William Henderson was assistant manager at Ann Arbor’s previous La-Z-Boy store. He was recruited back to run the new one. | Photo: J. Adrian Wylie

“This has been a long time coming for La-Z-Boy,” says David Patterson, the company’s market sales manager for Michigan, perched on the edge of a recliner in their latest furniture showroom.

A new building on Lohr Rd. that replaces a long-vacant Joe’s Crab Shack, the 15,900-square-foot store is nineteen feet tall with abundant natural light from garage-door-sized windows along all four sides. Patterson says some 100,000 mailers will hit local mailboxes in advance of grand opening festivities scheduled for Feb. 25.

The store’s layout is intentionally uncrowded, to create a sense of how the pieces might look and work within customers’ living space, rather than to maximize the number of different items on display, he explains. Store manager William Henderson adds that customers can special-order pieces with different features, functions, and “unique fabrics that are not just your normal grays, taupes, and beige.”

Key to helping shoppers make the furniture feel at home is the store’s free design consultation—at the store, at home, or remotely. An interior designer learns about a customer’s home, ideas, needs, and budget, then creates a 3D image plan of how the finished space would look.

That technology wasn’t available when La-Z-Boy was last seen in Ann Arbor. Its Briarwood Cir. store closed back in 2009 after operating twelve years. Henderson was an assistant manager there, then worked for other furniture stores before Patterson recently helped recruit the Ypsilanti resident back to the company in preparation for his first store manager job. 

An iconic American brand, La-Z-Boy launched the concept of a chair in which both the back and seat move to recline while providing lumbar support. It’s U.S. Patent 1,789,337, granted in 1931 to two cousins from Monroe who would create quite a comfortable business in creature comfort. La-Z-Boy has long since gone public and has a current market value of about $1.25 billion. World headquarters remain in Monroe, still home base for about 500 workers.

“I felt it then, and I still feel it now, dollar for dollar, pound for pound, our furniture is the best value on the market,” Henderson says. “I can stand behind that and still be able to sleep at night.”  

La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Décor, 3020 Lohr Rd. (734) 680–1776. Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. la-z-boy.com/Detroit/Ann-Arbor