‘Our large inventory really sets us apart’

Factory Direct puts focus on selection, service and competitive pricing

Factory Direct co-owners, Keith, left, and Kevin Heikes (right) at their store in Hutchinson. Photo by Scott Thoma

The building that currently houses Factory Direct in Hutchinson was once a roller skating rink owned by Jim and Carole Heikes, who had it constructed in 1982. But because it wasn’t showing a profit, it was transformed into a furniture store three years later.

Jim Heikes passed away five years ago and his sons, Kevin and Keith Heikes, now are co-owners of the huge furniture store on the east end of town on Highway 7 East. And because of Factory Direct’s vast inventory, you almost wish you had roller skates to make it easier to view everything.

“I can’t believe how big it is in there,” said one customer, while admiring a cascading lighted fountain. “You can get lost in there. It’s like a museum where you can spend a little or a lot of time in here.”

The store is now four times larger than the original building with several additions constructed in recent years as well as the addition of a large offsite warehouse.

“The length of the main building could fit an entire football field and both end zones,” said Kevin. “It’s 360 feet long.”

Factory Direct was once the Heikes family’s roller skating rink. Contributed photo

And even though the four adjoining buildings are filled with nearly every conceivable item imaginable for your home décor needs, it’s been carefully designed to make it “customer friendly” with well-planned groupings and an uncluttered appearance.

“I think our large inventory is what really sets us apart from other furniture stores,” Kevin said, proudly. “We want to give the customers a large selection of items they might be looking for as well as the ability to take most items home the day of purchase.”

A friendly staff of 12 is also available to assist customers with any questions or suggestions. While three members of the Heikes family are employed full time at Factory Direct, it is not unusual to see as many as five or six family members helping out for major events.

Factory Direct’s salespeople are not commissioned, which eliminates high-pressure sales and instead allows the customer to feel comfortable when making their decision.

The company carries a line of lift chairs. Photo by Scott Thoma

And the plethora of “SALE” tags throughout the store entices customers from all over the area.

“We always have ongoing sales,” Kevin said. “Furniture inventory is similar to women’s clothing. The styles are constantly changing. So in order to keep up with the style changes, we want to continually move our inventory in order to bring in the new styles.”

The Heikes brothers attend two national marketing events a year in order to learn the new trends and style changes. It might be something as simple as a type of wood finish or a popular color. Or it might be huge changes in furniture styles or the type of materials used in the construction.

Kevin assists a customer who is trying out a massage chair. Photo by Scott Thoma

“You have to keep up with what the demand is,” said Kevin. “The biggest challenge is that the latest in style might not work in certain parts of the county as well as others.”

As Heikes was assisting a couple interested in a massage chair, other customers were perusing the large selection of living room, bedroom, dining room, and home office furniture and accessories. They also carry home entertainment items, as well as mattress, paintings, mirrors, rugs, lamps, tapestries, fireplaces, and much more.

“We have very few items in our store that have been in the line for more than a year or two,” Kevin mentioned. “I’ve been in some stores where I’ve noticed a piece of furniture from a manufacturer that went out of business many years ago. We are pretty quick to put an item on clearance if it is underperforming or discontinued. ”

Inviting furniture groupings are laid out throughout the large store. Photo by Scott Thoma

As an independent furniture retailer Factory Direct is still able to maintain competitive prices with the larger furniture chains because it is part of the Furniture First buying cooperative, a group of over 400 other independent retailers nationwide. That coop, located in Pennsylvania, allows its buyers access to the top brands and the best possible prices.

“I know for a fact that we are competitive in price with any other store in Minnesota,” Kevin said. “It shouldn’t cost you more to shop in your own hometown.”

Mattress 1st is the latest addition to Factory Direct. Photo by Scott Thoma

And Factory Direct is so confident in its prices that they back them with a 125 percent “Best Price Guarantee.”

“We rely on low overhead to maintain our great prices, rather than reducing the quality of our furniture,” said Kevin.

Factory Direct carries over 50 different brand names, including most major brands such as La-Z-Boy, Serta, King Koil, Flexsteel, Best, Ashley, Broyhill, Daniels Amish, and Vaughn Bassett.

Delivery is also available at a reasonable rate to nearly any part of the state.

A wide variety of samples from Flexsteel fabric. Photo by Scott Thoma

Factory Direct, located at 16919 Highway 7 East in Hutchinson, is open Mondays and Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays from noon-4 p.m. (They are closed on Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day). For more information, call 320-587-7283.

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