Gardner Builders, like many remodelers, has its own office and showroom space, with one unusual feature: It’s located in the Michigan Design Center, a facility that brings together more than 35 showrooms.
“It’s a collection of all kinds of furniture, tile, and textiles where designers can bring their clients,” company President Lori Gardner says. “We are the first builder that has been in the design center.”
Gardner adds that having space in the design center has also helped get the company’s name out to potential clients. The center sends emails to thousands of people involved in the building industry. It also has its own magazine, which Gardner says her company contributes to. Gardner Builders has easy access to all other businesses in the building and has displayed its custom cabinetry line in the design center’s resource center, which presents small vignettes to show clients.
Gardner plans to expand the space to include more showroom displays in the coming years. She refers to the office space as “the bullpen”: Desks are nestled into one area that’s equipped with a TV monitor. The team puts sketches, drawings, and photos on the monitor so that everyone can see and discuss the design at once, which helps increase efficiency, Gardner says.
Even before the firm rented space in the design center, Gardner would bring her clients there to select tile or other products for their remodels. And many of those clients have become customers for life.
“I send a quarterly update to past customers,” Gardner says. “All the clients we initially did business with in 1992 are still getting information from us.”
The persistence and regular communication have paid off. “Some people have called up from 15 years ago and said, ‘Hey, I need you to do a project for me.’”