“In 2008 I hired John Vidaurre as the first full-time employee at Graystone Furniture & the sofa gallery. Although we opened in 2002, it was when John joined me that Graystone Furniture became a full-service furniture store. We bought a delivery trailer and no longer made deliveries looking like a scene from The Beverly Hillbillies!
“It has been a learning process to accept that I couldn’t do it alone. John has taken on more responsibility over the years and now shares in the daily operation. Two years ago, Janis Grays joined us in the showroom on a part-time basis and, this year, Steven Rodriguez joined our team.”
– Jude Gochee, owner
Graystone Furniture & the sofa gallery
Staying current with the styles that her customers want — and how they fit into home design trends in Taos — is what keeps Jude Gochee and her growing staff on their toes at Graystone Furniture & the sofa gallery.
One such trend has been the rapid growth in short-term rentals in and around Taos. Spurred in part by the multimillion-dollar improvements at Taos Ski Valley, more and more second-home owners have put their houses into vacation rental pools to make a little money while they aren’t there. And, Graystone has gotten lots of business with those homeowners who need to upgrade in order to attract renters.
Short-term renters want their temporary digs to represent the rustic Northern New Mexico style. Rustic luxury works for some homes in Taos, while a “lodge look” or Southwest flavor may appeal to others. Everyone is an individual, Jude points out, and have their own preferences. But for those looking to rent, short-term, the décor has to reflect where it is.
“They expect something that says, ‘I’m in New Mexico,’” she said. “You can’t leave your old furniture in there and expect that to work. These renters want a high-quality setup.”
In order to know that customers want — and to stock accordingly — requires a staff that prides itself in serving the people who come into the store at 815 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Janis Crays, John Vidaurre and Jude make home furnishing shopping both informative and productive. They insist that customers take as long they want, and that the staff stands ready to answer any questions.
“We offer free local delivery and set up, and service everything we sell,” she added.
Sometimes, a comment by a customer leads to a whole new line at Graystone. Acting on something a customer mentioned, Jude “test drove” a power recliner in 2010. Six years later, the power recliners and sofas by Best Home Furnishings and Flexsteel outsell anything else in the store by a ratio of 15-to-1. And, they are guaranteed for three to five years by the manufacturer.
A reclining chair or sofa in a living room not only offers more comfort but also creates more space as foot stools and coffee tables are no longer needed. Jude believes that today’s clientele is more health conscious than ever, and the adjustable seating in a recliner promotes healthier posture while sitting.
“Everyone is living longer,” she said. “They want to sit properly and relax with an eye for staying healthier longer. That means no more slouching and twisting. You can put your legs up, still sit up and keep your spine aligned while relaxing.”
Today’s buyers appreciate quality and unique, one-of-a-kind furnishings. Graystone has responded by expanding interior lines from Best, Marshfield, FlexSteel and Natuzzi. Ipe, sustainable hardwood, outdoor furniture from Jensen, and 100 percent recycled plastic from CRS plastic lead the way for quality outdoor living. Outdoor living furniture and the line of heirloom quality reclaimed wood furniture, from Green Gables, are the fastest growing areas at Graystone — proving that people here want quality and are into recycling.
The store is one of two Gold Dealers for Best in New Mexico and one of seven of the company’s Gold Dealers in the Southwest. “That means we sell more than anybody in Santa Fe & Albuquerque!!!
“People get excited when they find they can buy in Taos what they couldn’t in their hometown,” Jude said.
Anyone who regularly shops at Graystone knows that the inventory changes frequently — and the weekly specials are continual. The price of everything in the quarter-acre showroom begins at 20 percent off retail, and the longer an item sits on the floor, the lower the price goes.
“This is not a museum,” Jude said with a wry smile. “These pieces don’t get better with age. That’s why we discount and we offer package discounts so it moves. Sometimes, it’s about cash flow. If you hit me up at the right time, you will definitely get a deal.”
Jude wants to keep Graystone Furniture & the sofa gallery as a local operation catering to our area; as such, she only advertises locally and concentrates on giving people who own homes around the Enchanted Circle what fits their lifestyles.
“We are an independent, female-owned small business, not a chain store,” said Jude who, in 2002, opened her first store in Ranchos de Taos. “This is my home away from home. Come in with a smile and a friendly hello, and you’ll be treated like you’re in my home! Fourteen years and two new hips have led to a lot of lasting friendships with our customers. Having customers become friends is the real reward!”
GRAYSTONE Furniture & the sofa gallery
815 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
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