TreeHouse

TreeHouse

Location: 4477 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78745
Websitetreehouseonline.com
Description: Self-described as a “smart home improvement store,” TreeHouse is a big-box retailer serving environmentally conscious customers in the Austin area. It claims to have the widest selection of non-toxic and “smart” products in Central Texas.
Notes:
Retail location occupies 25,000 square feet in the West Gate Shopping Center.
Products divided into 17 different categories, from Outdoor Living to Air Quality.
Education stations in each department help customers to make more informed (and conscientious) purchases.
TreeHouse’s “Product Filter” is used to screen all available goods in the store, based on four criteria: health, performance, sustainability, and corporate responsibility.
The “Idea Center” provide further opportunities for demonstration products and the sustainable concepts behind their design.
Unusual for a home improvement store, TreeHouse also has a cafe serving Fair Trade & organic Progress Coffee.
Conclusion: At first glance, it is easy to view TreeHouse with a healthy dose of skepticism—not for the claims made of their products, but rather for the long-term sustainability of their business model. Paradoxically, the same reasons that the store is especially inviting (open spaces, diverse/niche products, and gratuitous signage/displays) may prove to be the same reasons it struggles to achieve profitability. On the other hand, the owners may be rewarded for their ambition, having managed to adapt the familiar (and unsustainable) big-box model into a smart living store—attracting the casual/curious shopper at an unprecedented scale.

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