Lots in Store

Lots in Store

Jordan’s Furniture likes to go big. Its enormous sign, backed by a collage of actual chairs arranged like a tiled computer wallpaper, looms over new arrivals. To the right, another huge sign informs you of the presence of “It,” purportedly the largest indoor ropes course in the world.

When the Long Wharf branch of the regional chain opened in 2015, much of the buzz concerned the entertainment wing of the building. The ropes course, which carries tiered admission fees and also features zip lines, climbing areas and catwalks, was hailed alongside a “liquid fireworks’ show set to music, plus pizza and ice cream concessions. The neon-lit cavern, with soaring ceilings and a kinetic soundtrack, seems designed to induce maximum excitement in children and, as the opening press coverage revealed, no few adults.

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But what about the furniture?

At about 160,000 square feet, the showrooms occupy more than 80% of the layout. Their soundtrack is less high-tempo pop and more Michael Bublé, their lighting less cotton candy and more wine and cheese.

Youth and adult bedrooms each have their own section, while, in another area, dining room tables gleam as far as the eye can see. Next to most display couches, a wall or binder presents a near-infinity of coverings to choose, from fabric to leather to kid-proof materials. Sometimes you can even choose the plushness of your cushions. Meanwhile, according to the website, there are over 125 unique room scenes in the Long Wharf store, and according to Heather Copelas, the parent company’s marketing and communications manager, Jordan’s curates its inventory from going to trade shows around the country.

Many rooms incorporate themes, bringing together furniture and objets d’art that might inspire shoppers to create such a scene at home, including:

• a living room display whose classical-but-not motif incorporates neon-washed photographs of statuary overlooking Greek-style busts and coordinated urns;

• a room replete with globes of different sizes;

• an equestrian-themed space, where the dominating feature is a wooden horse statue (retailing for $2999) that stands with eyes wide open and ears pricked forward;

• a dining room area with shipping pallet-lined walls, copious Edison bulbs and hanged etchings illustrating the bulbs’ workings; and

• an office area set up like an oversized wunderkammer, or curiosity cabinet, with prints of chemical elements hung on the wall, dark wooden desks and shelves of decorative jars with labels like “Oil of Cloves” and “Witch Hazel.”

This Jordan’s is one of six stores in the chain and the newest. They mostly follow the same plan:, big, polished white-and-purplish exteriors and interiors that combine shopping and entertainment. Two locations have IMAX theaters, and three, like the Long Wharf location, have water and light shows.

Given the contemporary vibes and small number of stores, it’s surprising to learn that Jordan’s was founded in Massachusetts in 1918. Given the modernist architecture, it’s less surprising that the building where the New Haven Jordan’s sits has a history too. Built by clothier Gant in 1971 at the tail end of that company’s heyday, the New Haven Register moved in a decade later, staying for 33 years.

Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that walking around the building today feels something like browsing a museum, and not just because your eyes and legs are tired by the end. Even if you’re not in the market for an armoire, it’s fun and enlightening to see a patio bar cart made from the front of a weathered tuk tuk, a South Asian-style taxi.

Jordan’s Furniture
40 Sargent Dr, New Haven (map)
Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm
(203) 780-9199

Written and photographed by Anne Ewbank.

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