EAST HAVEN, CT--
When East Haven Builders Supply Inc. decided to open a satellite location of its offshoot The Kitchen Factor showroom and design center, choosing just one site proved insufficient. Interested in providing services to several different areas of Connecticut, the company chose to branch out with two new sites, each with a distinct feel and purpose.
Now, in addition to the 5,000-sq.-ft. main showroom located here, The Kitchen Factor boasts showrooms in Glastonbury and Wilton, CT.
The Glastonbury site, at approximately 4,000 square feet, is set up more like a traditional showroom, and provides a similar shopping experience to the showroom in East Haven. Situated in a growing area outside of the capital city of Hartford, the location was one that neither The Kitchen Factor nor East Haven Builders Supply had any real presence in. “Therefore, we thought this was a way to start to develop the business in that market,” reports Steve Truhan, general manager of The Kitchen Factor.
At about 1,900 square feet, the Wilton location provides visitors with more of a boutique-type experience than the two larger showrooms, due to its more intimate size. Wilton was chosen because of its Fairfield Country location, according to Truhan.
“We felt it was important that we have a presence there, due to the fact that we do a lot of business with contractors in that market,” Truhan stresses. He adds that it was sometimes difficult to get customers to make the 30-minute-plus trip to the main location in East Haven, “so we basically opened this site to give customers a showroom that they could go to more easily.”
Double the Pleasure
Grand opening celebrations for the two locations were held during the same week in February. Regionally renowned Chef Silvia Bianco was on hand at both locations to demonstrate her unique style of Italian cuisine. Chef Bianco also signed and distributed copies of her “Simply Sauté” cookbook to attendees.
The Wilton location’s event was an intimate affair, with invitations going to architects, designers and targeted contractors in Fairfield County. The 50 or so people in attendance enjoyed hors d’oeuvres created by Chef Bianco.
The Glastonbury event was more of a general open house that was open to the public, according to Truhan. More than 200 people passed through its doors, enjoying food and an informal cooking presentation.
Visitors to the showrooms may be surprised at the The Kitchen Factor’s presentation, states Truhan, who did much of the design work for the locations himself. In contrast to the standard kitchen vignettes displayed at other showrooms, The Kitchen Factor showrooms feature a wide variety of fully accessorized, full-sized kitchen displays that are often fully functional. “Our sinks work, as do our dishwashers, refrigerators and ranges in many displays,” comments Truhan. “When you look at each display, it makes you feel like it would be something that you would see in a finished kitchen.”
He adds that The Kitchen Factor encourages customers to try things out. “To me, it feels more like a kitchen when a customer can go in and run water into a sink, or something like that. It just kind of gives me a feeling that it works, that this is what it’s going to feel like for you,” he offers.
The Wilton location features 10 vignettes, and focuses on cabinet lines from Corsi Cabinet and SieMatic. “It’s very contemporary on the first floor, where products from SieMatic are featured,” Truhan explains. Upstairs, Corsi Cabinet displays yield a more traditional feel. “Just in the way it feels and the way it’s accessorized, it’s kind of homey,” he notes about the showroom.
Also showcased at the Wilton and Glastonbury locations are appliances from Miele, Bosch, Thermador, Gaggenau and Küppersbusch. “We are also a Viking dealer,” stresses Truhan. Corian and laminate are among the offerings in countertops at both showrooms.
Glastonbury’s 17 displays provide a more general mix of cabinet styles, with offerings from Corsi Cabinet, Merillat Industries, Kemper Cabinetry and UltraCraft Cabinetry, among others.
Designers are on staff at each of the three locations to assist customers with their design needs. “We provide 20-20 and AutoCAD, as well as hand drawings,” Truhan points out.
The Kitchen Factor will continue to promote its offerings in local newspapers and Connecticut magazine, reports Truhan. Special events are also slated for the upcoming summer months.
In addition, Truhan notes that company’s Web site is set up to encourage user interaction. “We have portfolio pages, and areas that explain what we do and how we work,” he states. “The site also offers design tips, and people can download a brochure from the site that explains what we need in order to do a kitchen with them.”