It may be a risky venture to open a home furnishing business during a housing downturn, but for Bart Manning, it works.
Manning opened Tuskers Home Store in 2008, during a recession which he calls “the worst in U.S. history.”
But as a testament to its success, four years later the business is not just still around, it is expanding.
“I looked at it as an opportunity,” said Manning of opening the original store. “We’ve grown like gangbusters.”
Recently, Manning saw another opportunity with the closing of the former Resort Interiors showroom. He purchased the large showroom-warehouse space, and in late August opened its doors as an outlet shop to sell high-quality discontinued furniture. The space will also open as a patio furniture showroom, in about a month.
Tuskers patio store will carry the “Rolls Royce” of patio furniture, Tommy Bahama and Lane Venture.
Manning says it is hard to find anything in between expensive and downright cheap furniture, but he seeks to meet his clients in the middle with reasonably priced patio furniture.
There’s such a disparity in prices,” Manning said. He added that most people think there is not much available in the middle, but that “there is an in-between.” And Tuskers will be able to offer a great selection of reasonable, quality patio furniture.
“It will be a well-priced outdoor line,” Manning said of the furniture, which will be priced comparably to Sam’s Club and Costco.
The current Tuskers showroom is at 11394 U.S. 98 on the north side of the highway in Miramar Beach, about a block away from the outlet. The original 20,000-plus square-foot main showroom will also be expanding with a contemporary furniture store next door.
In addition to carrying vast amounts of beautiful designer furniture, Tuskers designers also offer complimentary design services to clients.
“It’s part of the package,” he said. “We’re just happy you’re doing business with us.”
Manning said it is this cultivation of personal relationships that contributed to the business’s success and growth over the years. An important aspect of their continued success is hard work, and Manning isn’t scared to get his own hands dirty. He said the store has designers to cater to clients, but for big jobs, such as the redesign of Sandestin’s Bayside Inn to Le Ciel, he undertakes the project personally.
“I think that’s really helped us grow in the market,” he said.