After nearly eight decades of selling solid wood furniture in the Faubourg Marigny, Doerr Furniture Inc. is expanding to the Northshore, with a new location slated to open off U.S. 190 in Covington before the end of the year.
The store will be about 11,000 square feet in size, roughly one-third of Doerr's New Orleans location, which opened at the corner of Elysian Fields Avenue and Burgundy Street in 1938.
The fourth-generation family-operated business started as a rocking chair wholesaler. They've eyed a move into St. Tammany Parish for more than a year, according to Shane Mutter, Doerr's president and CEO.
"Honestly, it's kind of difficult to get a location right now on the Northshore because it seems as though everything's really hot right now with the real estate," he said.
The Covington location is slated to open by early December in a shopping center across from Baldwin Motors.
Breaking into the new market in a smaller space than Doerr's New Orleans location was a calculated move, he said.
"We wanted to get into the marketplace and really grow slowly, but not put ourselves in jeopardy by expanding too large too quickly," he said.
The store will have fewer than 10 full-time employees, he said. The company now has about 40 employees.
Mutter declined to say how much renovations are expected to cost.
Though the new store will enter a market that boasts competition from large-volume retailers such as Ashley Furniture and Rooms To Go, Mutter is confident that Doerr's product line of "middle-to-upper-end home furnishings" will resonate.
"We feel that the Northshore location has the customer base for the products that we offer and that it can support it, which is higher-quality goods, mostly solid wood, mostly made in the United States," he said.
Mutter, 38, lives in Old Mandeville, and said he's been asked why Doerr's hadn't already expanded to the Northshore "since I was a child."
Looking ahead, Mutter said, if the new store is successful, Doerr's will more likely look to expand the store's size in five to 10 years, rather than open an additional location.
Doerr Furniture also operates a separate chain of mattress stores called Bedding Plus.