Our search is over.
It ended successfully, in its inaugural year, with the discovery of a Massachusetts-based kitchen and bath design firm whose overall excellence in design, management, sales, marketing and customer service is the stuff of inspiration and dreams for most dealerships.
Kitchen & Bath Design News, which conducted the year-long search, saw it end, similarly, at the doorstep of a kitchen and bath distributorship that has captured nationwide attention for redefining the way appliances and related products can be brought to market.
Our search didn't end there, however.
It went on to uncover a Michigan-based company whose well-conceived, innovative marketing efforts successfully combine advertising, promotion and special events for results that are both tangible and enviable.
Then the search revealed a pair of kitchen and bath retail firms whose unique and spectacular showrooms couldn't be any more different except for their common ability to excite customers and provoke sales.
Beyond that, there was the Illinois-based kitchen and bath dealer whose business management insights and willingness to take risks enabled him to literally reinvent his company . . . and the cabinet manufacturer who launched a support program that should serve as an industry model for assisting home builders and kitchen/bath
dealers in selling product . . . and the charitable organization that has provided home repairs and remodeling to low-income, physically challenged and elderly homeowners.
All of these efforts are being honored this month as the winning entries in Kitchen & Bath Design News' First Annual "Industry Leadership" Awards competition, an annual contest that was launched in 1999 and is aimed at honoring leadership excellence and outstanding industry achievement.
Each of the efforts honored and profiled this month by K&BDN (see coverage, Pages 57-66) is worthy of wholesale applause from an industry that should never stop seeking out and celebrating role models that epitomize vision, talent, resiliency, energy and the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.
The individuals, companies and organization K&BDN cites this month are precisely those kind of role models.
What they're not, needless to say, are average companies operated by run-of-the-mill business practices, mediocre personnel, small ideas and tired formulas.
Far from it.
What they are, in bold contrast, are those among us who've managed somehow to stand head and shoulders above the crowd . . . those who are defined by their commitment and their market savvy and their willingness to take risks . . . those who can serve as benchmarks against which our own efforts can be measured . . . those whose desire to attain excellence can serve as a source of enlightenment and inspiration to us all.
All of which, of course, eptimomizes what the word leadership is really all about.
The efforts that K&BDN honors this month reaffirm the comforting notion that the kitchen and bath industry consists, at its core, of a literal army of extraordinary people and companies who provide this kind of quiet, often heroic, leadership and who lift the industry, in their own small ways, to greater and greater heights.
These kind of people and companies should not be shrouded in anonymity any more, but should be recognized and singled out as a source of collective industry pride.
It's time for kitchen and bath industry leaders to step out of the shadows, and have a well-deserved spotlight shone on their accomplishments.
Kitchen & Bath Design News is delighted that our inaugural "Industry Leadership Awards" competition can help in some small way to accomplish that task.
Our search is over.