Nebraska Furniture Mart executives told hundreds of local dignitaries, employees and others attending a ribbon-cutting Thursday that the store is finally ready to take on the throngs of shoppers it was built for.
“We are glad you could be with us on this history-making day for Nebraska Furniture Mart,” Ron Blumkin, president, chief operating officer and grandson of the store’s founder, told the crowd gathered at the main entrance to the massive 560,000-square-foot store. “We’re very proud of the new store.”
Blumkin said the Omaha-based retailer, a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, had several locations to choose from, but decided on the spot along the Sam Rayburn Tollway and Plano Parkway partly because of the cooperation from local entities. It has its own exit from the tollway, for example.
“The DFW metro was the right place,” Blumkin said. “Frankly, this is where we felt the most comfortable.”
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Nebraska Furniture Mart, which boasts a 1.3-million-square-foot warehouse/distribution building and a four-story parking garage at its newest store, expects to draw shoppers from as far away as Oklahoma and Louisiana, and reach $1 billion in annual sales. The store also sells appliances, electronics, flooring and accessories. It employs 2,380 workers.
The two-story store is the first project in the planned $1.5 billion, 433-acre Grandscape development, which has became the largest economic development project in Denton County, officials said.
Mayor Joe McCourry said the city’s attempts to draw the project to The Colony was like “chasing after Goliath. This was going to be a big deal. It’s not small by any means. This is just the tip of the iceberg what they have in store for us.”
The store, the largest of its kind in the country, has been open since early March, but it’s taken since then to smooth out the kinks.
Ed Lipsett, the store director, said an additional 100 employees were hired after the store opened to meet delivery needs, an area that shoppers complained about on social media.
“I’ve read every single one of those,” Lipsett said. “We’ve gotten better, we’ve gotten more efficient. We’re ready to meet expectations.”
Nebraska Furniture Mart traces its roots to 1937, when the store was founded by Russian immigrants Rose Gorelick and Isadore Blumkin. Berkshire Hathaway bought the business in 1983.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727