When Jennifer Henry was getting ready to have her home’s basement remodeled, she was referred by her neighbor to a design consultant at Fairfield Galleries in Fort Wayne.
“I had never been to Fairfield Galleries before because I was under the impression that it was expensive, but I was pleasantly surprised after visiting,” she says. “They have something for all types of budgets. We were able to find some very nice pieces of furniture that fit well in our house. We have three young children and I knew I needed something durable with fabrics that could withstand kids.”
Henry’s selections are right on par with what is trending in today’s furniture and design market. Don Polley, owner of Fairfield Galleries, and Arianna Vonderohe, store manager/sales/design, say over the years not only has furniture evolved, but so has the role it plays in our lives.
“This year, the styles of choice are more casual,” says Vonderohe. “Most people no longer have a formal living room or dining room. Our customers lean toward pieces that are big, squishy and comfortable. One of the main trends right now is exploring the different types of fabrics we offer. Solid colors are really popular and so are durable, kid-friendly fabrics. We also sell lamps, artwork and accessories, and that’s the finishing touch – the icing on the cake. Because a lot of the furniture fabrics are solid colors today, adding accessories is the way to jazz that up and bring out some patterns and other colors.”
In addition to loving the quality and look of the furniture, Henry was especially impressed with how the staff at Fairfield assisted her after she noticed a slight flaw in one of the sofas she had purchased.
“It was a minor glitch with the way the fabric had been sewn and it wasn’t Fairfield’s fault – it was the manufacturer’s mistake,” she says.
“I called Fairfield and within a couple of days, they sent someone out to repair the issue and afterward you couldn’t tell there had been a problem. Fairfield made it right and I was very thankful for that. Their customer service is wonderful.”
“My goal is to make every customer happy,” says Polley. “We’ve had people contact us 10 years after purchasing furniture from Fairfield and ask about having something repaired or replaced, and we will do that.”
Polley has been in the furniture business since he was 12 years old. His grandfather, Wilber Polley, opened the business in Fort Wayne in 1945. The store had three different locations before moving to its current address.
Don bought the business from his parents in 1988. His mother still works at the store.
“We are unique in our industry for a number of reasons. First, everyone on our sales staff is also an interior designer,” says Polley. “We have more than 200 years of combined experience among our design staff alone. We have people here who have been in the business for decades and they still love it. Plus, we can customize your furniture.”
Polley says customizing furniture isn’t any more expensive than buying furniture from a big manufacturer.
“Our main craftsman is a one-man shop, so his overhead is very low. It’s the same pricing, but you get exactly what you want. You can pick your wood, the fabrics, sizing and all the details. Of course, we also carry a fairly large inventory at our store and customers are welcome to buy something off the floor. We offer free delivery within 50 miles of our store, but we will deliver anywhere. We’ve gone to Indianapolis, Chicago, even Florida.”
Polley says they carry around 30 different lines of furniture, including Bernhardt, Rowe, Hancock & Moore, Lexington, C.R. Laine and Taylor King.
“When you visit our store, you’ll find that you’re not just there to buy something; you’re there for an experience,” says Vonderohe. “We offer design services and work one-on-one with our customers. We will go out to their homes as well and work closely with them to get an idea of the space they’re working with, the lighting and existing furniture. That helps us figure out how we can best serve them. We don’t just want people to come to our store one time – we want them to keep coming back for years. We carry top-of-the-line brands to mid-range brands and we work with customers to keep things within their price range. We’re also not at all high pressure. Each customer has their own taste and specific needs, and we truly respect that.”
“Almost all of our business is repeat and referral,” says Polley. “We have a lot of longtime customers and we enjoy the relationships we’ve had with them over the years. People come into our store because of referrals; their mom or best friend comes here and always has a good experience. That’s the best kind of advertising you can get.”
Polley cautions people against turning to online companies to purchase furniture.
“It’s a guarantee that eventually the customer will be unhappy,” he says. “Oftentimes the items are overpriced, and you can’t tell what it’s going to be like based on the small picture you see on a device. We have a fair representation of all of our suppliers’ products. We know how they’re going to hold up for the consumer and we have people who can help if issues arise.”
Keeping all of that in mind, Henry says she is sold on the Fairfield experience.
“Every time we get a compliment from someone about our basement, I always credit Fairfield and the consultant who helped us. I’m sure there will be furniture needs in our future and I will definitely stick with the Fairfield team.”
Phone: (260) 489-5526