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Design Stores

Shelter Furniture

Posted by James Buttivant / Posted on October 24, 2010

Shelter Furniture TorontoShelter Furniture is a new store in the Eglinton-Lawrence area that's sure to find itself in good company amongst the many design, kitchen, bathroom and home re-modeling stores around Caledonia Road and Glencairn Avenue. The store sits in a newly remodeled warehouse and is brightly lit, well organized and easy to shop.

Shelter Furniture TorontoThey don't have a catalogue or flyer and that their website isn't ready yet - a bit of a bummer because there is just so much furniture that it's actually hard to take it all in with just one visit. But, practically everything in the showroom is beautiful, if a little contemporary, and will look really sharp in almost any modern home.

Shelter Furniture TorontoWhat I most liked was the large collection of dining room tables and chairs. Too many times, furniture stores overlook these pieces because they can start to all look the same, but Shelter Furniture has enough variety to making choosing the perfect piece enjoyably difficult.

Shelter Furniture TorontoShelter Furniture TorontoAmong my favourite pieces are the extendable frosted white glass dining table with brushed metal base ($999) and the Dakota dining table with clear glass top and wooden "swoosh" base ($1599). My must-have table is the strikingly cool Opio bleached pine table at 110' for $1999. It's big enough to fit a family for holiday dinners but cute enough for even the most intimate of breakfasts.

Shelter Furniture TorontoThe dining chairs are also quite varied and I like how they go beyond the typical high backed, armless leather chair. They have quite a few straight-back chairs, some with arms and some with whicker in the back or the seat.

Shelter Furniture TorontoShelter Furniture also has a limited selection of complete bedroom sets. Unless you're 12 years old, no one really needs a complete bedroom set. But, sometimes, it's nice to have things that match. So, I like that I could pick up a couple of really sharp nightstands and a handsome four or six-drawer dresser that would go together and not look like I inherited them from my childhood bedroom.

Shelter Furniture TorontoShelter Furniture TorontoI also dig the selection of rugs for sale. Now, some of them are really ugly. But others, including some Persian-style ones, are understated, mature and could really help bring a room together. The prices and sizes are varied, but average about 8 x 5 for about $1399.

Shelter Furniture TorontoThe various couches, sofas and side chairs are also really hip, contemporary and, most importantly, comfortable. I almost didn't want to get up from a huge Plunge sectional sofa that was upholstered in deep gray corduroy and covered in enormous pillows ($2199). A very masculine, almost industrial, leather sofa available in white, brown or black full grain leather ($3498) also caught my eye.

Shelter Furniture TorontoFor some reason, Shelter Furniture also sells quite a few purses and handbags. It's weird, a bit jarring and probably unnecessary. I can't imagine too many shoppers in the market for a couch and side chair also deciding to pick up a little handbag while they're there. But, Shelter Furniture does have a moderately sized collection of glassware and decor items, including some old-timey Mad-Men style office products. I liked the old-fashioned typewriters, staplers, desk lamps and in-and-out trays, but was dismayed to see them, for the most part, unpriced.

Shelter Furniture TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

58 Comments

belvedere / October 25, 2010 at 06:44 pm
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god this furniture looks awful. stark, uncomfortable, looks flimsy. looks like 70's deco meets bauhaus garbage. pass.
infernalmachine / October 25, 2010 at 07:01 pm
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belvedere, are you high? it's called modern, and none of it looks that flimsy. i've seen way worse at the brick/leon's.

Marc / October 29, 2010 at 02:33 pm
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Saw this place over the weekend and was more than unimpressed. Too bad. Oh well. Plenty of other amazing stores in the city.
Matt / October 29, 2010 at 03:33 pm
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GREAT store bought a sofa made by G ROMANO in Montreal there over the weekend-there's nothing like this in Toronto, since the original upcountry went bankrupt.
Way better than Elte.
Cynthia / October 29, 2010 at 03:38 pm
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Great store! I agree with Matt-nothing like this in toronto-prices were not cheap but better than expected for the quality,were going to order a sofa this weekend
Turtle Neck / October 30, 2010 at 06:43 pm
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This place is huge and has lots of nice stuff. Mostly contemporary with a bit of "weird" stuff too. Lots of great wood furniture.
Steve / November 2, 2010 at 08:16 pm
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"Way better than Elte". "...there's nothing like this in Toronto". Are you kidding???

Please. Yet another in the style of Urban Barn / EQ3 / BLVD on Queen. Change the sign over the door and you wouldn't know which of the three you were in.

