For years, officials of Levitz, the giant retail furniture chain, had the Baltimore market covered to the south, west and north with stores in Glen Burnie, Catonsville and Timonium.
"But we weren't covered on the east end of town," recalled Don Porowski, merchandising manager for Levitz's Mid-Atlantic Region.
Porowski said planning for a new store in Fullerton began more than seven years ago, but it wasn't until mid-January that the company's new 40,000-square-foot warehouse showroom opened for business. It's located on Rossville Boulevard, just above the Beltway off of Belair Road.
In the meantime, Levitz officials had decided to close the Timonium store, hoping that customers in that area would patronize either the Catonsville or Fullerton stores. The Timonium store closed last summer and Porowski said most of the office and sales staff there have gotten jobs at the other Baltimore-area Levitz stores.
With a 25,000-square foot showroom and 30 salespeople, the new store has been doing a thriving business since it opened Jan. 12, tapping into the ever-growing White Marsh-Perry Hall market, Porowski said.
"It's a great area," he said. "It's a great location. It's been a huge bright spot in the midst of this war and recession. The place has been crowded since the moment we opened the doors."
Levitz officials, with 119 outlet stores across the nation, were encouraged by the apparent success of the IKEA store at White Marsh Mall.
"They are generally successful wherever they go," Porowski said of IKEA. "So it was no surprise, but it was good to see them do well. If they would have gone into that area and made a bust, we might have worried."
One factor that didn't influence Levitz's decision to open a Fullerton store was the closing of a Levinson & Klein furniture warehouse on Pulaski Highway across from Golden Ring Mall.
"I honestly didn't know that that happened," Porowski said.
The Boca Raton, Fla.-based furniture retailer first entered the Baltimore market in 1974 with its Glen Burnie store. The Catonsville and Timonium locations soon followed.
Levitz also has Maryland outlets in Rockville and Suitland.