recent growth of the Gamble Home empire can be credited to Dan and Wanda's son, Chris Gamble, who has been the visionary behind the park and unconventional layout, since his parents retired. "He has an eye for stuff like that," says Sparks. "When we first opened, Shop Local Park was just an area full of trees."

The main building is what once housed Weekends. It's where many customers start their visits, and inside is a La-Z-Boy gallery, a design center where designers work with their clients, a mattress gallery, a full kitchen, and a large patio area where the staff cooks up food for customers every Saturday in the summer.

Owner Chris Gamble, credited with Gamble Home's unique layout, including an outdoor amphitheater, Shop Local Park and an event space, has created a total home shopping experience with focus on the community.

New Feizy Rug Gallery

The main building is also home to much of the company's area rug offerings, and where plans are afoot to grow Gamble's rug business even more. The retailer is in the initial stages of a renovation to its rug gallery that is being developed with the help of Feizy Rugs, a supplier that Gamble Home started carrying just two years ago. The rug gallery is expected to be completed within the coming months.

The project will increase the rug gallery from 1,200 to 3,000 square feet, and grow the number of rugs on display from the roughly 125 SKUs in the current gallery, to around 400.

Although Gamble Home has only worked with Feizy for a couple of years, Chris Gamble says the connection he made with the company and its owners was instantaneous. 

A Gamble Home furniture vignette is anchored by a Feizy Rug to create an inspirational transitional setting.

"From day one of meeting John and Cameron Feizy, I knew that they were people just like myself -- family-minded people with great morals," he says. "They run the type of company that wants their customers to grow and succeed and help them to do so. The furniture and rug business, from wholesale to retail, is all about relationships," Gamble continues. "From the first handshake and my first order, my relationship with Feizy has grown into me being treated like family when I walk into any of their showrooms, and that is what makes this business so enjoyable."

The current Gamble Home rug department will soon be remodeled into a Feizy Rug Gallery due to strong customer response to the line.

Although the company had previously bought from a handful of rug vendors, area rugs were a very small part of Gamble Home's sales. It was the addition of Feizy rugs to its product mix that really caused the retailer's rug business to take off.

"When we brought Feizy in, our customers just loved it," says Sparks. "They loved the looks, the price range -- we just started selling rugs like crazy! We went from hardly selling any rugs, to selling rugs with almost every furniture group." 

Sparks reports that currently, hand-knotted rugs have been popular, as well as classic styles with a vintage spin, such as distressing. "We're seeing a lot of people who are mixing those vintage rugs with more modern furniture. It creates a unique look," she says. 

Gamble Home's plans to grow its rug offering significantly in the upcoming months.

Although custom furniture is a huge part of Gamble Home's business, custom-designed rugs are not a focal point. "But we carry so many rugs in so many shapes and sizes, there's something for everyone," says Sparks.

The rug gallery in the main building is not the only place where rugs are seen in the expansive Gamble Home showrooms. "We put a rug with every vignette that we have," says Sparks. "We like our vignettes to look as complete as possible." 

The vast Gamble Home complex includes seven buildings, to which clients are driven in golf carts.

Indeed, customers find a rug complementing furniture groupings throughout the seven buildings that comprise Gamble Home, including: the Urban Foundry building, a showcase of unique vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces; showrooms for Bassett Furniture, Canadel dining furniture, and Stressless furniture; and even in the bridal suite in the event center.

Feizy also has a presence in what Gamble Home calls the Swank building. This showroom houses the company's private-label collection of furniture, which has a Restoration Hardware-type look at affordable prices. In a nod to Gamble Home's focus on its employees, every piece is named after a staffer. In this building, Feizy also has a showroom dedicated to its one-of-a-kind offerings. 

The Gamble Family: Jeremy and Dana Gamble, Roc Gamble, Wanda Gamble, Jules Gamble, Dan Gamble, Bourne Gamble, Garnett Gamble, Sarah and Chris Gamble.

But the cluster of buildings in Jonesboro is not the extent of the Gamble family's retail business. The company also owns a mall location that's about 3,500 square feet, and three Ashley Home stores in different locations throughout Arkansas. "Feizy rugs will also be in these other locations, too," says Sparks. "We'll have a huge rug business by the time this is all said and done."

The Gamble Home design staff is also doing its part to emphasize the importance of area rugs. In a new program, designers are picking out their favorite area rugs from the Feizy collection, so they can be part of a sample portfolio to easily take to clients' homes.

"One of our designers always says that when she puts a rug in a home, it's like putting lipstick on a face," says Sparks. "They truly transform every room in the home."

At Gamble Home, area rugs anchor each room vignette for a complete look.




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