Since your showroom is the largest single capital investment in your business, it must represent substantial proof of your professionalism and value, while positioning your firm apart from the competition. Therefore, the best way to look at designing your showroom is to imagine it from a consumer’s perspective – and as if yours was one of several showrooms being visited that day.
In this two-part article, we’ll look at the best way to design a showroom that truly sets you apart from the competition, looking at the display areas (this month) and the conference area and educational aspects (in the October issue of KBDN).
Visibility & first impressions
There’s nothing more frustrating to would-be kitchen and bath buyers than having difficulty in locating a business when traffic is heavy and nerves may be on edge. But identifying a stand-alone building, clearly numbered, with great signage on a busy street within a mile of major highway makes it easy for you to find.
What’s more, you don’t have to fight for a parking space like at a typical shopping center. And through the showroom window, you can see one view of a kitchen display that is so inviting it quickly draws you to the entry.
As you enter, you see several couples perusing the displays, each accompanied by a professional-looking individual. Then you’re stopped dead in your tracks as you realize you’re standing in a Great Room kitchen that is gorgeous and appealing to all your senses.
You plunk yourself down in a comfortable armchair and drink in the ambiance. The kitchen is configured with an angled, corner double-bowl sink in front of a pair of casement windows. There’s a triangular plant well between the sink and the windows filled with colorful, sweet-smelling flowers.
To the right is a long counter space anchored by a large, built-in refrigerator. To the left is another long, lower counter space that ends with a pair of double ovens. Smack in the center is a multi-tiered, angled island that houses a down-draft cooktop, microwave oven and snack bar. Overhead is a pot rack with hanging copper pots and unusually shaped pendant lights. At the end of the island is a clever pet feeding space.
You notice the attractive interplay of materials and finishes. The main cabinetry is paneled and finished in a pale celadon green with a soft, light brown glaze. The tops are honed, speckled green-gold-black granite with matching backsplashes. Stainless steel appliances offer an appealing contrast. The island is done in a warm cherry finish that’s repeated in the family room cabinetry.
A distinctive-looking sign says, “Chapel Hill Great Room,” with a brief description. There’s also a counter card announcing an upcoming seminar: “Save Thousands on a Designer Kitchen.” Over the cherry-paneled fireplace is a large, flat screen TV that shows photos of kitchens intermingled with photos of happy homeowners and testimonials.
Getting to Know the Company
A person sits down and introduces himself: “Hi, I’m Ken Peterson. Welcome to Signature Kitchen & Bath. Could you see this kind of Great Room kitchen in your home?”
He asks permission to ask a few questions to learn about your project so he can help you make the most of your time. In this informal setting, you’re very comfortable answering. You notice that he’s jotting down notes as you talk, showing a real interest in what you’re saying.
Then, before you tour the remaining displays, he says: “Kitchens are really an intangible product. So these displays we’ll be seeing are just surrogates for the real thing. Your kitchen won’t become tangible until hundreds of pieces – from scores of suppliers – are assembled like a giant puzzle in your home by an array of craftsmen.