Iconic New England Furniture Company Using Fiber-based Ethernet Services to Connect Locations across Four States to Improve Operational Efficiencies, Help Reduce Costs and Support New IT Initiatives
- Growing furniture chain has six locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island
- Known for philanthropic efforts, clever marketing and “shopper-tainment” experiences
- Legacy 3 Mbps T1 connections provided limited bandwidth
- Required expensive WAN compression and acceleration software
- Limited scalability, could not support new disaster recovery and video surveillance efforts
- Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service
- Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet
- Scalable, high performance, meshed network
- Managed Costs
- Data replication for off-site disaster recovery
- Real-time access to video surveillance
- Network footprint to support expansion
Popular Furniture Store Chain Offers ‘Shopper-tainment’
Jordan’s Furniture is a beloved New England retailer of designer and discount home furnishings. Founded in 1918 and initially run out of the back of a truck, today the business spans six locations with corporate headquarters in East Taunton, Massachusetts and retail stores in Reading, Avon and Natick, Massachusetts; Nashua, New Hampshire and Warwick, Rhode Island.
Aside from selling furniture, Jordan’s is well known for its philanthropic efforts, offering financial support to dozens of local charities across the East Coast. It is also famous for its innovative marketing, including promotions for free furniture tied to the Red Sox. The chain is also known for its emphasis on the slogan, “it’s all about the experience.” Its five storefront locations include a mix of eclectic activities for adults and children including IMAX 3D theaters, a full-service restaurant, ice cream and candy, and the Enchanted Village in Avon with an indoor skating rink that operates from November through the holidays.
Reliable Network Connectivity is Critical for Store Operations
Like many retail stores today, Jordan’s Furniture relies on its network to process retail sales, manage orders and check inventory. Corporate applications, email, VoIP as well as custom apps that nest in and around point of sale and order management applications, were housed in corporate headquarters, and each of its locations was connected to headquarters via a point-to-point, bonded legacy T1 line at 3 Megabits per second (Mbps).
With business and network traffic growing, Jordan’s invested in data compression and WAN acceleration software to get the most out of its limited bandwidth, but they were reaching the limits of what the technology could do. The company was also concerned about uptime – with a hub and spoke network configuration, if the line between a particular store and headquarters went down, business would also stop.
“We made the most of our 3 Mbps links, but we were ready for something much faster,” said Peter Clark, Director of Information Systems, Jordan’s Furniture. “With plans for expansion, we needed a more robust network solution that would let employees in all locations connect directly to each other and to our corporate office in East Taunton.”
In addition to keeping operations running smoothly, Jordan’s needed more bandwidth to support its disaster recovery efforts, as well as its video surveillance program across its locations.
Comcast Business Delivers Robust Ethernet Service for Scalability, Managed Cost and Performance
Jordan’s knew an Ethernet network service could provide the performance and scalability required to support its growing business, and with the right architecture, it could also help improve service uptime. After a thorough review of available options, Jordan’s selected Comcast Business. Comcast Business installed its Ethernet Network Service (ENS), which provides links to all of Jordan’s locations for improved communications and reliability. The ENS includes links to each of its stores and a connection to corporate headquarters. There is also a fiber-optic high-performance Ethernet Dedicated Internet circuit at Jordan’s headquarters to support Internet access for all departments. .
Added Clark: “With the increased bandwidth, meshed design and ability to eliminate all of the compression and acceleration software we previously needed this is a cost effective alternative to our previous solution.”
Additionally, Jordan’s ENS has a high-performance connection to the company’s virtual environment at a multi-tenant data center in Rockland, Massachusetts. Before deploying Comcast Business, Jordan’s was performing data back-up to the Rockland facility every 10-30 minutes after moving away from on-site tape back-ups. With the expanded capacity of the new Ethernet network, Jordan’s is in the process of building out a virtual environment to replicate data in real-time so that its stores can connect to company databases within minutes should their main network at headquarters ever be affected by a disaster scenario.
The ENS network capacity has also opened up new IT initiatives, such as giving Jordan’s the ability to improve video surveillance across its retail footprint “We’ve got a significant video surveillance program for loss prevention, safety and building security,” added Clark. “Before we had Comcast Business, we didn’t have the bandwidth capacity to support real-time surveillance and operations– if there was an issue, we’d have to locate the incident, burn a DVD and send it around to people. Now that we’ve got more bandwidth, we can look across the network to other locations to see what’s going on in real-time, or quickly access data that’s stored in another location, which helps us to identify and resolve issues much faster.”
Further, Jordan’s has plans to open a new retail location in Connecticut in 2015. With Comcast Business as its Ethernet service provider, Clark has peace of mind. “The knowledge that Comcast’s extensive network footprint can accommodate us throughout the country is comforting as we continue to expand into other markets,” he said.