Becker Furniture World, Becker, which began in a pole barn 25 years ago, attracts a quarter of a million visitors annually and is completing an expansion project that will make the store more than 50 percent bigger, add 100 jobs and create an entertainment center.
The idea is to create a home furnishing store that is a destination spot for numerous reasons. The new Becker Furniture World will include a restaurant, a 1,700 square-foot children's play area, a 45,000 square-foot outlet center, live-music venue and one-acre reflecting pond, along with thousands of couches, chairs, tables, beds and lamps.
Other features include a state-of-the-art billiards pavilion that features 20 different pool tables, an outlet center, an art gallery showcasing area and national artists.
The addition includes a performance stage and ongoing concerts and seminars.
"By the end of 2003, Becker Furniture World will more closely resemble an entertainment destination than a typical retail store," the company reported.
The showroom space will be expanded to nearly 300,000 square feet. The expanded showroom officially opens Thursday. The expansion is creating about 100 jobs.
Store officials reported more than 300 customers from the Brainerd lakes area made purchases at the Becker Furniture World last year. They reported Becker Furniture World is the state's largest home furnishings store and the state's largest single-store retailer. From end-to-end the entire showroom spans a third of a mile, almost six football fields.
The store has a staff of 80 design consultants, has expanded training programs and design seminars.
The store has more than 30 different departments. The showroom will have more than 30,000 pieces of furniture and accessories. And it features a "wall of flame" with a display of fireplace inserts.
Owners Doug and Julie Huseby founded the company in 1978. They were the only employees at the 500 square-foot distribution center and had $175,000 in first-year sales. Becker Furniture World has now grown to nearly 300,000 square-feet with annual sales of more than $40 million. The company now has more than 275 employees who receive several months of training. Each employee spends about 200 hours in training before they hit the showroom floor.
The Husebys created the Becker Furniture World Foundation, which has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to agencies and families throughout Minnesota in the form of furniture and grant money. The company includes a carnation with each delivery and reports more than 26,000 carnations delivered last year.
In a list of fun facts, the company noted the store has enough dining room sets to invite about 1,000 people to dinner. If all the recliners and chairs were stacked on top of one another the pile would stand taller than the Sears Tower. More than a 1,000 light bulbs are needed for all the showroom display lamps. Item prices range from $1.99 clip-on light to a $9,799 Besinger pool table.
The company also operates an outlet center in St. Cloud. Becker Furniture World has a 125,000 square-foot distribution center. And more than 20,000 pieces of furniture move through the center each month.
The Husebys reported high rental prices and a poor economy were the reason they moved their newly started furniture business in Minneapolis to Becker where land was affordable.
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