The Softer Side Of Home Depot

Although The Home Depot is closing its landscape supply stores, the mega retailer continues to break new ground with new store formats. The latest are two Home Depot Design Center stores designed for women.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports these stores will open later this month in Concord, Calif., and Charlotte, N.C. They will be about the same size as a regular Home Depot but have a much different look and feel. The signature orange will have an earthy color palette. Inside, female shoppers will find a cozy showroom feel and client conference desks aimed at project design.

“Nothing about this store feels like the Home Depot you know today. It feels much more like a studio environment,” said Jason Feldman, the company’s senior director of merchandising in an interview with the newspaper. “Imagine a Home Depot designed by a woman. The only reason a contractor would come into these stores is if a customer asked him to pick up tiles or counter tops or something like that for a project. Otherwise, if a contractor walks in adn thinks this is a Home Depot, he’s going to turn around and walk right back out. The beauty is, we’ve put these two stores a couple of miles away from the [regular stores], so we’ve still got something nearby that focuses on the core do-it-yourselfer and the pros.”

In the Design Center concept, you will not find lumber and building materials or heavy-duty power tools. Instead, you’ll find an upscale furniture showroom by Home Decorators Collection, a catalog business acquired last year.

And instead of an outdoor garden center with bags of mulch and soil, the Design Center garden shop will sell orchids, pottery and more sophisticated goods.

Always incubating new concepts, Home Depot rolled out a five-store test of stores half the size of a typical store in the San Francisco Bay area in April. In these stores, there’s a heavy emphasis on appliances, flooring and kitchen and bath products.

Home Depot also has been testing a 3,800-square-foot furniture showroom at an urban-format store in Chicago. A planned Home Decorators store within a store in Charlotte will take up 11,000 square feet.

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