Chicago/ Retail & Industry
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Published on May 20, 2024
Wayfair Dives into Brick-and-Mortar with First Store in Wilmette, Chicago Suburb, Complete with On-Site RestaurantSource: Wayfair

Wayfair, previously an online exclusive home goods retailer, is bringing a tangible shopping experience to eager customers with the opening of its first full-scale brick-and-mortar store in Wilmette, a Chicago suburb. The grand opening of the two-level, 150,000 square-foot store is slated for 10 a.m. Thursday at 3232 Lake Avenue in Edens Plaza, promising a weekend of "exclusive deals and family-friendly activities," as mentioned in an NBC Chicago release.

The store will not only feature an extensive home improvement section and fully-loaded design center but also an on-site restaurant dubbed "The Porch," where patrons can enjoy all-day breakfast and drinks while they shop. The diverse stock includes over 80,000 items, with familiar appliance brands like Samsung and Bosch lining the shelves. "We wanted customers to see that we have things for the entire home," Barclay Resler, Wayfair's head of visual merchandising, told NBC Chicago during a media tour Wednesday. Adding to the in-person shopping convenience, items can be picked up at the store after purchase, and online orders can be placed for store pick-up or fast shipping options.

Eager onlookers got a glimpse of the new retail venture ahead of its official opening as officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 23. The inaugural celebration, dubbed the grand opening block party, extends through the Memorial Day weekend, according to a Chicago Tribune report. In a trend reflecting the blurring lines between online and physical retail spaces, Wayfair's new store aims to be a "one stop shop for all things home," promotional materials highlighted.

With designs demonstrating an array of styles from traditional to modern, the setup invites shoppers to visualize potential décor in their own living spaces. "Lots of people find putting things in their home hard to do," Resler explained to the Chicago Tribune. Wayfair aims to alleviate this with personalized design services to curate a desired look. Interactive features such as turning on a range of faucets to gauge comfort levels bring an immersive dimension to the shopping experience that their digital platform could not offer.

Wayfair's leap into the physical retail space is strategically located in a family-centric area, resonating with Wayfair's consumer base. "It was never a question if we're going to build a store, it was always a question of when we're going to build a store," Liza Lefkowski, Wayfair's VP of merchandising, told the Chicago Tribune. As they make their physical mark in the retail world, their commitment to providing a comprehensive home shopping experience remains steadfast, with Wilmette just being a start.