When Dan Luck began planning a move for his kitchen and bath remodeling company into a new building in Madison, Wis., he knew it would give his company a higher profile, so he wanted to create a showroom that had presence. The president of Bella Domicile visited more than 20 showrooms in the Chicago area for ideas. He analyzed how customers were greeted, layouts, traffic, location of designers, and location of samples.
The result of his research is a new 5,000-square-foot space that includes a showroom, a selections room, and offices for designers. He assigned a different area to each of his designers. “It was part of my rationale that they would take ownership of the showroom. We would get together as a committee to critique each design,” he says. He also hired six of the community's top interior designers to help choose wall coverings, flooring, countertops, paint, and accessories. “It took a lot of pressure off us. They are more aware of our work, and if they need to show clients some of their work and they can't get into a home, they can bring prospects here,” Luck says. Overall, he concentrated on good flow. “We wanted to invite people in to the first display but have that pull them into other displays,” he says.
Under One Roof Reception Area: In his visits to other showrooms, Luck saw reception areas located toward the back or middle of the showroom, or no reception area at all. He placed his to the right of the front door, so visitors are greeted upon entry. The showroom coordinator/greeter staffs the area. This person is assigned to find out the customer's needs and to introduce them to a designer. The coordinator also keeps samples up to date.
Themes: Luck made sure to display a range of styles in the showroom including rustic, modern, cottage, French provincial, arts and crafts, neoclassical, old world, transitional, and contemporary. “This is based on what we have seen in our local market area and what we thought the market needed to see with regional trends,” he says. The new showroom gave him an opportunity to add a new custom cabinet line called Dutch Made. “We saw a need to offer something more upscale. Our new showroom is more upscale and a better fit with this line than our old showroom,” he explains.
Presentation Area: Luck included a separate conference room with a screen and projector for multimedia design presentations. A wet bar showcases the company's work and creates a space for entertaining.
Working Kitchen: From his research, Luck noticed that in other showrooms, the working kitchen looked worn. He chose to place his kitchen in an area separate from the display floor. The working kitchen has Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Fisher & Paykel appliances. The staff uses it as a kitchen and for in-house demonstration. In addition, designers can use the kitchen to show customers how the appliances operate.
Selections Space: Luck's running theme for the show floor is “no clutter.” To accomplish this, he included a separate room to house door, granite, and hardware samples. He also does not include signs on any of the displays. The room has a large 10-by-4-foot table so clients can easily view their selections.
Kids Area: Luck knew he needed a play area for children so their parents could view the displays without distraction. He decided to create the space with real cabinets placed at a low height and include a television and a VCR. He stocked the area with toy pots, pans, and dishes. He also installed a large window between the play area and the selections room so parents can see their kids.