Steve and Lori Leveen began simply enough. One night, while both were reading in a dimly lit room, they made an age-old — and old-age — request: “Let there be light.”
And there was. Thanks to halogen lighting and a home-based business the Leveens created in 1987.
Soon the husband and wife were offering all matter of, what they called, “Tools for Serious Readers,” including upscale furniture, leather goods for desks, notebooks and carriers, stationery and quality pens in their Levenger (a combination of Steve Leveen's and Lori Granger's last names) catalog business.
Now, they're building a foundation for a chain of bricks-and-mortar stores. In addition to the 15,000-square-foot store at their Delray Beach, Fla., headquarters, this summer Levenger opened a 4,000-square-foot store at Simon Property Group's Copley Place in Boston. It has two other “stores-within-a-store” at Marshall Field's in Chicago. In November, Levenger will be opening a shop within Books & Books in Florida.
The company is looking for more locations in malls (optimum space would be 3,200 square feet), in other department stores and as stand-alone units, according to Mark Korros, senior vice president of sales and marketing. Initially, Levenger is focusing on New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., where many of their catalog customers live.
“It would offer them the convenience of shopping at a store, while they can still order from the catalog or online service,” says Korros. “The best customers are multichannel shoppers.