A long-established, family-owned and family-operated Central Coast home appliance and furnishings business has expanded by opening a new showroom in Santa Maria even as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing other companies to shrink or even cease operations.
Idler’s Home celebrated 66 years on the Central Coast by launching its fifth location July 10 with a soft opening at 2406 S. Broadway, in the FoodMaxx shopping center.
A grand opening is tentatively planned for August after all the store improvements are completed, said store manager Marco Montes, who’s been with Idler’s for more than six years.
While some might see expanding amid a pandemic as risky business, Montes said he’s not worried about that.
As an essential business offering refrigerators and ranges, Idler’s has continued operating and business has remained strong.
“The first couple of months [of the economic closure], we were really busy,” Montes said. “Everybody was buying freezers. I think the first month we sold 150 freezers.”
Even Lowe’s and Home Depot were calling to see if Idler’s had freezers in stock, he said.
Jennifer Idler, human resources and marketing director for the company, said the new showroom will include more features than the original Santa Maria location at 1158 W. Betteravia Road.
“Moving into this larger location has allowed us to add more departments — mattresses, furniture and outdoor products such as Marquis spas and Traeger grills — all the while selling major home appliances that we are known for,” Idler said.
In addition to displays of indoor and outdoor furniture, the new showroom includes a sleep experience area, where customers can try out various mattresses, and a large, fully functioning kitchen for live cooking demonstrations, she said.
Montes said the large kitchen is still under construction but will feature such top-flight appliances as Sub-Zero, Wolf, Thermador and JennAir and high-end equipment by La Cornue, which is “kind of retro,” and Miele.
“We basically doubled the size of the Betteravia store,” Montes said, noting the new location encompasses about 17,000 square feet. “We’re carrying furniture now, like Ashley.”
He added, “Before, we’d tell people, ‘We do carry furniture, but you have to go to Paso [Robles] or San Luis Obispo to see it.’ Now, we can actually show it.”
Montes said the new location has a lot more beds and will be carrying spas in the near future.
“It’s more visible and has better parking,” he said of the new store. “Everyone here is excited about it.”
Idler’s hired about six new people to bring the store’s staff to 16, which includes the installation crew, and another three will probably hired when the West Betteravia Road showroom is converted into an Idler’s furniture outlet and warehouse in August.
Idler said all Idler’s Home stores, from Santa Maria to Paso Robles, are open and using enhanced safety measures and streamlined services to protect customers and staff from COVID-19.
That includes wearing protective equipment like face masks, maintaining an hourly cleaning schedule and upgrading the company’s online shopping service.
While some companies have halted installation, Idler’s still provides that service, with installers wearing gloves and masks and disinfecting everything in the process. Customers can sign for deliveries via email, further minimizing contact.
“It’s all about customer service,” Montes said. “We’re very happy we can continue to serve our customers.”
To minimize traffic at each store, customers who want to visit a showroom in-person are asked to make an appointment in advance by visiting www.idlershome.com.
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