Family Business Sells Diversity from Top to Bottom

Family Business Sells Diversity from Top to Bottom

By John Filippelli

You see, Kienzl president and owner of Bradco Kitchens & Baths and a product of Austria knows that diversity is what gives his business the vision to satisfy the diverse needs and desires of his own customers, many of whom believe that "something different" is essential to creating their dream spaces. He employs some 30 staff members from various cultures and backgrounds including an in-house construction team, designers and architect and operates an ancillary construction business, an import business and a wood shop, all of which support each others success.

The company's 6,500-sq.-ft. showroom allows Kienzl to display a wide variety of products, both domestic and imported, while showcasing his designers' abilities and employees' product knowledge. Offerings include items from Caesarstone, Bertch, Franke, Azzura, Moen, Vasser and UltraCraft.

Though it is based in a wealthy community, Kienzl notes that the company specializes in custom new construction and remodeling for all types of budgets, from middle-income to very high-end.

"Our showroom looks expensive, but we have something for everybody," he proclaims. "We believe you should only offer customers what they can afford, which means we need to carry a large variety of products."

Therefore, Kienzl along with his wife and daughter who serve as CFO and advertising/promotions coordinator, respectively bills the firm as a one-stop shopping destination offering design service "from concept to completion."

This philosophy, he adds, allows him to customize every detail of a project, with offerings that vary from a Spanish Colonial custom cabinet line to tiles created in Bradco's custom tile studio.

According to Kienzl, one of the unique aspects of the firm is how it benefits from his ancillary import business, construction company and wood shop. "I own my own import company, so many of those products are not available anywhere else," he says. "For example, our cabinets are from Israel and feature high-pressure, plywood construction. "

He adds, "We also exclusively import and distribute Tomassi Cucine, Topaz [cabinets], Harsa [sinks] and Mina [faucets]."

Referring to B&R Construction, the construction company he started in 1992, Kienzl says, "The construction company does all of the installations of the items we sell." He leverages that ability by running "specials" each month to entice customers.

"Some of the deals are interesting," he notes, "such as, 'buy a Tomassi kitchen and the installation is free.' And, we also have our own wood shop, which gives us the ability to customize items, as well."

'Rising star'
Eli's Tiles, the custom tile shop that Kienzl connected to the showroom in 2000, has become a rising star for the firm, he notes. "As our tile designer says, 'The only machines we use, besides the kilns, are rolling pins.' But, we're very sophisticated; we have rolling pins in three sizes," Kienzl jokes.\

He continues, "The custom tile studio is open to everyone, and they can see the process of how the tiles are designed and made."

However, computer simulations are used to see how ideas play out. Once an idea is conceived, the tiles can range from flat to 3-D, and all play with color and style from Persian to Celtic designs. In fact, the tiles are so unique, according to Kienzl, that last summer, a tile with a shoe design was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for inclusion in the Warhol exhibit.

As an added benefit, the tile designer also works for the construction company, which makes it a seamless process from creation to installation, according to Kienzl.

Out of the ordinary
Designed by Kienzl and his design staff, the Bradco Kitchens & Baths showroom offers a unique experience for clients, he points out. "It consists of several rooms and features exposed brick walls, open rafters and high ceilings. It also includes some personal touches, such as sponge-painted walls and concrete floors.

"The showroom features several working displays, such as a fully working kitchen with a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, as well as an area featuring a working Kohler Sok tub," Kienzl comments. "In addition, we accessorize all of the areas to make [the overall look] very attractive."

As an example, he describes the front of the showroom, which features the company's tiles, plus the company logo and big wood doors with iron handles. "We always make sure the displays in our storefront are eye-catching," he states.

Once customers enter the showroom, however, the real show begins. Kienzl prides himself on offering the latest in product and design innovations information he picks up from his extensive travels to trade shows. He also focuses on the company's tireless work ethic, which ensures that clients are happy.

"We may say our showroom is open 8 to 5, but that's not really true," he notes. "We're open whenever our customer needs us to be." He laughingly recalls that, when Bradco first opened, he received calls from his credit card company inquiring as to why transactions were being done in the middle of the night. But, for Kienzl, this flexibility translates to all aspects of the firm and its designs.

"The most interesting projects are when we can solve a problem and come up with a solution," he says.

To accomplish this, Kienzl notes, "We have professional designers who use state-of-the-art computer programs (20-20 and Astia) that give 3-D views and elevations of each project before anything is ordered." He adds that the 20-20 program is used exclusively for U.S. imports and the Astia software is used for foreign imports.

Radio days
While the company has primarily relied on word-of-mouth and walk-in business, it utilizes its highly successful radio ad campaign to generate more traffic in the showroom. Featuring Kienzl talking with a "friend" and discussing what is new at the company, the spots run on two local radio stations, with 16 spots running per month on each.

The company also advertises in the Yellow Pages, as well as in upscale magazines.

Says Kienzl: "This year, we've started targeting the design and architecture communities and have hosted events for the Los Angeles AIA with L.A. Architect magazine, the Los Angeles chapter of the ASID and for the L.A. Design Group."

The company has also hired a publicist in order to gain additional local and national coverage.

He notes that this visibility has led to the firm being invited to create two kitchens for L.A. Magazine's Design House 2003, a charitable project that will be open to the public for two weeks early next month.

The firm has even appeared on two episodes of "Designers Challenge," on HGTV the result, Kienzl believes, of the company's unique, and diverse, philosophy. 

Bradco Kitchens & Baths

Location: 6011 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Michael Kienzl, owner/president; Amelia Kienzl, CFO
Showrooms: One
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. 5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.; Sat., 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Employees: 12 showroom employees plus 16 in-house installers
Design software: 20/20, Astia
Business Philosophy: "Concept to completion, satisfaction guaranteed."