WINTER GARDEN — Officials of Baer’s Furniture had been looking at opening a store in Winter Garden since 2004.
Now, more than a decade later, that store will open.
“We lost our Altamonte Springs store, so it made sense there, especially with the economy coming back,” CEO Bobby Baer said of his company’s new location at the northwest corner of the junction of West Colonial Drive and State Road 429. “The economy tanked for a while, and we always knew it would come back, and it’s a lot of potential for growth and customers from all the way in Altamonte Springs to Windermere, Dr. Phillips and all the way to the Clermont area.”
Among 15 Baer’s stores, only one was on lease — Altamonte Springs. After Baer realized a lease renewal would not happen, plans changed to moving from the Altamonte Springs location to Winter Garden.
“We had to take our time with Winter Garden; otherwise we would have been open already,” Baer said. “They’re very fastidious at dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s and making sure all the official documents were in order.”
But moving products to the new showroom is an ongoing four-week process that Baer called rapid and likened to putting up 20 homes in four weeks.
Even so, everything will be ready for the store’s July 2 grand opening, which will include a ribbon-cutting and a party open to the public at 5 p.m., Baer said. The store will feature a free total decorating and design service with everything for the home, from flooring and wood to window treatments, accessories and, of course, furniture, he said.
“We’ll have great grand- opening pricing on everything we carry, with stock on at least 90% of everything in the store,” he said. “We’re proud of the stuff in this store, with (products) from around the world. Every quality piece of furniture will be at the best price, and it’s a destination at 84,000 square feet — no place like it in Orlando.”
Those 84,000 square feet make this store the second-largest in the Baer’s empire to the Melbourne location, which is 100,000 square feet, Baer said. The store will start with just fewer than 50 employees among more than 800 for the company, which prides itself in being a family business beyond just the last name, he said.
“Jacki Heck was our general manager at the Altamonte Springs store, and she has been with us over 10 years and is the manager of the new Winter Garden store,” he said. “And Darrin Sutton, who was head of display at Altamonte Springs, will continue at the same job. We’re very proud to say over 30% of our employees have been with us for five or more years. We’re a family business and try to pay well. Half of our business is about our employees, how well they treat our customers and how well they can be part of a team.”
That team is celebrating its 70th anniversary, which Baer said has come from putting customers first with a great selection, wonderful quality and a value nobody can beat.
Baer also plans to hold a donation to four children’s charities in honor of the grand opening: Give Kids the World, Florida Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
ADDRESS: 12105 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden
PHONE: (407) 478-2237
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].