Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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76 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 R E T A I L R E V I E W Susan Fishman Appliance and plumbing retailer PIRCH reinvents the retail shopping experience. PIRCH Lets Shoppers Try Before They Buy W hat if shopping for a major home appliance didn't have to be a source of irritation or drudgery? What if it could even be … fun? That's the question a couple of entrepreneurs posed when dreaming up their latest concept. Now they have an award-winning company that allows con- sumers to have a hands-on approach to appliance and fixture purchasing, and the retail industry a buzz. In the Number 25 position on Forbes' 2015 list of "America's 100 Most Prom- ising Companies," PIRCH was founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Sears and Jim Stuart, two seasoned business executives who set out to change the retail shopping experi- ence and prove that shopping for appli- ances and plumbing products could be "inspirational." "Our company was born from empathy and frustration," says PIRCH CEO and Co-founder Jeffrey Sears, who was re- cently named "Disruptor of the Year" by the National Retail Federation and one of the "100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2014" by Goldman Sachs. "We asked, 'how is it that the very products adorning our homes and serving as backdrops to priceless memories, are presented in such an uninspiring manner?' So, we decided to do something about that." After more than 60 months of explo- ration and over $100 million of invested capital, a team of innovators delivered what the company considers "one of the most inspired store experiences in the United States." The goal was to take the customer away from endless rows of plumbing fixtures and appliances, stacked tall in stark warehouse environments, to where they no longer have to "imagine" what the product might look like in their homes. Fostering a culture of hospitality and kindness, PIRCH welcomes entering visitors with complimentary signature beverages at its Bliss Cafe. The guests are then invited to discover, explore and "test-drive" a carefully curated collection of best-in-class kitchen, bath, laundry and outdoor living brands from around the globe, including Fisher & Paykel, Miele, Franke, La Cornue, Toto and Sub-Zero. The result is a "one-stop-shop" where guests can focus on what they want to do, rather than what they want to buy. A well-trained team manages the entire process, including delivery, installation and service. Built with empathy toward the guest's journey, the PIRCH store presents prod- ucts in a uniquely personal and genuinely fun way that takes into account how one lives and entertains. Customers can try out the ovens by baking an artisanal pizza, or test drive a toilet with seat warmer or even a shower in "the sanctuary," a private area with up to 38 shower heads, as well as steams, saunas and bathtubs. People have even brought in dirty laundry to test out the machines. The company collaborated with in- ternationally-acclaimed FITCH on the store's interior architecture and signature "try-before-you-buy" concept that features functional vignettes with live cooktops, ovens, refrigerators and grills, as well as working showers, sinks and baths. The award-winning, immersive showrooms range from approximately 20,000 square feet to more than 30,000 square feet. PIRCH caters to a highly diverse con- sumer base and welcomes everyone from homeowners in the midst of construction to those in search of instruction, insights or ideas for their homes. Regardless of customers' objectives, the fully interactive PIRCH locations are 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in size. PIRCH collaborated with FITCH to create the stores' interior architecture. PIRCH Founders Jim Stuart (left) and Jeffrey Sears (right).

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