Most Innovative Showroom or use of Displays

Most Innovative Showroom or use of Displays

First place: Grande Central Showroom at Park

Big Apple Showroom Makes Most Out of Small Space in Short Time

In fact, its ambitious displays and its ambition, period are what garnered the Park Avenue showroom first place in K&BDN's 2003 Industry Leadership Awards in the category of Most Innovative Showroom or Use of Displays.

The approximately 750-sq.-ft. Grande Central Showroom is a subsidiary of Central Plumbing Specialties, a long-established plumbing wholesale business owned by Howard and Warren Frankel that is located next door. Richard (Buddy) McMahon is the showroom's general manager, and Victoria Coffey is the assistant showroom manager.

McMahon, a long-time industry veteran from Washington, DC, had quite a task when he came on board with Grande Central in December 2002. "He was charged with the task of creating the showroom in a relatively small space," comments Julie Ballard with MGM Sales, Inc. in Randolph, NJ. Teaming with Coffey, an associate he brought into the project, the two designed the space and the displays," she adds.

Ballard nominated Grande Central for the honor, but was not alone. Paul Korman of Paul Korman Sales Agency, Inc. in Hicksville, NY, and Tim Maicher, product director/luxury brands for the American Standard Design Center in Piscataway, NJ, also nominated Grande Central because of the showroom's innovation within a small space and the short time allotted to pull it together.

Indeed, McMahon and Coffey rose to the challenge and devised a showroom layout befitting the firm's Park Avenue address. To that end, there is a live shower module, a powder room that doubles as a display, curvy glass desks that lend a spacious, yet cozy feel, and a live kitchen display that uses drawers to house additional kitchen faucet and accessory ideas.

"The showroom will be able to tap into an existing customer base of plumbing contractors, and it is sure to draw crowds of renovators in the immediate area [and beyond]," adds Ballard.

Second place: Kitchens by Deane

Stamford, CT Showroom Conveys Diversity, Creativity Via Displays

Serving high-end clientele demands a commitment to staying on the leading edge of design, and that's a demand Kitchens by Deane meets each day with its flagship showroom in Stamford, CT.

In fact, that's why the firm took second place in K&BDN's 2003 Industry Leadership Awards in the category of Most Innovative Showroom or Use of Displays.

The Stamford showroom makes full use of its corner location and resulting two glass walls. "The glass frontage allows for great views from the road, showcasing many displays," notes Robert Minicus of Minicus and Linder, also in Stamford. He's part of the 42-year-old company's marketing firm.

The showroom features 23 displays, including two complete working kitchens and several other working appliances and fixtures to offer clients a full, live experience. A working home theater display and working pub display are also part of the Stamford site.

"The overall collection of a myriad of styles and archetypes in 'environments,' not vignettes, makes the showroom unique," stresses Minicus.

Indeed, the showroom features styles ranging from traditional to ultra modern. In addition, it is designed in a circle, pulling clients "fluidly" around the space, tempting them with what's "around
the bend."

Kitchens by Deane also maintains a satellite showroom in New Canaan, CT. Both showrooms offer such diverse product lines as DBS, La Cornue and Pyro Lave, to name a few.

Third place (TIE): SouthEast Appliance Distributing

Showroom Offers Unique Resource for Consumers and the Trade

Billed as a resource center for consumers, builders and specifiers, the SouthEast Appliance Distributing showroom, based in Charlotte, NC, has become a "destination spot." Located in the Historic South End of Charlotte as part of the Design Center (a building that houses a host of design-related businesses), the 4,126-sq.-ft showroom features a variety of displays showcasing over 80 different appliances, including the company's three exclusive product lines Viking Range Corp., Franke and Miele.

Designed to allow visitors to "test drive" live appliances as well as view high-end cabinetry, marble, granite, tile, lighting and flooring from around the world in real kitchen settings, the showroom integrates unique viewing areas, including a "Pod"-style ring that enables customers to see the entire showroom from the elevated reception area.

The overall effect is so impressive, it won the company third-place honors in K&BDN's 2003 Industry Leadership Awards in the category of Most Innovative Showroom or Use of Displays.

Aiding the company's mission is a main live kitchen, which includes a 26-ft. island used for live-cooking demonstrations and consumer use-and-care classes. Perhaps the most unique aspects of the showroom, however, are two areas created to display the potential of appliances not only in the kitchen, but throughout the home.

The "Havanna Club," a room designed as a study, looks out onto the courtyard and features wine storage, a coffee system and icemaker. The live outdoor kitchen features grills, wok cookers, warming drawers and built-in storage drawers, among others.

State-of-the-art camera equipment is also utilized for demonstrations and training classes.

Third place (TIE): Apex Cabinet Co.

Location, Selection Highlight Appeal of Newly Opened Showroom

By moving his showroom from a location it had occupied for some 30 years to a newly built warehouse, office and showroom facility, Nick Sennert of Apex, NC-based Apex Cabinet Co. believes that he has found a home. Now, he wants his showroom to be home to his clients.

Part of "The Research Triangle," a research park rife with educated and discriminating clients, the showroom utilizes a "design hub" (complete with dark wood tones and strong lighting) at the center of its display area to create a comfortable selling and purchasing environment, notes Rick Jordan of Charlotte, NC-based Jordan Marketing Services.

Says Jordan about the 5,000-sq.-ft. showroom: "It reflects the company's commitment to excellence and the pathway to bring excellence into a home."

In fact, it is this commitment to excellence that has earned Apex Cabinet third-place honors in K&BDN's 2003 Industry Leadership Awards in the category of Most Innovative Showroom or Use of Displays.

For instance, Jordan points out, the showroom is home to 29 independent vignettes ranging from simple to extravagant and offers a host of high-end product lines, including Aristokraft, Decora, Diamond and Mouser.

"The layout has addressed current consumer demand by merchandising within the context of price, capability and innovation in design. By radiating around the design hub, product placement helps to qualify buyers without isolating them," he adds.

Jordan concludes: "It appeals to consumers at every level of the price spectrum, with products that demonstrate quality in an environment that focuses on the finished effect in their home."

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