By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
HERMITAGE -- Bolotin Furniture is marking nearly a century in retailing with the completion of a top-to-bottom remodeling of its store on East State Street.
Mark Bolotin, company president, said the four-month renovation includes design changes inside and out and the addition of new amenities to make the furniture store more customer friendly.
The $400,000 modernization project added a hospitality center inside the store where customers can snack on coffee and muffins while they contemplate their purchases.
Available: There's also a computer system that allows shoppers to view computer images of upholstered pieces in a variety of fabrics.
The design by Kief-Walls Group, a California-based architectural firm that specializes in furniture store styling, called for removing interior walls for a more open feeling.
"Room settings had become a maze, inhibiting our clients," Bolotin explained. "Every internal wall was removed and a 5-foot space between the first-story ceiling and the second- story floor was opened up to create an atrium. It's amazing how much larger the store looks and feels."
Stucco columns were added in the 25,000-square-foot showroom, and departments were established for youth furniture, home office furnishings, area rugs and metal beds -- all growth categories for the business.
The store's La-Z-Boy Gallery, which Bolotin described as its strongest department, was relocated from the second floor to a new center on the first floor.
Streamlined: Store manager Peg Baker said a computer-assisted drawing program for La-Z-Boy seating pieces, a centrally located presentation room and a new fabric display section were added to streamline the sales process for custom orders.
The computer system takes the suspense out of custom ordering by allowing the customers to see how the sofa, chair or love seat style of their choice would look with various fabric or leather coverings.
Outside, designers raised the roof line and added awnings, a stucco front and columns that repeat the interior column design.
Upstairs, the new store plan allows display of dinettes, bedroom furniture, sleep sofas and bedding.