Credit: courtesy Blackdog Builders
David Bryan estimates that additional revenue from kitchen and bath remodeling will earn his company roughly twice the sales volume of the cabinets sold out of the new showroom.
Almost two years ago, David Bryan took a risk in a down-market and opened a new showroom in a high-traffic area in nearby Amherst. “This year will be a telling year,” says the president of Blackdog Builders, noting that 2011 will reflect a full year of sales at that location.
The company’s main Salem showroom has five designers, including Bryan. The Amherst showroom has a manager, one administrative person, a commissioned salesperson, and a production team (relocated from Salem).
Amherst manager Amy McNamara, previously the Salem showroom manager, designed the refit of the showroom and runs it on a tight budget. “I’m giving her a share of the profit, which is currently theoretical,” Bryan says. Though demanding, the work allows McNamara to try something outside of sales and to make more money. “It’s a great opportunity to reward an employee to be more and to do more,” Bryan says.
Purchase & Investment
$40,000: Cost of finished showroom from the previous cabinet company tenant, including existing displays, computers, software, copiers, a phone system, and a truck.
$25,000: Cost to modify the building. “If we did this in five years, we’re looking at $250,000 to get it off the ground to build up. That’s not even comparable,” owner David Bryan says.
He is using a cable TV campaign, home shows, newspaper inserts, and consumer seminars to promote the new showroom, and is encouraged by the amount of name recognition Blackdog had during a recent home show.
But in addition to financial considerations, Bryan worries that the new location will dilute his energy and focus — he spends one day a week in Amherst to support the staff there. Though he intellectually understood the costs associated with the new venture, he says it’s still tough to have debt in a lean time. He says that it’s still too soon to tell if the new showroom was a good move, but adds, “This year we have a decent opportunity to break even.”
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.