ACI Design Studio to close

WICHITA — After not quite five years in business, ACI Design Studio is closing.

Former Abode Home manager Brent Dorrah had the idea for Abode Commercial Interiors and convinced Transitions Group owner Bill Jackson to start the company around the time Abode converted to an event center. The upscale furniture store is in Jackson’s Domestic Design Building at 1425 E. Douglas.

“The store’s been improving each year, and as a matter of fact, we’ve had our best year ever this year,” Dorrah says.

However, he says, “We’ve still struggled.”

Dorrah says it’s been a challenging period in the industry, and Internet sales are now more popular than ever.

“We’ve just struggled to kind of get towards profitability basically each year,” he says. “I don’t think there’s any one reason.”

Dorrah says “that’s the sad reason” behind the closure. There’s a happier reason, though.

Transitions Group also owns Furniture Options and ExecuStay.

“They’re doing extremely well,” Dorrah says. “They’re experiencing a lot of growth. … Fiscally, it makes more sense for us to focus our energies on those businesses.”

Furniture Options rents furniture packages, such as for workers who need a temporary place to stay.

ExecuStay is a corporate housing provider. It doesn’t own apartments but helps executives with move-in ready places with furniture and utilities already hooked up.

They have “the most potential for growth,” Dorrah says. “There’s more profit in them.”

That compares to ACI where Dorrah says “we work really hard every year, and at the end or every year, there’s not really a lot of reward there.”

Dorrah will become director of purchasing and sales for Furniture Options once ACI, which is having a going-out-of-business sale, closes.

“We’re going to try … to move on by the end of this month.”