Birmingham, Mich.—Some retailers
merely talk about the concept of store as
theater. Azar and Hormoz Alizadeh,
owners of Azar’s Oriental & Decorative
Rug, have infused their flagship store here
with enough retail theater for a Broadway
production, complete with occasional back
up from a symphony orchestra.
Fresh Flowers, fine food, music by the
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, lectures by
renowned rug experts, careful attention to
details such as lighting and display—not to
mention a retail showroom which is
described by industry experts as one of the
most beautiful in the country—are just a
part of the Alizadehs’ retail script.
In this Detroit suburb, home to many auto executives, Azar’s is a haven for the
serious—and not so serious—rug buyer.
The native Iranian immigrated to the United States in 1971 and started selling
imported rugs out of her home. “I ran a one-lady business,” she said. Twenty-eight years
later, that diminutive effort has grown into a $4 million a year money-maker with four
But the crowning glory came just this last July, Alizadeh told HFN: The honor to
which she refers is one of the most prestigious prizes in the rug industry, the Retailer of
the Year Award in the category of specialty store.
Azar’s tied for that distinction with Oscar Isberian of Evanston, Ill. The winners were
chosen from a pool of over 100 retailers from around the world by 170 rug manufacturers
and importers during the Atlanta International Area Rug Market.
The award, sponsored by Americasmart Atlanta and Oriental Rug Importers
Association, is based on innovative business operations, including demonstrated success
in sales training, store promotions, customer service, visual display presentation and
overall business credibility.
An architect by training but a rug retailer by preference--and blood—Azar Alizadeh
emigrated from Iran to Germany in 1960 with her father who started an Oriental rug