Welcome to Nebraska!
I’d heard that the big furniture store over in The Colony was finally open. Since we were on the Northwest side of Dallas for another house-related errand, we decided to drop into the brand-spanking new Nebraska Furniture Mart. The old saw about everything being bigger in Texas may finally be true, now that we have Nebraska Furniture Mart here in the Metroplex.
My husband is an investor by trade and a decorator by desire, so a furniture store by Warren Buffet was a temptation he could not resist. I’d already been online to check out their selection, but nothing could have prepared me for the real thing.
We’d just merged onto the George from I-35 when we made the decision to visit the behemoth furniture store. So, we took Josey north, because we remembered it being built somewhere in that vicinity. Unsure of which way to turn when we got to 121, I checked the GPS on my phone. It let me know that I needed to go right. Soon I could see the store, but the GPS wanted to take me past it and then wrap back around. We turned off the GPS and followed our noses.
If You Build It They Will Come
Though the furniture store itself is actually complete, everything around it is still under construction, so drive with extreme caution. The place is so huge that it’s hard to figure out exactly where you should park. On the weekday afternoon we visited there was plenty of parking, but who knows what it will be like on weekends.
The Eloi going to dinner, in a scene from the 1960’s movie version of H.G. Wells Time Machine, is deeply ingrained on my mind. Anytime I find myself in a casual crowd that grows as it enters an edifice, I’m right there with the Eloi. The poor things were just following their appetite into the communal dining room with no understanding that they were fattening themselves up to be someone else’s dinner. A little later they are harvested as they strolled into yet another cavern at the direction of their hosts.
That should give you an idea of the Nebraska Furniture Mart. You wander towards it with your mouth open, trying to imagine the delights that are held behind the massive walls of the building. As we entered, we were handed a map, but it took us awhile to open it, because the scene is so overwhelming. What looks unbelievably large from the outside seems to grow once you get inside.
Right inside the door we entered was an “accessory bazaar”, think Z Gallarie/Pier One/Kirkland/Crate& Barrell/etc. We veered to the right, distracted by the siren call of patio furniture. I mean we are building a patio that overlooks a pond and a golf course. After seeing a $1300 chair, we walked out of the patio furniture department and through more accessory type stuff to the Home Entertainment Furniture Department. Can you say $7K isn’t in our budget for home entertainment furniture?
At the back of the store was a fan and lighting gallery. This is where our amazement became true sticker shock. I have two words for you: Lamps Plus. The selection puts Nebraska to shame, the brands are the same and once you buy your lighting fixtures you can actually afford light bulbs.
We test drove a few chairs in the office furniture department and went over to check out the “Hard Surface Flooring and Countertops.” Do not buy granite from these people. It was all level one granite with level three pricing. What scares me is that they didn’t say whether the $45/sq ft price included installation or not. I was afraid to ask. More advice: Do not pay $45 for Brown Baltic and Santa Cecelia – with or without installation. You really can get it a lot cheaper than that.
Carpets were next. We were interested in those. With so much wood flooring going in, we’re going to need some area rugs. I’ve got to tell you they have some gorgeous stuff, their selection is humongous and there seems to be a wide variety of pricing. Surprisingly, some of the prices actually looked like something we might pay. However, there were also prices that sent us howling. I am sure there are people in Dallas who buy $20K area rugs, but that wouldn’t be us.
Come On Up
Another sci-fi scene that looms large in my memory bank is the elevator scene from The Twilight Zone’s “To Serve Man” Episode. I was certainly feeling like the fatted calf of consumerism as I stepped off the Nebraska Furniture Store elevator into the dining department. Since barstools are another thing on our shopping list, we lingered in that section for a while. They did have one of the larger collections of barstools that we’ve run into anywhere else and some reasonable pricing, but we didn’t fall in love. The perfect barstools are still mere figments of our imagination.
As we made our way across the upper level of the store, Bill stopped to admire a dining room table. He commented that the price seemed reasonable. Then I pointed out that the chairs were separate. Bill changed his mind about affordability and we decided we were very happy with our consignment store find.
If you are actually looking for furniture (as opposed to accessories, lighting, granite and rugs) allow plenty of time to browse this store. When they say they have an unequaled selection, they are not kidding. All we did was stroll across the front half of the upper level and even that did take some time.
As we wandered west to east in the front aisle we noticed that while most of the furniture was spread out in glorious array to our right, on the left side were glassed-in storefronts. Gazing across the facades I saw names like Thomasville, Drexel Heritage and Herendon. This is the real stuff folks. The kind of furniture your mom and your aunts used to buy before we became addicted to disposable fashion. There’s wood in them there tabletops!! In my next life, the one where I can afford my champagne taste, I’m going to walk right in there and pick out my stuff. Since I’m not quite there yet, we kept walking and made a circuit of the rest of the upper level.
Time for Lunch
All that sticker shock created an appetite. The map told us a Subway was somewhere in the building, so we headed back down one of the many escalators and found ourselves in the pool table and fitness areas. Next was electronics. And then (hit the spotlight) Subway.
During lunch we discussed the huge number of salespeople they’d hired to staff the sales floor. We tripped over them constantly. I’ll give them creds though. They would politely offer to help and then fade away when we smiled and said, “Just looking.” We hate being shadowed by a hungry salespeople, especially those that want to chat us up. Though it would be great for the local economy if this place keeps all these people, we think it’s a grand opening ploy and that staff reductions are inevitable – probably a lot will disappear through attrition, but they would have to sell a lot of furnishings to support all the people they have hired.
Bill’s Favorite Part
Unwittingly, we saved the best for last. Wandering out of Subway, we headed to the left, because that was the only part of the place we hadn’t seen. Voila! The appliance department!
Bill loved it. They had an entire appliance department very much like what you’d see at the local Lowe’s or Home Depot, but then they had little individual sections carved out along the wall for Viking, Sub Zero, Miele and the like. FYI, GE Monogram had it’s own little cubbyhole which impressed us.
Then we landed in TV’s and we were worn out. Time to head to the hacienda. Have you heard the the DMA has a new exhibit. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about Michael Borremans.