WATERTOWN, SD — One has to spend money to make money, the old maxim goes. Pahl’s Kitchen & Bath Collection gets this, so when the time came to re-evaluate its Watertown, SD location, the decision was made to add on and make the showroom a more visible, valuable part of the community.
“In late winter, we had been witness to a few very large, upscale homes being built within our reach, only to find out that the ‘business’ went out of town,” says Charlie Hendrickson, Pahl’s Watertown branch manager. “Having that kind of business leave town affects more than just our business, it takes money out of our local economy as a whole.”
Prior to the 2007 redesign, the Watertown location just didn’t have the room for working displays. Hendrickson and showroom manager Robb Johnson believed these displays would be critical to securing the lucrative local building deals they sought.
“The initial design/concept was conceived in October 2006, with construction starting in March, 2007,” says Johnson. The design and project management was collaboratively overseen by Johnson and Hendrickson.
“During conception of this idea, we actually put together three-year P&L projections on either renovating our existing showroom or the possibility of a showroom, off-site,” says Hendrickson. “We are located on one of the heaviest traveled roads in Watertown, Highway 212, which acts as a main artery to many businesses around us as well as some new retail strip malls on the east side of town.” So, the decision was made to refurbish the existing building, which shares space with J.H. Larson, Pahl’s parent company. “We just couldn’t go anywhere else and get the exposure that we have here for the money,” says Johnson.
Making it Work
An addition of about 500 sq. ft. was built onto the space, bringing the total square footage of the showroom to just over 2,500 sq. ft. “It allowed us to take a 500-sq.-ft. area and make all of the displays working,” says Johnson. “We have [Toto] toilets that flush, a Grohe custom shower with five different functions to show, whirlpool/air tub combinations, lav and Roman tub faucets, along with light fixtures that accent each vignette. We incorporated 20/20 design software to enable us to design kitchen layouts as well as bathrooms, closets and entertainment areas.”
In addition to the showroom, other areas were also remodeled, including the break room. “We knocked out a wall and extended the room 12 feet, installed new kitchen cabinets, a stove, a refrigerator and flooring,” says Johnson. “It is now our break room and training facility. It allows us to hold large meetings or training classes for contractors, and gives us a functional kitchen to work from.”
The Grand Re-Opening Celebration was held on Friday, October 5. “The event was catered with upscale hors d’oevres and beverages. We were host to some 300 attendees,” says Hendrickson.
The company incorporated kitchen cabinetry by Fieldstone and decorative lighting by Maxim and Progress into the showroom. “The addition of decorative lighting and kitchen cabinetry allowed us to expand our target market from contractor-referred homeowners to also include interior designers, architects, design-build commercial projects, builders and end consumers,” says Hendrickson. “It rounded out our offering to enhance a ‘one-stop’ selection process.”
Lines include Toto fixtures and faucets, Grohe faucets, Aquatic whirlpools and tubs, DecoLav sinks, Elkay sinks, Fieldstone and Fairmont cabinetry, Maxim lighting, Warm Rain and Lasco fiberglass and acrylic products.
The Toto Neorest toilet is displayed as one of the marquee products. “This state-of-the-art toilet has more options than a fully loaded vehicle and has to be experienced to fully be appreciated,” says Hendrickson. The options include a bidet with temperature control, a dryer, deodorizer, automatic sensor seat, Cyclone flushing system, remote control and heated seat with temperature control.
The rounded-corner bead, beamed ceiling and archways, created with sheetrock, give the showroom a classic and sophisticated look. Scattered throughout the showroom are LCD flat screen monitors that hang on walls and columns, boasting a residential feel as well as enabling the company to display informative product marketing videos and vendor advertisements. The decorative accessories incorporated into the showroom are also for sale, including the Harris Marcus Home line of furniture pieces.
Knowing the Market
“We have the ability, knowledge and products to fit any application to the homeowners’ specifications,” says Johnson. “I feel we have our finger on the pulse of what our market is calling for. We do not have any one trend or style overshadowing the others. It is a nice spectrum of all types, shapes and sizes and allows us to be creative and not be pigeonholed on the products we incorporate into our showroom.”
Hendrickson now feels that the company has the ability to serve customers the entire way through the project.
“The addition of our 20/20 design software will help tremendously,” he says. “Robb’s knowledge of the building side of the industry and the knowledge of our veteran sales staff put us second to none in our industry. Companywide, we have a wonderful Web site for our showrooms that will take you on a tour of each one, explain the services and products we offer as well as provide contact info and hours of operation.”