New Brunswick, NJ—
As if the assignment wasn’t challenging enough – transforming a company’s original showroom into an interactive, client-friendly experience – imagine if the client was your toughest critic…yourself!
That’s what Aaron & Co. faced as the company prepared to celebrate its 75th year of operations.
“The design has a certain flow, which gives the space an open, spa-like feeling,” reports Alan Mandel, marketing director for Aaron & Co. Central to the company’s six satellite locations, the New Brunswick, NJ showroom was designed by Ellen Cheever, CMKBD, ASID of Wilmington, DE-based Ellen Cheever & Associates, in conjunction with Aaron & Co.’s kitchen and bath division managers Diane Bradley and Bruce Sax.
Between planning and execution, it took nearly a year to complete the space. The design focused on transforming the company’s original dated bath showroom and creating a new kitchen design gallery out of formerly unused office space.
The result was a complete overhaul, with 17 cabinet displays in the kitchen center and 11 fully decorated kitchen vignettes. There is also a full working kitchen that features Viking appliances. It will be the site of planned cooking demonstrations and seminars.
The firm hosted three events to celebrate its open house: one to better acquaint its employees with the new showroom; one for remodeling professionals, plumbers and general contractors, and the third for designers, architects and decorating professionals.
The Destination Showroom
The 6,000-sq.-ft. showroom has more than 100 displays, 30 of which are working. These include three whirlpools, 10 kitchen faucets, 25 showerheads, a tub spout, a ThermaSol steam shower, a body spray station, an MTI foot bath, a TOTO Neorest toilet and a radiant heat floor in one display.
Mandel says it is the volume of interactive displays that sets the showroom apart. “I would consider us to be a blend of unique kitchen and bath offerings, where you can experience products that are not displayed at home centers or other kitchen and bath showrooms.”
Strictly a design and display company, Aaron & Co. refers inquiring customers to area builders. The firm’s team of design experts has over 20 years of design experience. “Our gallery assistant will help anyone who comes in with questions or wants to have a look around,” reports Mandel.
With a staff of seven, including a kitchen manager, bath manager and design gallery assistant, the design team begins with the customer’s vision for the space. “We prefer to have the customer come in with a hand drawing of the space, so we know what they’re really looking for, and important things like where a current sink is, so we can work around existing plumbing lines.” The team then translates those wishes into CAD because, as Mandel says, “CAD is precise and every millimeter counts.”
Something for everyone
The showroom displays products from American Standard, Jacuzzi, Elkay, Grohe, Brizo, ShowHouse by Moen, Ronbow, MAAX and MTI, among others. It also features cabinetry by Woodpro, Shiloh, Hanssem, Adelphi Kitchens, DC Cabinetry and JSI. The kitchen center offers CaesarStone, Silestone by Cosentino, DuPont Corian, Spekva, glass and wood countertops, and a number of other surfaces from which to choose.
On display are “green”/healthy design elements such as Brizo’s Pascal hands-free kitchen faucet, a dual flush toilet and radiant floor. The showroom offers universal design products such as an accessible shower stall in a working display and comfort-height toilets. Laundry room options such as a special washing station for clothes that require hand washing are also offered.
With a 125,000-sq.-ft. computerized distribution center in nearby Piscataway, Mandel says Aaron & Co. is the largest independent wholesaler of plumbing, heating and cooling products in New Jersey. The firm offers next-day delivery and, because it is located in New Brunswick’s designated Urban Enterprise Zone, a classification intended to promote small business growth in the area, it can offer a reduced sales tax rate.