Companies Unite in B.I.G. Showroom

New York — When David Yagerman contacted Apple Valley Woodworks about supplying products for his company, there was little indication that it would lead to a big idea. But, a year later, B.I.G. - Boutique Interior Group - is open for business.

The showroom is a showcase for products from four tri-state area companies: Yagerman & Co., Apple Valley Woodworks, Watermark Designs and Evans & Paul, an LG solid surface fabricator. "We don't do business as an entity or sell products there," reports Lou Lestorti, Jr., president, Apple Valley Woodworks in Southington, CT. "We're simply showcasing our products together in one venue."

The showroom's location, in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan, is home to showrooms for many major tile importers, making it a prime area for attracting designers, dealers and architects.

Working Together

The showroom was originally operated solely by Yagerman & Co., an importer of products such as vanities and wardrobes. When Yagerman, the president of the firm, went looking for a domestic supplier, he tapped Apple Valley Woodworks.

"There were other suppliers he worked with on a consistent basis, and we began having discussions on how to work together," states Lestorti. "It kind of morphed into the consortium idea - why don't we do a showroom with all of our products?"

Each of the four companies uses the location as their showroom, bringing in existing and prospective dealers, as well as other clients, on an appointments-only basis. "For example, Apple Valley will bring in one of our dealers, and that person then gets exposed to the other products," explains Lestorti. "We're hoping for - and getting - a cross-pollination of leads."

Optimum Design

Since the companies involved were using the 2,298-sq.-ft. showroom to display their latest and greatest offerings, the design had to be exceptional, notes Lestorti. Since the kitchens took up the majority of the space and had to be designed first, Stephanie Martin, CKD, director of design and product development for Apple Valley Woodworks, stepped in. She was responsible for the majority of the kitchen design, while Lestorti brought some unique concepts to the space.

"The first kitchen you see when you walk in the door has cabinets made out of acid-etched mirror," he reports. "It just blows you away when you walk in the door."

"Overall, this is just a great way to market product," comments Lestorti. "I'm not sure that Apple Valley would have taken it upon itself to just do a showroom for our own use. But, the way we put this together, I'm totally excited about it."