The 85,000 sf Store is NOW OPEN in Lake Forest, CA
Past readers of my blog know that my wife, Lauren, and I enjoy visiting new retailers that come to Southern California AND especially those that are new to the Inland Empire, or likely to open here in the near future.
So when I suggested that we visit At Home, a new 85,000 SF retailer that just opened their first California store at Foothill Ranch Towne Centre in Lake Forest, Lauren was “all in”. The store opened in a vacant space that was formerly occupied by Sport Chalet and a furniture store. At Home is one of several retail concepts that are focusing their expansion on vacant big box space left behind by retailers downsizing and closing locations.
The self-described affordable home décor superstore features a vast offering of just about everything you need to accessorize a home. You don’t go to At Home to buy furniture. You go there for everything else that you put in your home including kitchen accessories, area rugs, wall art, mirrors, bar stools, pillows, storage containers, shelving, lamps, bedding, and more. They also have a seasonal section which in this case was mostly outdoor furniture including a huge selection of outside seat cushions.
If you took a Home Goods, Bed, Bath & Beyond, portions of Hobby Lobby, and mixed in some elements of Cost Plus, Pier One and Ikea you’d have an At Home store. The store offers over 50,000 different items the large majority of which are At Home branded. Prices were a good value, but not exceptionally low.
The store is set up like a Lowes or Home Depot in a warehouse format. Concrete floors, high ceilings, and bright lights. Although unlike these stores, the store has some maze like qualities that cause you to have to wander VS just walk up and down long aisles.
This Texas based chain currently has about 190 stores with plans to grow the business to 600 stores nationwide. According to a recent press release, there are plans for 80 locations in California with the next stores coming to Poway, Long Beach, and the Inland Empire cities of Temecula and Riverside.
When I spoke to a store manager, I was told that they were well ahead of projections and that people seemed to really be enjoying the store. We’re now part of that crowd as Lauren picked up a handful of items that we are now enjoying at our home.
I think the concept will be very successful in Southern California. The huge selection, price point and the fact that home décor is one of the few categories not as impacted by ecommerce all bode well for their success. It’s also great to see retailers like At Home backfilling some of the vacant big box space and re-invigorating shopping centers like Foothill Ranch.
I wish them the best of luck in their continued expansion into California!