Archive for the ‘Dealer/Rep Spotlight’ Category
For the past 8 years, Modern Plumbing Supply in Berlin, CT has helped the children at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center by donating a percentage of sales as well by collecting new teddy bears (or any new stuffed animal) to give to the kids.
BLANCO is proud to support these fundraising efforts by donating teddy bears to Modern Supply for the children at the medical center.
“We all tend to get caught up in our own world. Between our own personal and business lives, it’s sometimes too easy to forget about how others are doing,” says David Berger, President of Modern Plumbing Supply. “This collection we do every year helps us put everything in perspective.”
The donations and teddy bears will be given to the hospital this weekend during their 10th Annual Labor Day Radiothon.
For more information on Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Labor Day Radiothon or to make a donation, please click here: http://www.connecticutchildrensfoundation.org/radiothon
BLANCO, German manufacturer of luxury sinks and faucets, is pleased to announce the hiring of Soter-Martin, the eminent Virginia based sales and marketing organization with a proven track record of quality representation and customer satisfaction.
- Soter-Martin serves the Virginia, Washington D.C and Maryland territories, and Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware.
- The company maintains close alliances with over 16 major manufacturers and offers a 35-year track record of quality service
- Current member of six well known professional organizations including the National Association of Home Builders
“We are excited about teaming up with BLANCO,” states Rick Martin, president of Soter-Martin. “BLANCO’s high standards and innovative styles will be a perfect fit for our clients who desire quality design products.”
“Soter-Martin is ideal for BLANCO in many ways,” states Tim Ahearn, national sales manager for BLANCO. “Their ambitious team, strong industry connections and devoted customer relations will give us exactly the kind of incomparable service we are looking for. It’s always a good feeling to add to the BLANCO family of professionals another group with quality credentials and the passion to succeed.”
For information on Soter-Martin, please visit their website at www.sotermartin.com.
Bespoke’s showroom opened on September 23, 2010. All of the cabinetry, flooring, millwork, paneling and other decorative elements are made locally in their workshop in Saint Paul, MN. The story behind Bespoke is one of passion and defying the odds. Bespoke began in 1999 in California. Keith Morgan, the owner, arrived at LAX from England with $1200.00 and a dream to create the most beautiful and well-made cabinetry and furniture that he could envision. After years of hard work, sleepless night and no small amount of luck, Bespoke is creating such a product. We asked Bespoke a few questions about their design vision and plans for their new showroom.
What are your plans for the new showroom ongoing ?
Our showroom is intended to serve multiple functions. First, it is where we display our work. Because our product is so unique, it is incredibly important for people to see it so that they can understand precisely what makes it different from all other cabinetry. Second, our showroom also displays the products of other vendors that we trust and use. We want to make sure that we make their products look as fabulous as we possibly can. Third, the showroom is a social space. It was specifically designed to feel like a home, and not like a showroom. We host numerous events in the space, and we also allow other businesses or individuals to host events in the space as well if they are looking for a truly unique party space. What clients and potential clients will find when coming to this space is an innovative and beautiful product that is equal parts art and cabinetry. They will also find that we have a highly personalized approach to kitchen design. Everything from the height of the base trim to the depth of the cabinets is specifically tailored to the individual who commissioned them.
Blanco melds very well with Bespoke’s design philosophy. The lines of the sinks are clean and classic, and they fit very well with any style of cabinetry, whether contemporary or traditional. As each cabinetry commission that we produce is unique, it’s reassuring to know that we can rely upon the Blanco product no matter how imaginative or unconventional the kitchen design may be. We also pride ourselves on producing the most beautiful and well-made product that we can conceive of, and it is comforting us to know that the Blanco sinks that we spec in our kitchens are of the same high quality.
What would you want to tell BLANCO fans about your designs, your projects, your showroom, upcoming events, etc.?
We installed a kitchen recently in one of the homes in the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. We are both excited and humbled that our product was chosen for such a prestigious and historically important location. The entire city of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its Georgian Architecture is simply stunning.
There are several must-have kitchen items that come to mind. First is a built-in breadbox. Breadboxes are lovely, elegant, luxurious and small throw back to a more refined epoch. They can add much to a kitchen, and can either be very budget conscious or simply extravagant, like a Faberge egg. Another item would be a built-in butcher block with an integrated scale. Butcher blocks are a fantastic addition to any kitchen because they are immensely practical and, when done by Bespoke, also incredibly beautiful.
