There is also a segment of the company’s clientele who are somewhat less affluent but who are tapping into the equity in their homes to make improvements. “These are people who are now able to afford a kitchen that, before this, they were only able to dream about,” says Colucci, who adds that his products and services can be adjusted to reflect the needs of different homes in his service area.
“We’re not just selling kitchen environments,” Colucci says. “We want to give our clients a unique living environment.”
But always, Colucci and Salmon keep the cooking in mind when designing kitchen projects. They work with clients with the cooking, not merely the aesthetics, in mind.
And then came the brainstorm to include a cooking school in their showroom. Le Gourmet Kitchen opened a partnership last September with a branch of the famed Laguna Culinary Arts schools, one of the most prestigious schools in Southern California. Clients have the option, for a separate fee, to take classes right in the showroom, using one of Le Gourmet Kitchen’s working showroom spaces as a “classroom.”
“This is what separates us from the rest, a cooking school on premises,” says Colucci. “We have a hands-on cooking school where our clients can use our facilities to learn great cooking, and then use our dining room to try out their creations.”
The kitchen that serves as a classroom is one of four functional kitchens at the firm’s 4,300-sq.-ft. showroom. The other three working kitchens, by Miele, Sub-Zero and Dacor, provide clients with a cross section of ideas and trends, showing customers myriad design possibilities.
Using such product lines as Wood-Mode, Dacor, CaesarStone, Wolf, Sub-Zero, Hafele and others, the firm performs a variety of design functions and subcontracts the installation out to local firms that the company is closely affiliated with, says Colucci.
The company markets itself mostly through word-of-mouth and the Internet, although Salmon notes that he is considering increasing the firm’s presence in local newspapers and on radio.