What's In Store

Texas subprime retailer Conn’s planning big NC expansion

Texas-based retailer Conn’s just opened its newest Charlotte location in the University area, and the rapidly expanding company plans to open another four locations in North Carolina by the end of the year.

The store, which sells appliances, electronics and furniture, offers financing to customers with subprime credit and sees Charlotte as an untapped market. According to Experian, the average credit score of Charlotteans is 654.

“From a company standpoint, that’s a little above our average,” David Trahan, Conn’s president of retail, told the Observer. “We’ve been received really well and consumers, I think, are enjoying our business model.”

Besides its newest location, Conn’s also operates stores on South Boulevard and in Gastonia. A new store, at 5704 E. Independence Blvd. in the Independence Shopping Center, is slated to open at the end of October, Trahan says.

Other stores to open across the state will be in Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Greensboro. Each of its stores is about 40,000 square feet.

“We’ve already made an investment there. We’re committed,” says Trahan, referring to the retailer’s 350,000-square-foot distribution in Charlotte, which employs about 60 people.

Conn’s “prototype customer,” Trahan says, has a median income of around $50,000, though the business serves all customers, from those who are affluent to those who are credit challenged. The company prides itself on next-day delivery of furniture, Trahan says.

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