Travis Garish, the owner of Forma Furniture, talks about what it was like opening a new store this past year. Travis opened his first store in Fort Collins in 2004, with a long-term vision of having 3 stores total; one located in Fort Collins, one in Boulder, and one in Denver. In 2021, he finally felt that sales and staff were finally in a great position to start moving toward the opening of the 3rd store. So, Travis made a bold decision to open the 3rd store in Northglenn. It’s a stunning 12,000 Sq Ft showroom with beautiful architecture and a natural finish that fits Forma’s classic look and style furniture perfectly. Travis explains in his own words:
“The location right off 1-25 fits great with our goal of capturing Northern Colorado and entering Denver. Sitting right on the north side of Denver gave us a lot of options for future growth and cementing it as a destination to support all of Northern Colorado.”
For those wondering what the first step in opening any store is- it’s almost always going to be deciding on a location. Travis says he took a long time looking into different possibilities and locations and felt that finding the perfect fit was really going to be key to the success of the store.
From there on out, it wasn’t exactly soothing sailing. From start to finish, it took 11 months to open to store.
“Negotiating a lease is a lot of work and it’s a slow process. We took several months working on details until we got our final lease.”
Besides the landlord lease negotiations, there was also a lot of red tape from the city. Staying patient through each step can be a tough task when you had hoped to open the store 6 months prior. Travis says despite the delays, he found everyone he worked with to be helpful and supportive.
“The city of Northglenn has been very supportive and communicated well during the whole process, but it took 8 months to open. And we had hoped to put a rush the remodel to 3 months. In the end, we are happy and just like we tell our customers your furniture will get here just not as fast as before the pandemic. The same holds true for real estate. The city folks are busy and working hard.”
Once the location was secured and the remodel was complete, Travis still had to staff an entire store from 50 miles away. He says he was determined to take the time to find the right people rather than just rush to staff the new location.
“We started our search for a store manager and wanted to get someone hired early to help the entire process. Then put most of the hiring on their shoulders. We hired 5 employees and added 2 more positions to our warehouse for a total of 7 new jobs to open our new store. Recruiting was a team effort and hard work by the manager and back-end team. But they found some very talented designers and experienced employees in furniture. Setting us up for immediate success.”
One might assume that the successful launch of the two previous stores would make the opening of the 3rd location a lot more seamless. Travis found this was not necessarily the case. There were new challenges he had not faced before, and the circumstances were completely different.
“This store took a lot more money and people to get opened. Fort Collins, we started with credit cards a line of credit, and a dream. And had only 1 employee when we started. Boulder was a very small store to start and we learned a lot of hard lessons. But grew and were able to plan and expect some of the issues that developed. Plus we knew we wanted to hire staff early to train and be prepared to open”
Another unexpected challenge arose while trying to stock the showroom. COVID delays were still in effect, and furniture was arriving in staggered intervals. The Fort Collins warehouse was absolutely packed with sofas and beds and tables all intended for Northglenn. In time, everything settles into place and the end result is an absolutely stunning one-of-a-kind unique showroom unlike anything else in the area.
“This is our largest showroom and will be our flagship. We will carry the same brands and styles. But will be able to show more options and products. We are all about comfort quality and value. That will always be the focus of our product and displays at every store shown in our curated Colorado Modern style.”
After so many challenges, Travis is very pleased and excited with the process and is looking forward to watching the new store grow
“I love how the new store turned out in terms of feel and layout. Also what this store represents for our future growth and success. I am very happy with how things have turned out. I feel we did overall- a great job.”