Matt / November 3, 2010 at 10:53 am
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Uh steve-the 3 stores you listed have furniture only from CHINA-2 out of 3 are a chain, and mostly crap-at least shelter shows canadian product-which is what we bought
furniture guy / November 20, 2010 at 01:46 pm
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This place looks like crap, lol,,, why would anyone even waste their time making the trip. Anyways I already know a place to get this furniture at good prices... it's called IKEA.
leo / November 27, 2010 at 03:24 pm
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Furniture Guy... R U KIDDING ME...... first you are no furniture guy because no "furniture guy" would recommend IKEA for furniture. second you are making judgment with out visiting the place. I went there and fell in love with some of the unique pieces. you will never find anywhere else.... so my suggestion is to visit the place before you open your mouth... p.s. the staff was real cool and not pushy.
Chris / November 28, 2010 at 08:59 pm
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awesome store! staff is super friendly and great product for the price. definitely unique to the city.
Chris / November 28, 2010 at 09:00 pm
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love it.... super friendly staff and great product for the price. bought an italian-made sofa there recently. love the huge wood tables at the back too.
Chris / November 28, 2010 at 09:02 pm
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sorry for the double post, didn't think it went through the first time.
Neil / November 30, 2010 at 08:10 pm
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Apparently this post has brought out a bunch of people who are either idiots or trolls - or both.

Stopped by this place last weekend, and was thoroughly impressed. The store is huge and well laid out (a concept a lot of furniture stores in the city have trouble with). Sales staff were very friendly.

Most importantly, the products are great. People putting Shelter in the same paragraph as Ikea and EQ3 have obviously never visited this place and seen the stuff they sell. Most of it is made in Canada or the U.S., is custom-manufactured when you order it (which means it takes 6-8 weeks to be delivered, but doesn't need to be assembled and doesn't come in a box that says 'Made in China'. And much of the wood furniture is real, solid high-quality (maple, oak) wood. Toronto needs more stores like this so we can move away from the crap-fest of disposable goods sold at the other places mentioned above.
JG / December 9, 2010 at 05:26 pm
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I just bought a sectional from Shelter - made in China, and in fact, quite a lot of their selection is made in China - and its beautiful. Cheaper than you'd pay for a Canadian or US-made sofa for sure, but that's how you get the design you want for a cheaper price. They definitely don't hide the fact they sell Chinese goods. I am from Hong Kong so I know those bags they are selling for $199 can be bought in Asia for $20 tops. Hey, they know how to curate well and they also sell some higher end furniture with great design.

They do deserve to be compared to EQ3 and the like given that they sell a good quantity of items made in Asia, Mexico, etc.
JG / December 9, 2010 at 05:27 pm
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p.s. no way can you compare Shelter to ELTE!
joan bellins / December 23, 2010 at 07:08 pm
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what a bunch of over priced junk.
Veronica Cochrane / December 24, 2010 at 11:52 am
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It's rare in this economy to find store owners/sales staff so completely disinterested in serving customers... but Shelter takes the cake. From the slow moving sales person to the "too cool to care" owner... we were apparently invisible. After purchasing a $700 table, driving it home across the city, moving it up three flights of stairs, unpacking and partially assembling, we discovered that a section of the table was faulty. Shelter's response? "Hey, these things happen". At this point we had to pack it all up, return it, and repeat the whole process with a replacement.

With this kind of attitude towards customers I doubt Shelter will remain in business for long.
Punkalamod / January 4, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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I was in the area and dropped by Shelter. The staff was very friendly and not pushy or in your face. They have a large, nicely displayed selection of modern living, dining and bedroom furniture at very reasonable prices. In fact, HST is inclusive in the price until this Sunday. I was just browsing, but I'd definitley go back. Dogs are also welcome.
Punkalamod / January 4, 2011 at 02:33 pm
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I was in the area and dropped by Shelter. The staff was very friendly and not pushy or in your face. They have a large, nicely displayed selection of modern living, dining and bedroom furniture at very reasonable prices. In fact, HST is inclusive in the price until this Sunday. There are a lot more styles to choose from than IKEA and the prices would be much higher at Elte.

I was just browsing, but I'd definitley go back. Dogs are also welcome.

Punkalamod / January 4, 2011 at 02:34 pm
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I was in the area and dropped by Shelter. The staff was very friendly and not pushy or in your face. They have a large, nicely displayed selection of modern living, dining and bedroom furniture at very reasonable prices. In fact, HST is inclusive in the price until this Sunday. There are a lot more styles to choose from than IKEA and the prices would be much higher at Elte.

I was just browsing, but I'd definitley go back. Dogs are also welcome.

