I visited HomeGoods and At Home to see which home decor retailer is better, and the winner is clear
- At Home is a rapidly expanding big-box retail chain that specializes in home furnishings and decor.
- At Home rivals HomeGoods, a similar home decor chain owned by the same parent company that runs TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
- I visited both stores in New Jersey to see which has the leg up when it comes to decor and furnishings, and the better option was obvious.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Anyone who has ever had to furnish their new home or apartment is likely familiar with HomeGoods.
The home furnishings and decor store chain was launched in 1992 by TJX Companies Inc., the same parent company that owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls, among several other chain stores across the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2015, the company opened its 500th HomeGoods store, and the popular chain has continued to expand across the country in the years since.HomeGoods has largely maintained its hold on the discount furnishings and decor market because of its unique array of furniture, bed linens, cooking products, and other home accessories.
But now, a new competitor is giving HomeGoods a run for its money.
At Home's story began when founder Eric White opened Garden Ridge Pottery in 1979. The single store outside of San Antonio remained the only location until White opened a second one in Houston in 1986. The company was sold to investors in 1988, but went into bankruptcy in 2004.
In 2011, the current owners, AEA Investors, acquired Garden Ridge, and three years after that, the company converted all of its Garden Ridge locations to the At Home brand. From there, the home decor superstore has continued its relatively rapid expansion.
The company currently operates about 180 big-box stores across the US, averaging 110,000 square feet per store - making each At Home just about as big as the average Walmart or Target. If the retailer follows through on plans to keep expanding, many more shoppers will become familiar with the lesser-known company.
But how does At Home, the newer kid on the block, stand up against HomeGoods? I visited each chain's location in Brick, New Jersey, to find out for myself.And after making my way through both stores, I know which one I'll be going back to.