How one scrappy retail newcomer is making its move in Houston

HOUSTON — It’s only been around for three years, but a new retailer is making headway in this heavily populated market. Bien Home Furniture & Electronics was established in 2019 by Matt Coban, a former furniture wholesaler who jumped into the retail game at the perfect time, just before the pandemic.

Matt Coban
Matt Coban

“It was our luck that, during the pandemic, people had a lot of government incentives. Everybody was home, looking at their furniture and thinking they need to change them. That helped a lot. It was an easy period,” Coban told Furniture Today. “Nowadays, it’s difficult, but it’s going back to normal. We took advantage of that period, and we took advantage of being young and energetic. We really know how to use social media and how to advertise there and target campaigns.”

The retailer, which took its name from the Spanish word for “right” or “good,” opened its first location in September 2019 at South Post Oak Road with a 10,000-square-foot facility, split evenly between showroom and warehouse space. A second location opened later in the Houston suburb of Pasadena with a third joining in May of this year in Katy. A fourth is nearing completion in Spring Branch.

And though there’s plenty of competition in Houston, as it’s loaded with Top 100 retailers and several other notables, Bien stakes out its place in the market by being intentional on social media and in store.

“We’re a small business model. We’ve got 5,000-square-foot storefronts, but we have a large warehouse and try to have everything in stock,” Coban said. “We’re trying to offer same day delivery to our customers. If you get an order in the morning, we try to deliver it the same day. If not, the next day. That’s one of the major actions we’ve been doing. We’re targeting mid-class customers. Those customers don’t have patience for waiting on furniture.”

And while other retailers try to market to multiple price points, Bien has no problem playing in the opening price point tier, as there’s plenty of customers to be had there.

“We differentiated ourselves by the customer portfolio,” Coban said. “Our target at the beginning was not the A+ customers. We made a lot of targeted advertising campaigns through social media.”

While one might think that four stores in three years is aggressive, Coban said Bien is actually off-schedule. He had planned on having five stores up by the end of last year with another five this year.

“Last year, we couldn’t find enough space to lease. This year, only after we opened the new two stores, we came across the recession possibilities, and probably we won’t be opening new stores this year other than the fourth one,” he said.

But, he noted, that plans are in place to boost Bien’s presence in Houston, and beyond.

“Growth mode is primary target. We want to be big in Texas, not only in Houston, but Texas. We’re looking at locations in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas,” he said.

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