Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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OVER THE PAST few years, I had the privilege and opportunity to work with kitch- en and bath firm owner Bill Staycheff, in the Cleveland area. He has shown vision and strength in changing Freedom Design's busi- ness model in a local market. I observed him when the market was at its worst, as he considered possibilities and took action, and I wanted to share some key learnings from Bill and his team. Ideally, if you are considering reinventing your show- room, this will serve as inspiration and food for thought. The Freedom Design team concluded that a new location was needed to position themselves on "the beaten path," rather than continuing to stay out of sight – the norm during the growth of the '90s. With his current showroom locations and customer base, Bill had to make changes to survive the market downturn and to be poised to grow after the market recovery. "It wasn't easy to take this step, as what to do wasn't clear; how- ever, I knew how we went to market before was not going to allow us to sustain our business long-term. We knew we had to make changes," he stressed. For several reasons, Bill and his team de- termined that finding new showroom locations was an important first step to take. His past lo- cations were intentionally tucked away because they actually did not want walk-in traffic. They were – like many of us – so busy, they needed to be less accessible. This made sense until faced with our industry's Great Recession. His past business focus was selling and support- ing largely new home builders – a market that virtually all but dried up. Bill and his team learned a great deal from each other over four years about creating a great new showroom location. The first expe- rience taught them the most. Moving forward, they applied these team learnings to work smarter, not harder, for their new second loca- tion. We are fortunate that they have graciously agreed to share some tips to help those of us facing a similar situation. SHOWROOM TIPS As you consider your future and your showroom's sustainability, there are several keys that will benefit you – especially if you're starting over with new, improved locations for your showroom. 1. Make something key to rally around that will drive sales as the main focus of the show- room. Otherwise, why have a showroom? 2. While keeping kitchen and bath displays simple and relatable, show as many combi- nations as possible to educate with physical supports for your words. 3. Smaller displays can rotate out faster, be refreshed more easily and save money while keeping your showroom appearing up-to- date with less expense and work. 4. Make the walls, flooring and ceiling the same throughout the showroom, as a backdrop that does not compete with what you are selling, so the displays are the main focus. 5. Light all areas well and with lighting that sp otlights your product displays. Use a light- ing exp ert to get the best for the least cost. 6. Design the showroom to be interactive so customers can see and touch what they've researched online, and can visualize their own future kitchen or bath. 7. Don't show everything you carry but use important space for what really drives reve- nue. Curate product offerings and displays so that your presentation will be easier and more dynamic. 8. Dedicate space for both making the presen- tations and closing the sale so it's a familiar space. Spend less time and space allocation with "the backroom" areas. 9. Arrange some workstations on the show- room floor, near the key sales driving dis- plays, so that you are present and available to customers naturally. 10. Reserve at least one display for product comparisons, such as cabinetry. Show different door style overlays, different price points and separate features. Decisions will be made more easily and quickly. This simplified approach can work as well for plumbing displays. 11. Take advantage of exterior windows to max- imize views inside and out, day or night. Great and well-planned lighting will make this possible. 12. If you want walk-in traffic, be located where it is possible. Engage them from the road with the showroom to stop by or make an appointment. Be tasteful in this technique. 13. Make sure the showroom is easily accessible from parking through to the entrance. 14. Plan a couple of "wow" displays that cus- tomers will assume they can afford. 15. If the showroom is ultra high-end, displays will need to be even more inspiring. Relate your displays to your shopping locality so you are aligned with your market. Include displays that give you something interesting and informative to tell your visitor to con- firm you are their trusted advisor. As a spokesman for Freedom Design, Bill Staycheff says it best, "Now what's your plan for your future? Don't go alone, but work with your resources, your team, your local market connection to set a path where the entire team and the business wins – together!" ▪ Showroom Design Demystified SARAH REEP, ASID, IIDA, CMKBD, CMG, CAPS Calling on their extensive experience culled over many years, the Freedom Design team make their showroom and showroom experience extra special to their clients. 38 Kitchen & Bath Design News • January 2018 INSIDE TODAY'S SHOWROOM

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