When Jay Storey opened Furniture on Consignment in 1989, his mission and the place he accomplished it – a 10,000-square-foot warehouse at Second and Cleveland – were fairly simple.
“I sold furniture for other people,” he says.
Storey now has purchased a 120,000-square-foot distribution center just north of K-96 and Webb Road, which gives him a total of more than 300,000 square feet with his four Wichita stores.
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It’s a long way for him to come.
“This business was started on $5,000 of borrowed money,” Storey says. “That’s all I had to my name.”
His new 10-acre campus, which is where an an aircraft cabinet manufacturer used to be, also will house his company’s administrative offices.
Storey has been distributing furniture from a 40,000-square-foot building he has across from two of his stores near 13th and Oliver along with an extra 20,000-square-foot building north of K-96 and Oliver.
“We love to not call them warehouses,” he says. “We’re not in the storage business.”
Storey is adding 13 dock doors to the building for a total of 20.
“We’ll have everything under one roof,” he says. “We’ll be able to expand our inventory stock levels.”
Storey also demolished a lot of interior walls for an open space and “just a clean supply chain to our consumers.”
Folger & Associates is the architect, and Stephen & Sons Construction is the contractor.
The center will have a new wire-guidance system of retrieving inventory.
“It’s the state-of-the-art type of order picking,” Storey says. “It takes over the steering and everything.”
He says it’s safer and allows for more efficient distribution.
“It allows us to narrow our aisles up and house and stock more inventory,” Storey says.
“This is just another level. … It’ll be so awesome.”
Currently, Storey delivers 3,000 pieces of furniture a week with 10 trucks.
“This new facility will give us the capacity to double our production,” he says. “That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to step right out and do it.”
Storey has more than 150 employees – more than 10 of whom who have been with him for almost 28 years – and credits them for helping him grow through the years and add businesses.
“I’ve surrounded myself with some phenomenal employees.”
Storey bought the new building in July and hopes to open the center by Nov. 10.
“I don’t mess around,” he says. “Working for me is like drinking from a fire hose. We get things done.”
Wichita Furniture delivers to surrounding states, but the company’s key area is within a 150-mile radius.
“Right now we’re local,” Storey says.
He has no immediate plans to change that.
“We’re going to get this thing going rock solid,” he says of the distribution center.
The Ashley stores sell Ashley merchandise only. Storey’s Wichita Furniture & Mattress sells a variety of brands of new furniture.
All of it is more than Storey could have envisioned when he started his consignment business.
“I’m proud of the business,” he says. “We want to be the best furniture company.”
He says preparation is the company’s key to growth and why he’s able to open the distribution center so quickly.
“We prepare heavily,” Storey says.
He says it’s not too much to handle. As Storey likes to say, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”