March-April 2014 | WORTH THE DRIVE

The Barnes Family: Larry, Beth, Jessica and Justin.



The ever-affable Larry Barnes of FurnitureLand and the Ashley Furniture HomeStore will give you lots more than 10 reasons why a trip to his "furniture campus" is well worth your time and effort.

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

To know Larry Barnes is to genuinely like him. He’s always good-humored, upbeat and interested more in the well-being of the person he’s speaking with than himself. So when the assignment to produce a story detailing why people living along the Delaware and Maryland beaches should drive to the Barnes Furniture Campus in Delmar, Del. (home to FurnitureLand and the Ashley HomeStore) to shop for furniture, I was naturally looking forward to our interview. 
As expected, Larry had a bear-sized hug and trademark smile waiting for me. As our conversation began, he quickly pointed out that he wasn’t interested in talking about how he and his wife, Beth, started their business 23 years ago, that their children, Justin and Jessica, had climbed the corporate ladder to executive positions in the company or that they’ve made more than 18,000 deliveries and delivered 150,000 pieces of furniture since 2010. 
“We need to express to your readers why they should come here… why we’re different and alluring,” Larry said. “I don’t think we need to have an article filled with facts and information that doesn’t make the consumer want to come visit. They don’t care what year we started and so on.”
“Okay, Larry,” I replied, “let’s cut to the chase: Why should the people of the Eastern Shore, especially those residing at the beaches, drive to your store versus any of the other options available to them?”
“First and foremost, we have a staff of over 80 like-minded people who embrace the principles of continuous improvement and complete customer satisfaction,” he said effortlessly. “We also have tons of goods. People at the beach want to shop at a place that has everything. All of the resort-furniture stores combined couldn’t fill our square footage. We have an incredible selection. We also have same-day delivery lined up for them, so they can shop, head home and have their items delivered — all in plenty of time to enjoy happy hour with friends and family.”
FurnitureLand and the Ashley HomeStore total nearly 80,000 sq. ft. of showroom space filled with the latest collections from top manufacturers like Aspen Home, Riverside, Cozy Life, England by La-Z-Boy, Pennsylvania House, Tempur-Pedic, Beautyrest, Universal and Design 2 Recline. As part of the Furniture First buying group, they negotiate purchase prices with vendors to offer unbelievable values storewide, including private labels and brands exclusive to their showroom. 
Justin joined our meeting just as the Furniture First buying group topic arose.  
“As a team, we identify the hottest trends and engage vendors to make unique, high-fashion product specifically for our store at unbelievable prices,” Justin said. “With this type of buying power, we like to say, ‘We give you the resort look without the resort price.’ Smaller resort stores cannot buy in the bulk that we do, and as a result must charge a higher amount for similar products.”
Justin then took the conversation back to their same-day delivery promise. He stated that customers from Rehoboth to Ocean City, Cambridge to Pocomoke, and even as far north as Harrington, can have any purchase made prior to 3 p.m. delivered that very same evening. Purchases made after 3 p.m. can be delivered the next day. This remarkably efficient service is available Monday through Saturday for any merchandise in stock.
“Folks who are coming to enjoy their beach homes do not have days, or even hours, to wait for a delivery schedule that’s convenient only for the retailer,” Justin said. “Time in the resort area is precious; that’s why we offer same-day delivery to nearly all of the Maryland and Delaware beaches.”
As our interview was concluding, Larry wanted to share a “Top 10” list of reasons to shop at the Barnes Furniture Campus. I told him that we’ve never published such a list before.
“That’s why this should be the first,” he said. “You always want to remain ahead of your competition.”
He’s got a point there, so, here’s Larry’s top-10 reasons to shop at the Barnes Furniture Campus:
1. We won’t follow you around while shopping.
2. We won’t make you wait more than a few hours for delivery after making your furniture purchase.
3. We won’t make you wait more than about 21 days from Mondays for your custom sofa to arrive. 
4. You’ll only get the very best in customer service. 
5. You won’t see the same styles as in other stores.
6. You won’t get a scripted salesperson asking if you’re “finding everything all right?”
7.  We simply won’t wait most, or even half, of a day to deliver your new furniture. We do so within a two-hour window.
8. We won’t tell you “that isn’t in stock” most of the time. 
9. We won’t tell you “no” if you have a special request.
10. We won’t show you only white furniture for your home. 

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