In celebration of its 27th anniversary, Country Willow Furniture, located in Bedford Hills, New York, boasts approximately 30,000 square feet of space spread over several showrooms, making it accessible to a wide range of consumer tastes. Even though the business began by selling rustic furniture, visitors will now find a variety of styles, carefully chosen from a number of mostly domestic suppliers, to suit every need and taste.
Since Cori and Roy Estrow first launched Country Willow over two and a half decades ago as a 1,000-square-foot furniture store in Katonah, the furniture store has made substantial upgrades.
The above video commercial for Country Willow was created in 2014 and features both Roy and Cori Estrow, the founders of Country Willow.
“After Roy passed away in 2018, we stayed loyal to the original country and country French styles,” says Michael Leibowitz, the company’s CEO. “And then, as our space increased, we added a wide variety of additional styles, including more transitional ones. Right now, we have a good balance of each. The store still carries some country-style furniture. People occasionally mistakenly believe that we exclusively sell country furniture because of our name, but in reality, country style furniture makes up the smallest portion of what we actually have on our floor. We have an abundance of transitional contemporary furniture as well as more recent, in-vogue types. Mid-century modern, Scandinavian, and other current trends are all well-represented on our floor.”
Leibowitz claims that Country Willow’s timeless commitment to quality and service, combined with Cori’s ongoing participation in the store’s leadership, offers it an advantage over the larger furniture retailers. The way that Country Willow is operated as an employee-owned company and the retail experience it offers set it apart from its rivals. (Country Willow is run under an employee stock ownership format, meaning that staff members are the company’s legal owners.)
The in-store experience at Country Willow is rare today in this era of internet ordering and industrial production. According to Leibowitz, the ongoing care that clients receive in-person and over the phone from Country Willow staff makes clients feel like family.
The designers and salespeople at the store help customers find pieces they can’t wait to take home, but their real specialty is getting to know each individual customer – including their likes and dislikes – and even helping them realize their vision through unique custom furniture offerings and comprehensive, complimentary design services.
According to Leibowitz, “Custom has always been the specialty at Country Willow. The idea of having lots of fabrics to choose from, different sizes of the pieces, and the ability to choose the pillows and the firmness of the cushions that you want. Since everything is designed to create a personalized experience, we are able to provide some value-added assistance to those customers who truly want to make everything work together.”
Customers seeking whole room, house, or apartment design schemes and end-to-end layouts instead of merely buying furniture to fill a space may find value in the store’s array of complimentary design services.
In order to help customers better visualize the furniture and how it will fit into their home, Country Willow can even do a home visit, measure a given area, and generate a 3D model of the space after customers visit the store and confirm the items and styles they want. Additionally, clients can bring in their own room measurements and images to give the designer a more accurate sense of the area.
After that, customers can decide if they want a designer to assist them in tying the entire room together by incorporating accessories like chandeliers, mirrors, window treatments, rugs, lighting, and artwork from Country Willow’s extensive selection.
The business has always catered to the traditional home, but with the store’s evolution to appeal to a broader cross section of users, Country Willow has become increasingly more accessible as well to a younger audience whose preferences lean slightly less toward country and who may be living in smaller quarters.
“Isn’t our slogan, furniture for life?” says Leibowitz. “Our goal is to offer furniture that is both high-quality and designed to a high standard, and we offer a range of prices for our products. To get people started, we do have some apartment-sized items at apartment-friendly pricing. Then again, there are other considerations. Though we strive to be inclusive, I believe that our capacity to create unique designs for things provides us with a slight advantage over other furniture sellers. We’re not a bargain store, after all. We offer furnishings of a far higher caliber. Since many people travel from New York City to shop in this area, I believe our appeal is rather broad and that it ranges from those who are budget cautious to those who are well-informed about what they desire.”
According to Leibowitz, “Mid-century modern is very popular right now. The sleeker modern style mixed with contemporary design is something I believe we’re going to see more of. On the other hand, performance fabrics are becoming more and more popular in the market. These fabrics allow individuals with regular lives – including families, children, pets, and other household members – to purchase lovely, high-quality furniture without having to worry about accidents or spills.”
Leibowitz is confident in the niche that Country Willow fills in the local furniture market, even in the face of recent years’ supply-chain bottlenecks, customers who expect Amazon-like immediate supply & delivery, and competition from businesses that can cut costs at the expense of quality.
“There’s something about this store that you just don’t get from other experiences when buying furniture for your home.”