Finally: a furniture store where the prices are reasonable. Anybody who reads this blog regularly knows I wouldn’t make that statement lightly. The retailer in question is Parks Furniture (possessive apostrophe omitted for SEO purposes, sincerest apologies). They’ve got locations in Hamilton, St. Catherines, and now an American store in Niagara Falls, NY. Their supercentre headquarters is located is Downtown Hamilton in a big old warehouse. I went to the show room on the weekend and I’ve got to say I’m impressed. They’ve got three gigantic floors of furniture and I haven’t seen comparable deals anywhere else.
Since getting a house, I’ve turned into a 50-something who goes “antiquing” on the weekends. No, I actually found the Parks Furniture site while looking for my personal Holy Grail: an affordable, reclining leather couch. It turns out that I can get one, taxes in, for under a grand after all. I am really warming up to Hamilton. The bed in the picture above is less than $1,500 for the store’s “members” (more on the member / non-member distinction in a moment). And the mattresses — I was in awe. Seriously, there were extremely comfortable pocket coil mattresses at prices even cheaper than on their website (I’m talking sub-$300).
Speaking of mattresses, their website attracted the ire of Sleep Country by saying “LET’S SEE SLEEP COUNTRY BEAT THIS PRICE!!” Rather than acting like obsequious Canadians, Parks posted the letter they received from Sleep Country’s lawyers. Such antagonistic marketing seems pretty common in Hamilton, e.g. Hillbilly Heaven. I’m really warming up to this city. Is Parks Furniture franchising? If they’d drop the silly membership thing, I’d be all-in.
Here are the downsides according to the female shopper I was with:
- It hard to find somebody when it’s busy. But it’s busy because people love good deals and — instead of talking about good deals but delivering horrible prices like competitors — Parks Furniture aims to help consumers save money. The sales person we talked to was extremely helpful, clear, and low-pressure.
- While they keep the showrooms clean and tidy it is in an old, windowless warehouse; I was fine but my partner found it cold.
I don’t think these are downsides. Low prices matter, non-value-added frills do not. That’s why I shop at Food Basics, not Metro. I was kind of weirded-out seeing their prices online before visiting the store — my anti-scam “too-good-to-be-true” alarm was ringing. But after going and seeing that they run the store on a relative shoestring, my mind was put at ease. They don’t hold faux “sales”, they don’t advertise much, the website looks like garbage (and I couldn’t find a lot of stuff from the store on there anyway), their delivery guys don’t wear little white booties (speaking of which, delivery is never free so you might want to borrow a truck), and they won’t extend you a line of credit to buy their wares.
Here’s the real (not insignificant) negative to shopping at Parks Furniture: to enjoy their most steeply discounted prices you need to have a membership or know somebody with a membership. It’s apparently a lax policy — we were told that a person with a membership could drop in separately, show their member card, and tell them to give us the member rate. I don’t know anybody with a membership. To get the membership for yourself, you need to spend $1500 at the member rate. (I originally said “$1500 at the non-member rate. These prices are still reasonable — but on $1500 the 20% difference between “member” and “non-member” prices is $300. That’s an amount I am loathe to waste.” But an astute reader has told me it’s $1500 at the member rate. As always, verify facts for yourself before acting!)
By the way, no, this isn’t a paid post. I’m writing for even more selfish reasons than usual: is there any Dear Reader out there with a membership who is willing to help me out? (I know it’s an extremely slim chance, but I might as well ask.) OK, enough about me. Let’s make the conclusion about you. If you’re living in the Greater Toronto Area, Upstate New York, or anywhere in between, and need to buy a large amount of furniture at once, visit your nearest Parks Furniture.