In 1972, one business trip to the United States was all it took to change the course of Akio Nitori’s struggling furniture store. During a week in California, he witnessed how differently Americans shopped and lived. Compared to Japan’s crowded living spaces, California homes were spacious with separate areas for entertaining and dining. American consumers went to convenient retail stores to buy color-coordinated furniture and accessories to enhance their beautiful homes. In contrast, the Japanese had only mismatched offerings to choose from. Most shocking to Akio Nitori was how inexpensive the high-quality merchandise in the US was compared to similar products in Japan. He recalls “I was so astonished by the difference in furniture and interior decor products in terms of price, selection, and quality.” It was at this moment that Akio Nitori decided to bring back to Japan what he had learned in the US. He would use his new company to help the Japanese people live as prosperously and comfortably as Americans.
Today, Nitori is Japan’s premier place to shop for furniture and home furnishings. With over 300 stores, Nitori has provided the Japanese consumer ways to coordinate their homes with style, affordability, and convenience. This winning strategy paved the way for expansion beyond Japan, with 16 new stores in Taiwan. More incredibly, Akio Nitori wanted to “return the favor to our teacher” by bringing his concept back to the United States. His new vision Aki-Home was unveiled to the American consumer October 19, 2013.