Market Pulse

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“We do advertise in some of the local papers to bring people in, but most of our business is from word-of-mouth referrals. When people come in, we make sure to discuss what a project might cost so we can determine whether they want to work with us or not. I also try to carry items that would drive people through the showroom and [make them even more interested in our services].”

Rich Brausch, owner
Three Village Setauket
Kitchen & Bath
Setauket, NY

“Interestingly, it depends on the time of year for us. Our business is driven a lot by referrals. Therefore, when it is less busy for us – especially in the Spring – we will do home shows. It is a rather large investment, but we get a huge amount of referrals from that endeavor. The Web site seems to work a lot as well, as do media commercials. Television commercials work very well, but you have to figure out where you want to be and study your market. Then, it becomes a matter of repetition. We also find that it is effective to dress up our displays. My advice for dealers is to not just focus on the cabinetry in your displays – you have to focus on every single thing that goes into that display. I remember that, early on, we had a cherry display that sold somewhat briskly. But, I took it and moved it in the showroom, changed the flooring with it, changed the countertop and the tiles and it turned into our biggest seller! It was all from the accessories. We also tend to put a lot of emphasis on the lighting. There is definitely a science to creating the flow to a showroom. What I found was that people would get halfway through our showroom, and then stop. It was almost as if they didn’t feel welcome. So we changed the lighting in the back, and soon after we did that, two people came in and bought a display from that area of the showroom.”

Heather Alton, president
New England
Kitchen & Bath
Londonderry, NH

“Our traffic is brought in by the advertising that we do. We advertise in only a couple of print mediums and the Yellow Pages. But, most of our business is through referrals and our Web site. Our showroom has always been set up with a number of different kitchen displays and vignettes to lead people throughout the showroom. For instance, not everything is located in the center. Instead, things are situated around the exterior of the center core. It leads people around and they can follow all of the things we have to look at, such as displays, paintings and brochures. Many of the customers come in because they know we are here (we have been here for 18 years), or they have visited the Web site. The Web site has photographs and a lot of tools that the customer can use when they are starting their selection process. We’ve even had people print out the tools section of the Web site, fill out the information and bring that in when they are looking for cabinetry. It pre-qualifies them and we then know what they are looking for.Although we don’t have a kiosk in the showroom, we do have an armoire display that is a Wood-Mode product that features all of the wood styles and wood colors. It is a very good selling tool. Overall, I think the most important thing for us to utilize is the length of time we have been in business, and the reputation we have developed over the years. We are definitely a destination location and it’s just something that people know that we’re here. We’ve even had people come here from Idaho and Montana after they find us on the Web site.”

Eliot Mohr, president
Kitchen/Interior Showcase
Spokane, WA

“Our marketing efforts have us involved with several local magazines that we advertise in. We’re also planning to be do some seminars this fall. We just moved to a new showroom that has a working kitchen that can accommodate about 30 people. We are going to bring in a chef who is going to do some demonstrations, and we hope to attract people that way. I lead seminars all the time at the Home & Garden shows and for many of the associations. That is a good way to publicize yourself – and your firm – as experts in a particular field. Here in Minneapolis, we have a ‘Parade of Homes’ and the fall ‘Remodeler’s Showcase.’ We also send out newsletters twice a year that are professionally done. I think it is important to enter design contests, whether it is on a local or national scale. In fact, a large portion of our business is referral-based and we also tend to cater to repeat customers. So, the newsletters that we send out are an important way to remind people that we are still here. This works quite well, and often we’ll wind up doing someone’s kitchen one year, and the bathroom the next, etc. The location of our new showroom is playing an important role because in the past someone was practically halfway qualified because it was so hard to find us. Now, we have a lot of walk-in traffic who are just spinning their wheels. It is a 8,800-square-foot showroom with some 20 different displays. We will take people on tours to find out what they are interested in. Along those lines, we have a selection center to look at cabinets, colors and doors styles; countertops and hardware, among others, so that really helps as well.”

JoLynn Johnson, CMKBD,
CAPS, president
Crystal Kitchen Center
Crystal, MN