Global Thinking

International Design Center Takes Business to the Next Level

When the new year hit and the holidays passed, Edina-based furniture seller International Design Center (IDC) began a new celebration of its own — its 55th year in business.

The company has a lot to celebrate since it launched in downtown Minneapolis on Jan. 7, 1965. While other businesses focus on selling more of their products online to cater to millennials, IDC has carved its niche in the market by offering a unique in-person buying experience. The contemporary and Scandinavian store features a massive space, with a 50,000-square-foot showroom in Edina and a 20,000-square-foot warehouse attached to it. In fact, it’s an especially popular place on weekends, says co-owner Michael Moller.

“We’ve kind of gone counterintuitive,” he said. “We’ve just gotten bigger. We want people to come in and touch our furniture.”

IDC currently occupies more than double the space it had in Bloomington. It has consistently grown over the years, Moller said. The business moved to its current space in September 2012.

The family-owned company began by selling only Scandinavian models of furniture. But over time it has grown to include other contemporary home furnishings in their lineup of products. Sourced from Norway, Denmark, Italy, Bosnia and Germany, among other places around the country and around the world, IDC carries brands that families have come to know and trust.

In fact, Moller says many of their customers are intergenerational families. They get to know families and then their children, who inherit family home furniture pieces or are ready for their next sofa, dining table or entertainment center.

“When you’re selling quality stuff, it naturally continues down the family chain,” Moller said.

Besides focusing on the in-person customer experience, Moller said another aspect of IDC’s success is its long-lasting vendor relationships. For more than 30 years, they have served as the largest Ekornes display in Minnesota. Ekornes is a Norwegian furniture company known for its high-end recliners that are endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.

The recliners are more of an investment than some other brands, but what you’re getting is a higher-quality product, he said.

“It’s going to last,” Moller said.

Quality products are a huge aspect of IDC’s secret to longevity in business. So is its adaptability. Moller said that the company has held steady over time, despite the massive shifts in technology that have disrupted other industries. He has, however, noticed that bookcases aren’t as popular of a seller with the introduction of e-book readers and tablets. 

Another change in the home furnishing business is the decrease in home offices. With sleek, small and light laptops, more people utilize their couches and small desks as a place to work rather than a home office.

Other products are being invented as technology changes. For example, some lamps and even sofas now include music players and phone chargers.

“Our furniture continues to evolve as technology does,” Moller said.

The massive in-person experience at IDC will give you anything you want and more — from sofas to tables, hutches to entertainment centers, beds to home lighting. As the company enters its 55th year in business, Moller and his family look forward to serving customers and their families for the next 55 years — and beyond.

“We’re here willing to help whenever someone needs their next piece,” he said.

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