GREENWICH, Conn. — Founded by Cuban immigrants in 1963, Gracious Home was a quintessential Manhattan store.
Beginning in hardware, it was known for getting things that customers asked it to get — be it luxury bedding or plumbing supplies.
“You could buy a lightbulb for $1.99 or a chandelier for $10,000,” said company CEO Rob Morrison. “It was an only-in-New York store and for the first 47 years, it did just fine.”
What happened after that is why Morrison has been brought on board. After filing for bankruptcy in 2010 and again in 2016, the iconic business is turning to the Greenwich businessman to bring them into their next half-century.
The last few years have meant big changes for Gracious Home. The business, which had multiple stores on the East and West Side as well as website sales, has closed four of its five locations, shrinking from 55,000 square feet to about 5,000, Morrison said.
Staffing has been reduced from about 220 employees to just 20, he said.
Moving forward, Morrison said, the company needs to be mindful of New York City rents and keeping an eye on savvy business decisions that make sense for its brand.
With his background at Lumber Liqiudators, Lord & Taylor and Nieman Marcus, Morrison has the retail expertise to refocus the company.
“We’re going to focus on the business that made us well known in the city and on the web,” he said. “We have to play in a place where we compete well. It doesn’t do us any good to carry toasters.”
The firm will focus on bedding, bath, lighting, table linens and more for an increasingly national audience. About 75 percent of the business is done outside of New York City, Morrison said.
To that end, Gracious Home is refreshing its website, which is scheduled to launch any day now at www.gracioushome.com . In mid-March, it announced the reopening of its flagship location at 1210 Third Ave. at 70th Street.
In the end, it’s all about providing what the customer wants, said Morrison.
“Our customers trust us to offer high quality and unprecedented merchandise,” he said. “Gracious Home has spent an enormous amount of time reevaluating what our customers need and want. We pride ourselves on constantly evolving to meet these needs and offer the selection and quality our customers have come to expect from GH.”