Design Within Reach (commonly referred to as DWR) could be just out of reach for the average Joe furniture-shopper's wallet. The company sells upscale modern home furnishings (such as sofas, chairs, tables, and beds), as well as storage options, outdoor furniture, fixtures, lighting, rugs, and related accessories. DWR's designs have been featured on decorating TV series (Trading Spaces) and in books (Trading Up: The New American Luxury). The company operates more than 40 stores (or studios, as DWR prefers) in about 20 states and in Canada that include outlets and locations under the DWR: Tools for Living banner. Its goods are also marketed through a catalog and a company website.
DWR is known for its artful assemblage of modern decor from such well-known designers as Bertoia, Eames, and Saarinen. The company has been focusing on the profitability of its retail stores and emphasizing hospitality and contract sales by touting competitive pricing for authentic modern designs. It's also working hard to reconnect and partner with new and existing designers to return to its heyday as a design-centric upscale retailer.
Since the company opened its first store in San Francisco in 2000 and expanded its network nationwide, DWR's retail footprint had shrunk. Faced with the US recession and tightened consumer spending that didn't include splurging on DWR's high-end offerings, the furniture retailer eventually logged nearly $24 million in losses during fiscal 2008 alone. The struggling company quickly moved to overhaul its operations. It slashed some $20 million in annual expenses by renegotiating leases, paring down marketing and catalog spending, and cutting back on inventory. It also reduced its workforce in all areas to save more than $5 million. The cutbacks were not deep enough, though. Following an unsolicited purchase offer in 2009, DWR delisted from the NASDAQ. Help came from hedge fund Glenhill Capital, which took a more than 90% stake in the chain in exchange for a $15 million cash injection. (Prior to the deal, Glenhill held about a 20% stake.) With Glenhill fund manager Glenn Krevlin in control as DWR's chairman, John Edelman was appointed CEO and president. Edelman, who led rival Knoll's Edelman Leather furnishings unit took over in 2010. During the years since Edelman took over DWR has developed its products and partnerships, concentrating on adding more product variety and improving the customer experience in its stores and online. It is doubling the size of its New York and Miami stores and opening a 22,000-sq.-ft. store in Costa Mesa, California. Its new-and-improved retail concept presents merchandise in room vignettes defined by style that offer decor solutions for nearly every room in the house. In mid-2012 the company announced plans to increase its retail presence for not only consumers but for trade professionals.
The company was founded by designer Rob Forbes in 1998; he left the business in 2007. – less