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While other major retailers struggled, this DFW company just finished the best year in its history

"We're just getting started," the company's CEO said.
Credit: Jake Dean / Dallas Business Journal
Lee Bird, chairman and CEO of At Home, at the company's Farmers Branch location.

DALLAS — At Home, a low-cost retailer for home goods and decorations has plans to hit 600 stores in the next 10 years — more than a 176% increase from its current 222 locations.

Lee Bird, chairman and chief executive of the Plano-based store, said the company has been growing at about 15-20 percent per year for the past eight years, and has already opened four new stores in 2021. Bird said At Home Group Inc. is committed to about 10 percent unit growth per year, with same-store sales growth on top of that.

“When I think about the potential, obviously I get excited. We're only at 222 stores, going to 600 stores,” Bird said. “Our model is unique in that we use the store as the hub business, because our stores are the size of a warehouse. So we have a local warehouse, right in your neighborhood, and that’s how we’re serving the needs of the community.”

At Home (NYSE: HOME) capitalizes on offering a warehouse full of home decor at lower prices than competitors, Bird said. In North Texas, there are currently 11 locations open, and Bird said there’s the capacity for at least 18, though the brand is also growing across the country. He said the company just began its journey in California, but believes it can put 92 stores there, along with adding about 15 more in the tri-state area of New York, where several already exist.

The company usually finds large warehouse locations in shopping centers and renovates concrete floors and shelves, allowing for an inexpensive location acquisition, Bird said. Each store needs about 30-35 employees, which also represents a low labor model in comparison to other warehouse retailers.

“We try to make it a great place to work and grow,” Bird said. “In a day where for most people that don't have a college degree, it’s hard to find a living wage and a career, we've got a career path for folks that can do that and get paid well and build their career with us.”

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