Olinde’s, a 133-year-old retailer, has sold all nine of its south Louisiana furniture stores to a Memphis-based business but will keep its three mattress stores in the Baton Rouge area for now.
Dufresne Spencer Group, which has 44 furniture stores across the U.S., purchased the Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Denham Springs, Gonzales, Harahan, Ponchatoula, Houma, Opelousas and Lake Charles as well as Olinde’s stores in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The sale price was not disclosed.
“It’s bittersweet to have worked for all these years, tied to this name,” said Tom Olinde, president of Olinde Hardware & Supply, the parent company of the furniture store. “But nothing is designed to last forever, and it’s way better to go out on top than to have to shutter the doors.”
Olinde will still own three mattress stores in Baton Rouge, Central and Walker. But the forecast for those properties remains cloudy. Olinde said DSG didn’t want the stores because the company isn’t in the mattress business. “We’re not sure if we’re going to expand those stores or sell them,” he said. “We’ll continue to operate them as is for the time being.”
The Olindes bought a nearly 3-acre site in the Costco parking lot in Baton Rouge in May and planned on building an Ashley Furniture store there. But that property was not included in the deal and the family plans to hold onto it.
Olinde said his family wasn’t looking to sell the business until they were approached by DSG. “We knew they were good operators, and it was a case of, in our minds where we'll be in 10 years,” he said.
For now the Ashley and Olinde names will remain on the stores. As of March, DSG had 40 Ashley stores across the U.S., along with four Stash Home stores. The two Olinde’s locations could be rebranded under the Stash name, Olinde said.
As part of the sale agreement, DSG will retain the nearly 300 employees working at the furniture stores at their same wages, Olinde said.
“We had lots of 20- and 30-year employees who are like extended family,” he said. “We had to make sure they were covered.”
For loyal Olinde’s customers, the sale should lead to few changes. “The merchandise mix might be a little different and the displays will change,” Olinde said. “They’re going to bring in a lot of 21st Century technology.”
According to Furniture Today, DSG had nearly $300 million in sales during 2016, putting it 32nd on the magazine’s list of furniture retailers. Olinde said the company has lots of assets and a strong digital background that will allow it to compete with internet giants such as Amazon and Wayfair.
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