WAUSAU - After plans for a movie theater at the struggling Wausau Center Mall fell through in 2017, a new business opens there this summer.
Following launches in La Crosse and Eau Claire, HOM Furniture (pronounced 'home') will open its 17th location in Central Wisconsin Friday. The Minnesota-based company also operates stores in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The retailer wanted to launch a third Wisconsin location as far back as 2016 when it submitted a proposal for the vacant space Sears once occupied. Micon Cinemas ultimately won that bid, but the theater it wanted to build did not come to fruition.
HOM is now putting the final touches on the nearly 100,000 sq. ft. showroom where the Younkers department store used to be.
"We're happy to be here in Wausau, it took us a long time, we put a lot of energy into it," said HOM Furniture CEO Rod Johansen. "Hopefully, we can reward the people of Wausau with great furniture and furniture values."
Johansen says you'll find things at HOM you won't find anywhere else. The store is the exclusive upper Midwest distributor of HGTV star Joanna Gaines' furniture line, Magnolia Home. People can also find Rachel Ray Home and HOM's in store-brand, Thomas Cole, at the retailer.
HOM's showroom is divided into several distinct galleries. In addition to shops for dining, office and living room furniture, people can find accessories like pillows and lamps at "The Market," rugs at "World of Rugs," furniture for city living at "Uptown Urban Furnishings," heirloom-quality pieces in "Fine Furniture," furniture for children at "Kid's Life" and "HOM Baby," furniture for different seasons at "Seasonal Concepts," handmade hardwood furniture at "Amish Craftsmen," value furniture at "Bargain Shop," and bedding at "Sleep Express.
People can also take a break from shopping at HOM's Cookie Shop and enjoy complementary treats.
HOM originally began as a waterbed retailer and expanded to different kinds of bedding over time.
Johansen says HOM still specializes in bedding and the retailer was even honored as Tempuredic's dealer of the year in 2018. Johansen says he wanted HOM to develop that same specialization across different types of furniture.
HOM has up to a dozen buyers who specialize in buying different products. Johansen says there are always interior design specialists on site to help people shop and develop their homes.
Johansen sees HOM as a one stop shop.
"Everything we have, we show a fair amount of selection so that you can make a good easy decision in one spot," said Johansen.
The Wausau Center HOM store is currently hiring close to 15 sales and support positions
. You can see store hours here