At a Big50 Remodeling Leadership Conference a few years ago, Linda Gridley had an "Aha!" moment. When asked to imagine remodeling in the future, Gridley, president of the design/build Gridley Co., in Campbell, Calif., realized that convenience was going to be important for great customer care. "We’re going to have to go to them," Gridley says. Soon after that meeting, she purchased a 22-foot-long 10-foot-high motor home tricked out with air conditioning, a full kitchen, bathroom, beds, and cabinetry.
The outside is covered in a vehicle wrap designed in pastel colors with a graphic that reads "Gridley Company Mobile Design Center" and which, along with the four-wheeled novelty, is quickly making Gridley Co. a noticeable brand. Fueled by bio-diesel at an efficient 22-miles to the gallon, Gridley uses the coach as her commuter car.
She goes on first calls in the mobile center, but it’s not until clients have signed on that she allows them inside. There they are treated to virtual walk-throughs in Chief Architect on a 26-inch monitor, and can glance through the company’s portfolio and view a limited number of selections. The kitchen, now with laminate countertops, will be upgraded with granite and other higher-end products. "It’s not a selections center yet," Gridley says, "since it’s hard to pack with too many samples. But our designer and architect come on calls. We can be on site and designing at the same time."
The best thing is the buzz that’s being created in this Silicon Valley suburb. "A [prospective client’s neighbor] called recently to say she had seen my mobile design center in front of her house, and she wanted to talk to me," Gridley says. "People want to get in it. I can’t tell you how much business I’ve gotten from it, but people are talking. It’s created some excitement."