Levin Furniture plans opening
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Tom Zwierzelewski, director of store display at Levin Furniture & Mattress, said the company hopes to be able to open its doors to the public in early October — and that he and company officials are glad to be back in the Ohio Valley.
Levin had a clearance store at the location that is now occupied by Boscov’s at the Ohio Valley Mall that was open three days a week. The new store, which was formerly the hhgregg location at the mall, will be a full-service furniture and mattress retailer that is open seven days a week. The company is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has 36 furniture, clearance and mattress stores across Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“Since we closed up the clearance center, we’ve had a lot of people from the area specifically ask us when Levin was going to open up a full line furniture store, and we’re back and really glad to be here,” Zwierzelewski said. “We are thrilled to have the customers who supported us before come back and visit with us.”
The new store is an “express showroom,” which is smaller than other Levin full-service furniture and mattress stores.
“We have all of our best performing product here and an online catalog in the back of the store to view all merchandise that’s in our core assortment,” Zwierzelewski said. “We have over 120 sofas for immediate delivery, 40 master bedrooms, 13 youth rooms, around 40 casual dining room sets, mattresses, area rugs, special order sofas, lamps, mirrors and accessories.”
The soft opening is scheduled for the beginning of October, and a grand opening will follow later this fall, according to Levin’s Ohio Regional Manager Brian Violi.
Store Manager Karey Ann Berger, originally from Canton, Ohio, has been with the company 17 years and moved to St. Clairsville to take the position as manager of the new store.
“She is very knowledgeable in the furniture business and one of our key managers in the Ohio market. We needed to have somebody relocate to the area. This is new for us, it’s a smaller location,” Violi said. “We will have all of our best sellers and will have access to every product that Levin’s has access to in all of our locations through levinfurniture.com. We have a TV in the back of the store where customers will be able to view all of our available products online.”
Violi said the company tries to find as many manufacturers that make their products in the United States and features those companies in a “Made In America” section of the store. Levin’s carries Amish brands, custom furniture brands and can provide interior designers for hire from other Levin locations. Violi said there is “something for everyone” at the store, with furniture items at almost every price point.
“You can get a whole room in Furniture Express (line of products) for $999,” Berger said.
The store is still looking to hire sales associates, both full and part time. Violi said the store will employ 10 to 15 sales associates in addition to office employees and housekeeping employees. Full-time sales associates are paid strictly by commission, and part-timers are paid an hourly rate plus a lower commission.
“We have found that people who start off on the hourly plus commission easily convert over to full time and full commission because, in my opinion, the earning potential is unlimited,” Violi said. “Our average first year employee, making it through their first year, averages around $50,000 a year. It is a very lucrative position.”
Violi said that since Levin is a retail company, employees must be prepared to work evenings, weekends and holidays. Full-time associates get the same two days off during the week each week.
The company also provides its employees with ongoing opportunities for training to expand their knowledge of the products they are selling.
“We offer a full training curriculum to teach you everything you need to know,” states the company’s website. “We also offer over 100 courses on a variety of topics to expand your knowledge.”
“We are excited. I am ready to open — it has been a long two months,” Berger said. “The store is absolutely beautiful.”
“I think the people are going to like it,” Violi noted.