Empire Today, LLC
is a Northlake, Illinois
-based home improvement and home furnishing company, specializing in flooring
installation, window treatments, and bath renovation products. As of 2008
, the company operates in over 50 major metropolitan areas in the United States
, making it the leading provider of home improvements
and home furnishings in North America--having served over one million customers. In 2007, Empire Today was named the #1 Specialty Flooring Retailer in the U.S. and one of the Nation's Top 200 Brand Names (ahead of Office Depot
, Post Cereals
, Johnson & Johnson
, Dunkin' Donuts
, H&R Block
, and PlayStation
). Empire Today is known for making personal sales calls and next day installation, thus eliminating the need for showrooms and retail sales outlets, allowing the company to provide its products at low prices.
Empire Today offers next day installation on carpet, hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, ceramic flooring, window treatments, bath liners, and shower enclosures. The company was founded in 1959 by Seymour Cohen and was a family-run business under its original name, Empire Carpet
Empire Today's advertising is prevalent in areas serviced by the company, especially throughout Atlanta
; Birmingham, AL
; Kansas City
; Las Vegas
; Los Angeles
; southern New England
; New York City
; Norfolk, VA (Hampton Roads Metro Area)
; Portland, OR
; San Antonio
; San Diego
; San Francisco
; Scranton, Pennsylvania
; St. Louis
; Washington DC
; and the Greater Toronto Area
. The company's prominent print and television ads feature the recognizable "Empire Man" character.
The Empire Man was introduced in 1977 as a live action character and later adapted into a popular animated persona that has grown to become a cultural icon. The Empire Man has been seen internationally in commercials and other media, has spawned a line of collectible bobblehead
dolls and inspired the Chicago Cubs
to declare an official "Empire Day" at Wrigley Field in 2007.
The Empire Man was originally portrayed on television by Lynn Hauldren, who continues to provide the voice of the animated character.
Empire Today's advertising jingle
, which has been broadcast since 1977, is a widely recognized meme. It has been covered in concert by such platinum selling recording artists as Pearl Jam
. An Empire commercial is featured in the opening segment of the feature film Wayne's World
starring Saturday Night Live
alums Mike Myers
and Dana Carvey
, where the character Benjamin (Rob Lowe
) and his partner (Ione Skye
) are watching television. The song has been featured on Late Night with Conan O'Brien
during his 2006 visit to Chicago, in which Conan stated that "It is impossible to live in the Chicagoland area and not know the song by heart". The Apprentice
contestant Aimee Trottier told Chicago Magazine
that what qualfies someone as a true Chicagoan is knowing the Empire Today Jingle by heart.
The jingle is simply a small mixed gender vocal group singing out the digits of the telephone number. The original Chicago-centered version was only the seven-digit number:
- "588-2300, Em-pire!"
As the chain expanded nationally, the same tune was used for the seven digits, with a three-note prefix, for the company's toll-free number:
- "800-588-2300, Em-pire!"
After the company changed its name to Empire Today, the spoken word "Today" (voiced by Hauldren) has been added at the end of this jingle, over the short drumbeat that has always ended the jingle. For a short period however, the jingle changed with the entire chorus singing the new tune.
According to the company, this phone number is one of the ten most recognized phone numbers in the United States, and the jingle is among the 7 most recognized in the US. Prior to the 800 number, the company had the same telephone number locally in the Chicago area, "five eight eight, two three-hundred", which aired frequently on Chicago superstation WGN-TV.