Forshame / January 13, 2011 at 10:17 am
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It's great if you don't mind buying knockoffs, I guess. Invest in the real thing.
Mihran / January 18, 2011 at 09:03 pm
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Dropped by Shelter while in Toronto earlier this week. I own a similar, if smaller store in Ottawa.
I was greeted by a manager and then had a 90 minute walk-through with one of the owners. I was thoroughly impressed with their collection, as well as their product knowledge. Good mix of import and Canadian/American pieces; attractive price points and well laid out. They even have their own private label collection, which is pretty cool.

Speaking as a fellow independent store owner, I can say that it is not easy to source modern furniture that is both affordable and well made. Add "local" to the equation, and it becomes a veritable goose chase. I think Shelter is on the right track and is definitely going to shake things up in T.O.
toronto man / January 23, 2011 at 03:58 pm
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people for toronto this is very nice okkk were in CANADA
relax.... its a cool hip store for TORonto
Jake / January 26, 2011 at 03:16 pm
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@Forshame - sure, IF you're in the market for a $12000-$15000 sofa from minotti, I guess buying the "real" thing will appeal to you. If not, go to a store like this.
Jane / February 1, 2011 at 02:35 pm
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My husband and I just bought a great reclaimed wood coffee table the other day at Shelter and were really pleased with the service. Our experience with the owner was incredible as well. There was a very industrial looking table we were interested in, but it had crossbars at the ends which would hinder someone from sitting at either end. The owner generously offered to saw down the ends in order to remove the obstruction AND said that he would do it BEFORE we purchased it, so that if we didn't like it, we were not obligated to buy it... that's pretty cool if you ask me :)
Alison / February 7, 2011 at 02:30 pm
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We came in here to shop for our new condo. The stuff looks great and customer service was fantastic. Ignore 'belvedere's' comments. The furniture is high quality and comfortable.
Melissa Davis / February 20, 2011 at 09:25 am
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As a designer I've seen it all and I place Shelter in my top 5 Toronto stores. The product is perfectly curated and selected to bring a cross section of affordable, reclaimed, and custom pieces. Much of the product is different than you'll find elsewhere in the city. They've set up the store in the same way I would approach a design project. A mix of less expensive imports, with a few pricier but well made pieces, and finished with one-of-a-kind, reclaimed or special touches.
Great store, knowledgeable staff. A must visit.
R G / March 12, 2011 at 02:39 am
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Overall for its price point its a decent store.

Service : Average for modern style stores. The more laid back approach, which is expected if you shop at modern only stores. People of modern taste usually like to be left to themselves, envision the ideas a little. Not be shadowed and served constantly, so thanks. But the staff did seem "new" to understanding the construction of the product...

Product: Good, but under 2 reasons. 1: Knowing your going here fore a better pricepoint than a 12,000 sofa on King St.
2: To be used mostly as Fillers. Their sofa's and tables are on the better side. But items like chairs, the "chrome" finishes look on the cheaper side because they look over shiny and like "painted" metal. But these are common issues today.

Wade / April 7, 2011 at 11:40 am
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I've had a problem with service and it's regarding the Charles sidechairs, too. I was going to purchase at least 4 and possibly 6 or 8 last Saturday to take advantage of their Spring sale. The sales rep convinced me to take one home to try it out for colour and then to come back on Sunday to get more if I liked that colour (he said they had 11 in stock. That was right at closing on the Saturday). I came back at an hour and a half after opening on Sunday and was told all 11 were "reserved".

I said, well I was told it wouldn't be problem when can I get these? They said a shipment was coming Monday. I said how about I take 3 or 5 now and you can fulfill those "reserved" orders on Monday? (We were having a dinner party on Sunday and needed the chairs - the funny thing is I was going to buy all that I needed on the Saturday and the rep talked me out of it). They said no, they couldn't accomodate me but they would call me right away. No call on Monday. I called on Tuesday and was told they'd arrived but needed to be assembled and would be ready any time on Wednesday. I had to call again on Wednesday....to be told the store was closing early and they wouldn't be able to have them for pick-up. Good thing I had called and didn't waste a trip.

