Market Pulse

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Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the following question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “How can a kitchen and bath dealership determine when to update or expand its showroom?” Following are some of the responses KBDN received.

“In our experience, we’ve noticed that customers come up with certain demands or ideas of what they like and we try to always keep up with those ideas. It is a matter of keeping up with demand and trying to keep on top of the trends. We deal with Italy a lot, so whenever the newest trend hits over there, we try to import it to here and display it. We are currently rethinking our showroom, since we have a small showroom and it might not be enough space for the amount of customers that we get. We are thinking about changing the complete layout, because I don’t think it will work in the space that we have right now.”

Derek Zylewicz, president
Urban Homes, Inc.
New York, NY

“We just remodeled our 3,000-square-foot showroom in January, mainly because our displays were ranging from five to ten years old. The manufacturers had discontinued many of the kitchens that we had displayed. We try to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, so we focused on all aspects from floor to ceiling. Basically, we needed a platform to demonstrate the latest in kitchen design. What we had before was nice, but it was showing its age and was a little dated. The driving factor for us was that we were outdated and we needed a better platform to compete here locally with other showrooms that were also showing their age. Ironically, a lot of them have now recently updated as well.”

Ted Scheumann,
field supervisor
South Bay Design Center, Inc.
Lomita, CA

“My showroom is pretty timely, but there is a paradox out there. I read the trade publications and I see the trends coming out and I see what people are asking for – and it makes you sit back and think about what you have on your floor. If your displays aren’t selling kitchens, then they should be out of there. The market is what drives you to look at your displays and start to think that maybe something isn’t serving the showroom. A lot of it is based on customer preference, but that is driven by what they see in the media and in publications. The clients are the ones who make you think about whether you should expand your showroom from a practical standpoint, as well. In general, it is a combination of what you see in the magazines, the input you get from your clients and then the new offerings from your manufacturers. Combine those things and you will decide what you need to do. Another consideration surely is setting up the showroom so that it is easier to swap out displays readily.”

Dave Porter, president
Kitchen Design Studio
Gambrills, MD

“We try to update an area in our showroom every year. That makes it a continual basis and it is predicated on the fact that the manufacturer continues to make new product improvements and changes. We don’t want to be caught with some dinosaur display in here. We aren’t the first the react to a market trend, but we’ll take and analyze the trend and study whether the clients who are coming in are taking interest in a particular design style. We also try to rotate out the appliances every 18 months. On cabinetry, we always like the main feature to display fresh and new. We are always selecting areas in the showroom to determine whether there is still customer interest. It is then that we decide to put something fresh in there. Plus, the space today is just so expensive. Therefore, we are always looking for a return on investment on that particular spot in the showroom. I like to put in unique things. By uniquely accessorizing or strategizing the placement of items throughout the showroom, it will show customers the combinations of things that you can do with a product – and that upgrade in your showroom will increase the chances of the clients wanting to upgrade their purchase.”

Alan Zielinski, CKD, president
Better Kitchens, Inc.
Niles, IL

“My feeling is that a showroom needs to be updated at least every three years – or more often, as necessary – depending on market trends. It also depends on how often the manufacturers are introducing new products. So, if your showroom is not showing these products, and that is what the consumers want, you may have to redo a portion of your displays earlier than you normally would replace them. Another factor is that often the lighting in a showroom will cause a display to fade. Therefore the doors would need to be replaced on the display to keep a fresh look. In that case, you may need to update your showroom every year or so, because you need to keep functional issues in mind, as well.”

Cliff Leath, exec. v.p./sales and marketing
1st Choice Custom Cabinets
Raleigh, NC