Apartment Manager Scorns Cheap, Rugged Furniture: 'Too Good to be True'

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Sofa re-invention startles apartment manager. Home Reserve, LLC. invents new category of upholstered RTA furniture. Sofas, loveseats, chairs, and ottomans: surprising comfort, amazing value.

It’s not easy to reinvent something as common as sofas and lounge chairs, but a Fort Wayne firm, Home Reserve, Inc., has done exactly that, and done it well.

At least that’s what a local apartment manager concluded—reluctantly.

“I saw those prices and I said to myself, ‘Trash. That’s all they could be. Trash.’”

The manager, who asked to remain anonymous—“No sense in advertising my stupidity”—visited the Home Reserve website (http://www.homereserve.com) “more in desperation than anything else” after combing newspaper ads and local stores for reasonably-priced, durable furniture.

“I rent furnished housing for students and young couples, and I have to watch my bottom line. When a local search didn’t turn up anything promising, I just typed ‘cheap sofa’ into a search engine to see what I’d get.”

High on his list of hits was Home Reserve, Inc., a Fort Wayne firm that sells RTA (ready-to-assemble) sofas, lounge chairs, loveseats, and ottomans at about 40% of what the retail big boys charge.

“I took a look and I was impressed—until I saw the prices. Then I decided they were just too good to be true. I figured there was no way you could sell a sofa for $299 unless you cut corners all over the place, and I’m not interested in furniture like that. It wouldn’t last a year with most of my renters.”

But desperation led the doubting manager back to the website again—and again.

“The more I read, the better their merchandise sounded, and finally I just had to see for myself whether it was any good or not.”

The manager’s search led him to Home Reserve’s Fort Wayne factory, where he received a tour “from the president of the company,” no less.

“What I saw on that tour really opened my eyes. They’ve rethought nearly every aspect of making and selling furniture.

“At every step of the operation they emphasize efficiency—and quality. Their units have a smart look and a solid ‘feel.’ They also have features like interior storage space and interchangeable upholstery that I’d never even heard of before.”

The manager placed a large order over the Internet (there are no mail-order or showroom sales, which translates into more savings for the consumer), and was amazed when the entire shipment arrived within a week.

“I started delivering sofas to some of my tenants, and when they saw only three medium-sized boxes they looked at me like I was crazy.”

The manager promised to return the next day to help assemble the furniture, “but when I got there almost everybody had already assembled it by themselves.”

“Amazing,” the manager says. “Amazing.”

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Byron Shank
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