They do have a good selection of design items but need some serious customer service training. It doesn't seem like a huge thing to keep in touch with a new customer but I don't think that's their focus, or maybe these particular chairs are a loss leader and they think that I won't be a regular customer. I don't know. As for the Charles chairs, you can get them at many places in the city and any savings at this store might not be worth your time.
Wade / April 7, 2011 at 03:42 pm
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Looks like the chairs will be ready today, a few days later than expected but I suppose not too long a wait. I hope it didn't sound like I was whining in the earlier post; it was frustration speaking. I wish any design store in the city well and hope any criticism on here is taken as constructive. Like I said, Shelter has a good and large selection and whatever your service experience, the staff is quite knowledgeable.
t replying to a comment from Veronica Cochrane / April 28, 2011 at 05:39 pm
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Here Here!!! What attitude from those young punks, especially the owner. I have bought some things there and was going to purchase more but changed my mind after owner was clearly way cooler than the rest of us. Good-bye.
Riley / May 11, 2011 at 04:50 am
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I recently purchased a solid walnut coffee table and new sofa from Shelter for a new place I'm moving into, and was more than amazed with the whole experience. The staff at Shelter were amazing and helpful and super knowledgeable, customer service was fantastic. Both were pieces I bought were high quality and made North America which is an added bonus. Will definitely be going back again for more. I highly recommend this store to anyone in the market for new furniture.
Debra / May 15, 2011 at 07:01 pm
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I loved this store - would definitely recommend it for anyone who is looking for one or more unique pieces to add to their modern or eclectic interior. I am an Interior Designer and this is a big step up from Ikea - at the very least - it comes assembled! Check it out. I ordered a gorgeous glass coffee table, a fab chrome and glass bistro table and bought a couple of cool and colourful chairs. Plan to go back for some counter stools and possibly some acrylic ghost chairs - prices were very reasonable and the staff was great. Not pushy, helpful and sweet. Order time is not too long either.
dmz / September 2, 2011 at 05:50 pm
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To the owner of this shop: if you're so much better than me, why are you behind the counter? I walked around for twenty minutes and not a single salesperson so much as nodded at me. About a third of the furniture is passable, and there are a few pieces I might consider, but otherwise this shop is stocked with substandard knockoffs of iconic designs. I felt like I was looking at Gucci bags in Guess. Crazy.
nikolina / November 6, 2011 at 09:22 pm
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we had a great experience in the store.Love pieces they have. Bought really nice dinning table and lemongrass chairs. Planning to make another trip to choose some of the modern wall art pieces.
Peter / November 30, 2011 at 04:41 pm
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Hello all. I run a small custom upholstery shop in this area. Feel free to e mail if you need anything recoverd. Thank you.
Jess / December 19, 2011 at 02:13 pm
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Equilibrium on Dundas street has the same product as Shelter. Shelter is great store but this other store I found has the lower price.
Liz / December 21, 2011 at 01:46 pm
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Bought a table and chairs from there about 6 months ago. The chairs are still not in even though it's now 5 days until Christmas and I have nowhere to seat my family for Christmas dinner. I didn't mind waiting but the staff were not up-front about the when we would get them. About 4 times, they told us a later date they would DEFINITELY be in, sure enough, when we'd check, they'd say they would be in at a later date.

