POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– When Security Supply began planning its Bath Expressions showroom in downtown Poughkeepsie, creating an environment to “wow” potential clients was the firm’s primary consideration.
“Once we came up with a theme, the rest fell into place,” says Gabrielle Dingee who, in collaboration with Security Supply territory manager Jim Canning, Jr., led the group design effort of the renovated space. By seeking to create an environment that ‘wows’ the client, the designers created an inviting space while preserving the architectural integrity of the existing building. That objective influenced much of the extensive renovations done to that building.
Built in 1924, the 4,000-sq.-ft. building was previously the site of 12 offices and storage.
“The building was gutted and we commenced from cement floors,” says Dingee.
The team desired to keep the feel of the original warehouse in the new design, and so the ductwork was left exposed and the original brick of the space was kept, while new brickwork was added. New walls were added, as were architectural details such as archways and dental moldings. Additionally, the façade of the building was updated with new entrances and windows.
According to the designers of the showroom, the finished space conveys a sense of warmth through the use of color and the sound of running water. That sound emanates from the handful of working displays that are running at various times throughout the day.
According to the designers, “The sound of running water makes the customers feel at ease as they walk through the display areas.”
Many of the tubs fill with water from ceiling-mounted fixtures. The showroom also has several functioning shower displays including steam baths, rain showerheads and body spray systems. A mix of displays and vignettes, Bath Expressions is also home to a MAAX Gallery. The showroom features toilets, tubs, whirlpools, steam showers, sinks, vanities and other products by TOTO, Eljer, Elkay, Delta, Moen, MAAX, Brizo, Showhouse by Moen, Rohl, Swanstone, Grohe, Basco, Danze, Taylor and Strasser.
Customers are also encouraged to try the dozen or so working displays, which include tubs, showers, bidets, lavatories and kitchen/bar sinks and faucets, among others.
“We feel it makes people much more comfortable to try out a product before they buy it so they can see how it works and if it will meet their specific needs,” Dingee points out.
Throughout the showroom, there are Universal Design options to make space accessible to persons with disabilities. If the product is not physically represented in the showroom, information on the product is readily available.
“We carry many manufacturers that offer bath safety items geared toward the elderly and physically impaired,” says Dingee.
Because it’s primarily a bath showroom, water conservation is an important consideration for the effectiveness of the showroom.
“We have been helping customers with green design options, especially as the topic becomes more prevalent,” Dingee continues. “We’re learning the green way as we go along. More companies are producing environmentally sound products that promote the conservancy of water and other valuable resources, and we try to carry a selection that will suit every-one’s needs.”
An Untapped Market
“We chose this location because we felt it was an untapped market,” say Dingee and Canning, noting the absence of similar showrooms in the area.
Bath Expressions introduced itself to this new market earlier this year, with a grand opening celebration. On May 3, the showroom hosted a cocktail reception, which kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the mayor of Poughkeepsie in attendance, as well as members of the Poughkeepsie chamber of commerce. Over 200 customers, manufacturer representatives, employees, friends and family attended the event.
The showroom markets itself to everyone from plumbing contractors to consumers. The firm says it most often works in conjunction with both contractors and homeowners on all projects.
“We’ve successfully launched television and print advertising campaigns to let potential customers know we’re here and what they can expect from us,” the firm reports.
Bath Expressions works with potential clients to select products appropriate to their design vision. The staff can also direct consumers to local contractors and plumbers, if necessary. Currently, the showroom staff consists of Dingee, as well as one full-time and two part-time sales associates.
“The showroom staff is trained to provide customers with information to make an intelligent decision on their purchases.
They’ll sit with clients and go over product information and design options and help them choose products that fit their needs and budget,” says Dingee.
Bath Expressions’ parent company, Selkirk, NY-based Security Supply, maintains a Web site (www.secsupply.com) that offers links to product information and manufacturer Web sites.
The site also offers free tips and design help.
“The site allows people to narrow down their selections before they come into our showroom,” the firm concludes.