KDR Designer Showrooms (11660 Page Service Drive, 314-993-5020) ventured into floor coverings for the first time in January with the introduction of its area rug boutique. In mid-June, the company will unveil another exciting foray into flooring: a partnership with luxury carpet and rug brand Stark. Kevin Kenney, KDR’s president and CEO, recently took time to talk about the partnership and how it enhances the company’s portfolio of brands and offerings in the St. Louis area.
Stark is a family-owned company founded in 1938. They have become the global luxury brand synonymous with the finest carpets and area rugs for high-end residential and hospitality. Stark is to carpet and rugs what brands such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton are to fashion.
How did the partnership come about?
When I bought a Minneapolis company in 2002, it allowed KDR to bring iconic luxury textile and wallcovering brands to our showrooms in St. Louis and Kansas City—markets that [had] always been deemed too small for luxury brands who felt Chicago was close enough for Midwest design professionals to travel to. Since then KDR has become nationally admired, attracting the most prestigious industry brands to our showrooms. Stark is another of these iconic companies to recognize a great new partnership with KDR Designer Showrooms.
Why are you excited about it?
I’m really excited that KDR and the St. Louis design community are legitimized with these kinds of new partnerships. For KDR, Stark will create great synergies with our luxury textile, wall covering, furniture, lighting, window covering, and custom area rug brands.
Did the pandemic and subsequent disruption in business cause any challenges to this?
The pandemic has, of course, impacted every business and individual. Because both of our companies were temporarily shut down, with people working remotely, it really allowed us time to work together and fine-tune the sampling and presentation of product for their space in our showroom.
What will this addition bring to your business?
The addition of Stark now establishes KDR within every interior furnishings category, from the ceiling to the floor. Many luxury consumers are still unaware they are welcome to visit our showroom. Brands like Stark that are seen in the leading national shelter publications are beautifully displayed in our showrooms and can be visited any time by consumers as well as trade professionals.
Tell me about the Stark display.
The focal point of the new Stark area in our showroom will be a proprietary steel display fixture with sliding by-pass panels displaying several hundred Stark exclusives. The only other presentation using this impressive display is in the Stark flagship showroom at the [Decoration & Design] Building in New York City. A Metro East manufacturer of store displays and merchandising hardware specific to our industry is just finishing up this fixture for us and will be installing it in the next few weeks. All together, KDR will have around 2,000 Stark samples to choose from.