Backyard furniture stores are sprouting up everywhere. And they’re not necessarily limited to big cities like Chicago. In fact, many cities boast a vibrant furniture scene. But what exactly are backyard furniture stores? And why are they such a craze in some places and barely visible in others?
Backyard furniture stores offer more than outdoor benches and chairs. The latest trend in outdoor furniture started in the mid- 1990s when homeowners were searching for something new to include in their backyards. No longer were they satisfied with lumpy steel pieces that couldn’t withstand the elements. But the indoor room is still primary, and improved weather-resistance, cost reductions and a proliferation of durable, weather-resistant material choices have played a part. That’s why backyard furniture stores are as crowded with cast aluminum and teak outdoor room furniture as they are with plastic patio furniture and wicker chairs.
But while working iron was once the only option for outdoor room furniture, the trend has moved away from it over the past few years. Teak is stronger and denser, and it resists rotting, cracking and splintering. It’s also been used to great success in making outdoor furniture pieces such as tables and outdoor bar stools. And it’s not just outdoor wicker furniture. Cast aluminum is another popular material that’s been gaining popularity. Here’s why:
It’s a lot easier to get high quality products at lower prices when you shop at smaller backyard furniture stores. That’s because they’re typically smaller operations. That means there’s not nearly the overhead to make a profit that a larger chain of larger retailers has. Smaller backyard furniture stores rely on direct sales from their customers. They don’t have warehouse workers or full-time sales people.
Because of these sales-oriented arrangements, backyard furniture stores can afford to sell their products at less than half of the cost of more popular, big-box retailers. In fact, the retail space that these shops use is generally smaller than what you’d find in a chain retail space. Each store has its own interior decor and setup. There are not the same numbers of salespeople walking around and doing door-to-door sales. So there’s not nearly the same amount of pressure for a retailer to sell products at a certain price.
The lower cost of merchandise is part of the reason that more people are choosing to buy their own furniture at home from stores instead of big box retailers. If you go into one of these furniture stores unprepared, you’re likely to feel like you’re going to be walking into a second store. It’s not uncommon to be told that you don’t have any room for further shopping. These kinds of store-within-a-store scenarios make it hard to come up with new ideas.
But when you walk into a backyard furniture store, you feel at ease. There’s not the clutter of dozens of different items on display. And it’s easy to stay focused on just one or two items. If you have trouble deciding on something in particular, the staff can help direct your impulse purchase to a more solid product. You won’t waste time browsing the aisles of a large store, when you can spend your time perusing the relatively small number of furniture displays.
It may take some time to get used to seeing furniture stores, but it’s well worth the effort once you actually enter one. There’s a sense of calm and order that come from knowing that there are other people out there enjoying what you’re buying. It may be difficult to leave a store without a toy truck, but if you choose a store that specializes in backyard furniture, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable. Instead of focusing all your attention on the store, you can think about the next toy truck you want to buy. You might even end up buying something that you didn’t have any intentions of buying before leaving the store!