Category Seven:

Category Seven:

First place: Viking Range Corp.
Innovative Culinary Arts Center Heats Up Appliance Buying 

With a host of products, programs, seminars and live displays, the full-service VCAC makes appliance buying as appealing as a gourmet meal a notable feat that has garnered Viking top honors in Category Seven of K&BDN's second annual Industry Leadership Awards. 

Customers and potential customers can come to VCAC to view cooking demonstration classes, offered by staff and guest chefs in the theater. Students can also participate in one-day, three-day or five-day cooking classes, receiving one-on-one instruction from chefs and/or instructors. While there, students can "test drive" the Viking professional-style appliances featured in the teaching kitchen. 

Product displays feature an array of Viking appliances, from ranges to refrigerators. Once customers have become familiar with the different appliances, they are then directed to dealers who can assist them in purchasing any items of interest. In this way, the facility enables Viking Range to assist distributors and dealers in marketing Viking products and building product awareness.

"The demonstrations and classes offered have definitely led to many customers purchasing Viking products," comments Dean Howat of Louis W. Howat & Son, Inc., a Louisiana-based distributor.

"Virtually every person who visits the school after coming into the showroom purchases a Viking."

To round out the kitchen, VCAC's retail shop offers everything the modern kitchen needs the top of the line in cookware, knives, glasses, bakeware, utensils, small appliances and cookbooks.
There are currently two Viking Culinary Arts Centers in operation, located in Memphis and Franklin, TN.

Second place: C.H. Briggs Hardware
Comprehensive Web Site Streamlines Customer Service

Entering the cyber age has been a challenge for many companies, adding complications galore to an already complex industry. However, taking advantage of the benefits of the cyber world can be not only the ultimate challenge, it can also provide untold rewards. 

At Reading, PA distributor C.H. Briggs, high tech doesn't mean high stress and, in fact, the streamlining of services provided by the company's Web site has been impressive enough to garner the company second-place honors in Category Seven of K&BDN's second annual Industry Leadership Awards. 

The business-to-business Internet site for C.H. Briggs,, has been operational for more than a year. It was developed specifically to expand the company's customer base, and improve customer service. The site allows customers to place orders and check pricing and availability 24 hours a day, every day, as well as peruse the company's full catalog, which is featured online. When a customer places an order on the Internet site, inventory is secured immediately, and is picked and shipped within one day, according to the company. 

In addition to these features, there are a host of other helpful options included on the site. Customers can access links to vendors, get answers to product support questions and view new product and promotion pages.

This Web site makes C.H. Briggs the first distributor in the industry to have real-time ordering capabilities, as well as the ability to check pricing and availability of inventory. The reason for this is simple, according to the company C.H. Briggs is determined to make doing business with the company as easy as possible. And that means using every tool available, both in "real time" and in the cyber world.

Third place: SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool Bath
Comprehensive Training Program Enhances Sales

Having well-trained people to sell your product is key to the success of any business, and one taken very seriously by the Coppell, TX-based SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool Bath. Particularly when you're selling a unique project, you need to be able to articulate what differentiates that product in the market, the company believes. 

It's not just about selling FABs, it's about educating potential customers so that they can make the best choices for them choices which will lead to increased customer satisfaction as well as sales. And the first step in this process is comprehensive training.

To that end, SANIJET offers and actively promotes its Technical & Sales Specialist Program, an ongoing in-house training program for all primary and secondary sales personnel at the showroom/retail level. The training program, which utilizes a unique mobile showroom, won third-place honors in Category Seven of K&BDN's second annual Industry Leadership Awards. 

Through the use of the traveling working showroom, SANIJET makes presentations to architects, designers and builders, educating them about the features and benefits of the Sanijet product. 

The program's objective is to reinforce the unique benefits of the SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool System, the company notes, adding that this "show, don't just tell"strategy leaves a more powerful and lasting impression that helps to boost sales.

SANIJET believes that dealers and distributors who are extremely product knowledgeable are a great asset, and can make highly informed presentations. Taking product education and training to this level encourages higher productivity, SANIJET believes, and the company plans to continue its educational approach to sales.