19 Aug 2014
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The Logic Behind Woodbury’s ‘Furniture Road’

Patch asked the chair of Globe University’s business department to explain the proliferation of furniture businesses along Hudson Road.

The Logic Behind Woodbury’s ‘Furniture Road’

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of furniture stores along Hudson Road in Woodbury.

Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens in casual conversation recently referred to it as “Furniture Road.”

But why do similar businesses congregate in certain areas of cities?

Patch asked Allison Broeren, chair of the business program at Woodbury’s , about the phenomenon, why it benefits those companies and the impact on consumers.

A quick search shows several furniture businesses along Hudson Road—, , , and —and Becker Furniture World is . Today’s Bed, also on Hudson Road, .

There are two main reasons why this happens, Broeren said. The first is straightforward—it’s simply how the areas are zoned.

The second has to do with what Broeren called “paced uncertainty,” which prompts consumers to purchase things because “they feel they’ve made a choice and they’re empowered to buy that product.”

A symbiotic relationship arises in these instances, despite the increased competition.

“It kind of goes against what you would think,” Broeren said.

It’s simply easier for people to shop around when such businesses are clustered together, and the American consumer culture values choice, Broeren said.

There are other benefits for the consumer. Those businesses will typically price their items similarly, Broeren said, just as service stations across the street from one another will sell gas at the same price.

However, there is a tipping point at which an area can become oversaturated, she said.

Most literature on the subject says 4-6 is a healthy number of similar businesses, Broeren said, and when the number gets too high it can lead to price competition.

“It’s kind of a trade-off,” she said.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think you’re more likely to buy furniture when you can hit five stores within a few miles of each other? Tell us in the comments section.

 

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