A major Topeka-based furniture retailer plans to open a large store in the former Food-4-Less building on South Iowa Street by this summer.
Jeff Winter — an owner of Discovery Furniture and Roommakers Furniture — confirmed Wednesday that he’s in the process of applying for necessary city permits to open a 48,000-square-foot furniture center in the old grocery store building.
“We really believe Lawrence consumers need more choices and options to buy furniture,” Winter said. “Pretty much to get nice furniture, people have to leave town.”
Winter said the former grocery building will house three separate stores that his company will operate. One end of the building will house a Discovery Furniture store, which will feature several lines of furniture and also will offer special orders. On the other end of the building will be a Roommakers Furniture store that primarily will carry the Ashley line of furniture. In between the two stores will be a mattress store, as yet unnamed.
Winter’s family operates both a Discovery and Roommakers store in Topeka on Wanamaker Road, in addition to an Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Salina. He said he’s seen the number of Lawrence furniture stores steadily decline since Nebraska Furniture Mart opened its mega store in western Wyandotte County in 2003.
“But the reason we’re in the furniture business is because we think we can do it better,” said Winter, whose family has been in the business since the 1930s when it started a store in Emporia. “We’re all here local and it is just what we do, and we really like building relationships.”
Winter estimated the new store — which will be managed by his brother Jamie Winter — would employ about 30 people once it opens.