Therefore, she notes that RSI has departmentalized its sales and design staff to accommodate its diverse customer base. It offers a seasoned outside sales team that calls on local homebuilders and a design-oriented inside sales team that assists homeowners or contractors with remodeling projects.
The company also manufactures its own casework, including commercial casework, home entertainment centers and custom closets.
However, the most unique aspect of RSI's business philosophy is how readily the company will share ideas with colleagues and competitors, she adds.
"We are lucky to have friendly relationships with many local competitors, as well as participate in the BKBG Buying Group. This has given us the opportunity to network with kitchen and bath dealers from around the country," she offers.
In fact, she notes that several competitors have welcomed the RSI staff in as visitors and have been great resources for how to improve their business methods.
'This has taught us to share as much as we can," she remarks. "We always seem to get even more value in return. In fact, many of our showroom ideas, as well as our sales training program, came from great suggestions from friendly competitors," she notes.
Bittle quickly offers that this somewhat unorthodox technique has also enabled the firm to participate in some equally unique design projects.
"With all of the city restoration projects going on in St. Louis, we've had the opportunity to work on some exciting projects most notably, a development that involved the restoration of a 200-year-old Abbey into eight high-end condominiums," she points out.
As Bittle describes, the company relies on traditional marketing mediums, such as the Yellow Pages and television ads, but also tries to be innovative with its marketing campaign.
"We try to be as creative as possible with low-cost advertising options," she says. "We've managed to get onto local news reports, and hosted local telethons from our showroom, for example."
She also points out that the company publishes a quarterly newsletter for local contractors, builders, designers and homeowners, and holds bi-weekly seminars for homeowners who are considering a remodeling project.
"All of these ideas came out
of the necessity for advertising on a shoestring budget, and they've worked well for us,"
RSI Kitchen & Bath
Location: St. Louis, MO
Principals: Tony Piazza, president; Susan Piazza; Chris Piazza, v.p./operations and Megan Bittle, sales manager.
Number of employees: 75
Hour of Operation: Mon. & Thurs., 9 a.m. 8 p.m.; Tues. & Wed., 9 a.m. 6 p.m.; Fri., 9 a.m. 5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m. 3 p.m.
Major product lines carried:
Cabinetry: Omega, Dynasty, Quality, Woodstar, Kitchen Kompact, Merit.
Countertops: Granite, laminate, Corian, LG Hi-Macs, Craft-Art Wood Tops, Silestone, Zodiaq.
Appliances: Jenn-Air, Maytag, Magic Chef, Amana, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Viking, Dacor, Fisher & Paykel, Scotsman and U-Line Corp.
Design Software: 20-20 Technologies
Business philosophy: "Selling through education is the single best way to build a loyal customer base."