Local couple make furniture shopping easier, cheaper SanTan Sun News

Local couple make furniture shopping easier, cheaper

Local couple make furniture shopping easier, cheaper
Business
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A Chandler couple’s new business venture is aimed at taking some of the drudgery — and a lot of the markup — out of furniture shopping.

 Furniture Freak is an online furniture company that offers low prices on a wide selection of quality furniture from manufacturers like Ashley Furniture, Leather Italia, Bed Tech, Furniture of America and Lane Furniture.

The business that Shannon Stevens and Penny Briney just launched was inspired by a casual conversation at a Christmas party with a friend who had been in the furniture delivery industry for 35 years.

“We talked at a Christmas party and he was telling me about the huge markups in the furniture business,” said Stevens, a licensed painting contractor. “We knew we had an opportunity with more and more people getting comfortable buying online.”

And thus, myfurniturefreak.com was born.

Stevens and Briney, a principal the last nine years at Iring Elementary School in Mesa, offer free delivery within 20 miles of Chandler, a seven-day return policy, personalized service — and the ability to peruse thousands of individual pieces of furniture from one site.

Stevens said the biggest challenge starting the business was technical — “getting over 15k items to load onto our site correctly from the manufacturers feeds.”

But there’s also the challenge of “explaining to people that we don’t have a showroom but rather we are like the huge online sites but with very personal service and lower prices — a hybrid, if you will, of having the convenience of shopping at home but the ability to have any questions answered by the owner right then.”

“It was tricky finding a small warehouse space that could accommodate a semi-truck getting in and out,” he added. “We did it. We can also store people’s new furniture if they are waiting to move into a new place.”

 With the site serving as a digital showroom, Furniture Freak has no ads “other than for our products.”

Items under 15 pounds are sent to customers directly by the manufacturer, while Stevens personally delivers larger items — free within a  20-mile radius and for a small fee to customers beyond that.

Stevens also is bullish on his business’ pricing.

“If someone sees a product they like from one of the manufacturers, there’s an overwhelming chance our price is the lowest,” he said. “And if it’s not, we will make it the lowest.”

Stevens, who has a bachelor’s degree in business, and Briney, who has a master’s degree in education, are longtime Chandler residents. He’s a Buffalo native who has lived in the city 23 years and she is a Phoenix native. 

As for the name of their business, Stevens said, “We wanted something catchy, easy to remember.”

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he added.  “There are so many boring names out there they all get lost.”

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