OAK BROOK – Describing Oakbrook Center’s newest store PIRCH is no easy feat.
On the surface, the 30,000 square-foot building on the east end of the mall appears to be a plumbing and appliance store.
“The minute we say the words appliance and plumbing, people go like this and [hold their ears],” said PIRCH CEO Jeffery R. Sears. “Then we say, ‘yeah but you don’t understand, you have to see it to understand it.’ ”
PIRCH executives take pride in differentiating themselves from their competition, describing their stores as hands-on, interactive showrooms that both educate and entertains customer.
Throughout the store are working appliances like refrigerators and ovens, as well as running faucets and shower heads that customers can control with an iPad.
“It’s hysterical if you come in here on a Saturday and just watch adults,” Sears said. “There’s some massive amazement with water faucets, like they’ve never seen them before. But I think it helps visually, and it has a real calming effect.”
Unlike water faucets in other appliance stores, the faucets at PIRCH are mobile and magnetic, and guests can attach each faucet to a countertop to see how it works. Sears said guests frequently get in the empty bathtubs because the “only way to buy a tub is to get in it.”
During showroom tours, each customer is treated to a free drink at the Bliss Cafe located in the center of the store.
“We believe when anyone comes in here, whether they’re buying or not, it’s a our privilege and we should treat them like a guest in our home,” Sears said.
He added that “living joyfully is one of the themes throughout the store – there are minimal price tags, sale signs or product descriptions.
Sears also referred to PIRCH as a “memory factory,” where guests could come and turn dreams into reality.
“No one until now ever went, ‘hey it’s Saturday let’s go hang out in an appliance store,’ until now,” he said.
Several displays are also located throughout the store, including a kitchen area with live cooking demonstrations and the “sanctuary,” where customers control shower heads with iPads and take a peek at wet and dry saunas.
Founded in 2009, the Oak Brook Center PIRCH will be the first PIRCH to open outside of California. The grand opening will be held all day Saturday.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be in the Chicago area and we are actually humbled that General Growth invited us into this center because it’s quite iconic and known worldwide,” he said.