Man Of The House

Bed Of Roses?

Stroud was right. He and the $174 million company he founded now sell more linens than the three biggest regional department stores combined wherever the stores go head to head. Though the company's presence is strongest in its home state, the City of Industry, California-based Strouds Inc. now boasts 57 locations in four states. Plus, plans for a nationwide expansion are being carried out with the help of a $37 million public offering made in October 1994.

Strouds' success is no mystery. The stores are a triumph-faultless from every angle. Here, bed and bath ensembles are displayed to show how those striped pillows look with that damask comforter. Salespeople know the relative virtues of 300-thread-count sheets; they answer questions, offer decorating advice and even take special orders. Priced to compete with department store white sales, Strouds merchandise is almost always a bargain-and therefore almost always irresistible.

Behind the well-oiled machinery at every Strouds store are a million finely tuned systems and strategies designed to keep the company running at peak performance. Stroud credits an innovative, dedicated staff with creating the company's complex web of efficiency. But Stroud also maintains that the firm's formula for success remains positively simple: "We like to say that nobody sells better quality linens for less than Strouds," he says. "Living up to that statement is our constant goal."

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Man Of The House.

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