WJ Sloane will open a 'gallery of interior design' at White Flint mall next month that will be the model for a planned series of furniture boutiques.
The store will be staffed by interior decorators and will carry only the top of the line furniture handled by Sloanes - designer lines, antiques, European and Far Eastern antiques and Oriental rugs.
Tiny by furniture store standards at 4,200 square feet, the venture is expected to generate most of its business from special orders, said Frank Mannarino, vice president and general manager of the chain's local stores.
The boutique will be able to draw merchandise from Sloane's regular stores and will have many one of a kind items in stock, he added.
The small store will allow the big furniture retailer to operate in enclosed shopping malls, which furniture stores have traditionally avoided because of the high rents required for a conventional furniture store with its acres of display space.
Mannarino listed the Richmond area, the planned Tyson II shopping center and the proposed Taubman Companies mall at Interstate 66 and Route 50 in Fairfax County as the kinds of places where additional small shops might be located.
The White Flint shop will open Aug. 3 at the Montgomery County mall where I. Magnin, the California specialty store subsidiary of Federated Department Stores, plans to open on Aug. 11.