Paul Lesieur sold his showroom building last year and rigged up a 23-foot-long truck to help prospective clients envision their dream kitchens. He drives it to their home, whips them up a coffee with its Miele espresso machine, and invites them into its cork-floored, sun-flooded kitchen (the truck has a fiberglass roof) complete with 40 cabinet door samples, 200 cabinet colors, 60 countertop chips, three stone backsplashes, and six kinds of lighting.
“I believe time-starved Americans are ready for a real ‘bring the showroom to you’ approach,” says Lesieur, of Silvertree Remodeling, a Minneapolis business since 1988. “[Other remodelers] say they can do this, but they drive up in a van with samples. I wanted to bring this to another level.”
Could Lesieur’s road-tripping adventure serve as a model for other remodelers who want to reduce overhead and deliver a unique experience?
His investment in the used delivery vehicle is around $10,000, with another few hundred dollars per month for insurance, storage, and gas. Even with lousy mileage, “that’s still way less than even a small showroom,” Lesieur says. The truck has a Wi-Fi–connected laptop and Bluetooth printer, but he does most paperwork in his comfortable home office.
Women especially love the truck, Lesieur says, and that’s no accident. He researched the concept at home shows, where women “overwhelmingly” gave it their thumbs-up.
Women also helped to design it. He invited home design professionals to a dinner and sought their suggestions. The truck features their donated or discounted products too, and in turn promotes their businesses through brochures in wall-mounted magazine racks.
Another partner, with more to come, Lesieur hopes, is a local bank that showcases the Silvertree Remodeling truck at its customer appreciation days.
—Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.