Needless to say, they're no longer getting our business.
colourqueen / January 10, 2012 at 09:22 am
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In reply to belvedere!
Urban Barn, EQ3 do carry Canadian made furniture,
both are made in Winnepeg and Vancouver ! Shelter is a great addition to out Toronto design furniture selection Kudos !!
I say the more the merrier ...
Ray / February 15, 2012 at 06:12 pm
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Just got our new sectional called the Vesta, made in Europe, and we couldn't be happier! The staff although young, were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. The sectional took a while to come in but at least arrived within the time frame I was quoted. I'll definitely be back!
Kyle / March 25, 2012 at 08:01 pm
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Rude Rude Staff! Nothing special about this store. It’s in an obscure location filled with overpriced furniture made in china. Every time I have visited this store the furniture has been on sale, which indicates that they are catering to a lower end crowd or they are not doing well. However customers should be careful that they don’t get a Rowe furniture posing as an American Leather originals.
Dorian / April 10, 2012 at 02:17 pm
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STUNNING store, really. I did however decide to buy through Equilibrium. They have almost the same collection online and I feel as though I recieved more of a personalized service through them. I will say Shelters showroom is better by far but Equilibrium seems to have a better business model. The prices are far less, larger product range, and flawless customer service inluding free design advice from interior designers.
Randy / June 9, 2012 at 03:31 pm
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Dorian, I went there today and bought from them. Showroon is small but I saved so much. THX
Sergio B / September 7, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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My partner and I went to the store two days ago. Some people say the staff shows no interest but they are there and they are helpful when you need them. I hate to be followed
by the staff in some stores. I like having my space when I shop. We found a fantastic sofa, almost half price, excellent quality and the pretty girl that helped us was great and very knowledgeable.
After visiting the store we went to EQ3, West Elm and CB2 to look at other options. We definitely loved the one from Shelter. We called them and bought it on the phone. They just delivered the sofa today withing the 2 hours as promised (12 to 2pm). Extremely happy with our purchase and I highly recommend this store. The condo looks amazing with this piece.
Good luck with your shopping, hope you have a great experience as well.
SB Toronto
interior lighting / October 3, 2012 at 01:43 pm
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Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.
Disappointed shopper / November 10, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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Found alot of the same items cheaper at CasaLife especially the lighting. They also don't accept returns unless it is defected! Nor do they accept price matches! Very disappointed as I was told I would be honoured the price match. Looks like I won't be a return customer!
Beware of Shelter / December 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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Just came through an absolutely horrible experience dealing with Shelter. I ordered a 3-piece sectional sofa and when it was finally delivered after almost 5 months of waiting, I discovered that the store had ordered 1 of the pieces in the wrong configuration. Not only was the order wrong, but the 3 pieces did not even fit together as one of the pieces was ordered in the wrong facing direction!! While I can understand that these mistakes sometimes happen, the store manager was completely unapologetic, rude and arrogant. In the end, the only solution he could offer was to return the pieces and refund my money - he did not offer any discounts, could not reorder the incorrect piece in the same dye lot fabric and did not offer to reorder the whole sectional. While I am glad that I no longer have to deal with these unhelpful, incompetent people, I am now left with nothing after 5 months of waiting and will have to start from scratch on my search for a sofa.
CP replying to a comment from Beware of Shelter / February 1, 2013 at 04:26 pm
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If it was indeed the incorrect items, why are you begging for a discount?
Duh! replying to a comment from CP / February 3, 2013 at 08:45 pm
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...because the STORE ordered the wrong item, kept the customer waiting5 months, and was unapologetic for their screw-ups?
CP replying to a comment from Duh! / February 16, 2013 at 05:25 pm
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Toronto people and their MOB mentality!
Marcie replying to a comment from Marc / March 15, 2013 at 04:31 pm
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I bet you wouldn't know a quality piece of furniture if you fell over it!
sara / March 29, 2013 at 02:02 pm
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my GREAT experience at shelter.
i had bought six dining chairs from shelter a couple of years ago. the legs from one of the chairs broke and the store didnt carry that fabric anymore. i called the store and they got back to me right away and the store manager offered me two new chairs in a different fabric at no cost so that i could have two end chairs. i thought that was very fair. I've bought sofas, tables, chairs from these guys and love the service. nothing but great things to say about shelter.
Ryan / April 14, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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AWFUL service for a furniture place that's good good assortment.

I was looking to buy the Papyrus dining table and the floor model came with a decent price, I had very specific questions because as a customer I'm entitled to ask about the product that I'm paying good money for. I was transferred to the manager after I went through two sales staff.

The manager was not at all accommodating or responsive, almost arrogant even. I don't mind paying premium price if the product came with good customer service. I wouldn't recommend shelter to anyone.
joe / May 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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Horrible service. Estimate on delivery was 3 weeks. Took over double and the staff had no idea when the item was coming in despite repeated questioning. Furniture has decent aesthetics but is poorly made.
Ivan / August 7, 2013 at 04:45 pm
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Awful service. I'm furnishing my place and have shopped at around 6 places now, and Shelter ranks at the top in terms of horrible customer service. Beware their estimates on delivery times and support in the event that anything goes wrong. I haven't met a more disinterested bunch at any other furniture place.

As Joe mentioned, the quality is poor for what you pay. They have some interesting designs but I'm never making the mistake of placing another order here.
Victoria Bailey / March 7, 2014 at 09:35 pm
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Brutal customer service. Purchased two items from Shelter and when I got home, I opened the boxes to find that BOTH items were incorrect. I called the store. No immediate apology for the inconvenience, I was just told that I was welcome to bring the items back to the store to exchange them. No offer to pick them up for me, in fact, I was actually told by the manager that, "sending a pick up would cost us $100 and there's no way we can do that". Of course the manager did not acknowledge that it would cost me an hour of my time to return the items, no offer of a discount. No customer service. What a shame. The store has beautiful items but I will gladly spend my decorating dollars elsewhere in the future.
AA Allen / May 16, 2014 at 04:48 pm
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I recently just moved into a bachelor apartment and was looking for pieces that were multifunctional. I was a little hesitant at first because I was expecting the prices to be WAY out of my budget. One of the Design Consultants, Mel, was a HUGE help. He showed me pieces that I would have never considered. It's safe to say I found everything that I had needed all in one place. Did I mention I had been EVERYWHERE! I highly recommend checking this store out. The people there have amazing personalities and had me laughing the entire time.

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