Born in 2009, Fixtures Living is setting a new precedent in the home living industry by offering customers a 360-degree experience that focuses on how they want to live, rather than what they want to buy. Fixtures Living is headquartered in Southern California with its main showroom located in San Diego, a second showroom in Rancho Mirage and their newest showroom planned in Costa Mesa. Upon opening in mid-2011, the 20,000-square-foot Orange County location will become Fixtures Living’s largest showroom and marks the company’s third store since first launching two years ago. We asked Danny Swaim, Vice President of Business Development to comment on BLANCO and their favorite “must have” kitchen element.
Q: What is it about BLANCO that goes with your design point of view?
A: BLANCO continually brings innovative products to market that are great looking, extremely durable and functional at the same time. We display BLANCO in a number of our kitchen vignettes as well as our sink/faucet area as we feel it’s important to allow customers to physically interact and test out the products they are considering for their homes. BLANCO’s sinks and faucets are inclusive of what a consumer wants for the most active space in their kitchen. Their products can fit into almost every design; from a Tuscan kitchen to the most minimalistic kitchen.
A: We believe that the BLANCO SILGRANIT sinks are must-haves in our customer’s kitchens. They are cutting edge and have led a transformation of what consumers want to see in their kitchen sink – it can be aesthetically pleasing, extremely durable and functional all at the same time.
Throughout the New York Metropolitan area, AF New York (AFNY) – the select division of the AF Supply Corporation – is recognized as one of the premiere showrooms for kitchen and bath products, tile and architectural hardware. This past month at ICFF in New York, AFNY thrilled designers with its PURA VIDA book launch. PURA VIDA is a conceptual artistic endeavor – a photographic essay of human scars, tattoos and their stories as interpreted by photographer Tasja Keetman. We had the opportunity to speak to AFNY Principal, Bennett Friedman about AFNY and the book launch.
Bennett, AFNY is a landmark in New York’s design community. Tell us a little about growing up in this third generation family-owned business? “My grandfather had a solid vision when he founded AF Supply that included ethical, hard work – taking care of customers and business. Those things haven’t changed in 88 years. My dad is 91 and only semi-retired. He still keeps an eye on the business from his kitchen table. My brothers are also smart, passionate and caring. And not just about our customers – but about our vendors too. We treat vendors as true partners. Growing up, the warehouse was summer camp for us. We had all kinds of sports including washing bathrooms and shelving products. My father firmly believed we needed a background in business. We weren’t coddled. All of us had a stint in business through college and high school.”
How does AFNY differentiate itself? “AFNY is a brand – a culture that is about innovation, change, service and a philosophy to provide greater value to our customers through our extensive knowledge and selection. We offer value to clients in practical ways that differentiates us from traditional venues, ecommerce, home centers, etc. We are an SAP run company. Same as large multinational companies. But it’s not about using technology. It’s the culture. We are proactive in an industry that’s reactive. We employ over 200 people – but our family values haven’t changed.”
How did you become involved with the PURA VIDA project? “All year long we do events at the AFNY showroom including brand launches, CEU credit presentations and more. Over the past 7 or 8 years at ICFF, we’ve coordinated an outside event for designers that would be fun, cultural and a destination. Our AFNY brand and our image is a fusion of art and design that appeals to a more sophisticated customer. Events like the PURA VIDA launch extend our brand image, offer an opportunity to interact with our audience and make us a must-see stop on the ICFF event circuit.”
4. The PURA VIDA book is pure art. To describe it for our audience. Imagine a book of up close scar images. The embossed title is itself a scar on the cover. The binding is open with a visible, scar-like red thread running through. The pages are perforated together so you are forced to physically tear the book open to read it. Scarring your own personal copy of the book from inception. But the book is not meant to shock. It’s human stories told by the scar-bearers themselves. It is about healing and the spirit of renewal.
Bennett, tell us why projects like this are important to you and to AFNY. “PURA VIDA is about life. Scars are landmarks in our life. The ability to be injured, healed and to grow. Over 2,000 people volunteered to be photographed for the book including myself. We achieved over 1,500 images which were narrowed to 62. There’s no commercial message behind the book launch. PURA VIDA gives our clientele a view of our culture – it’s about innovation and design – about being perceived as on the leading edge. It’s not a typical book, just as we are not a typical company. It took nearly 4 years to complete this project and we have several more art and fashion projects in the making.”
Tell us a little about the BLANCO portfolio of products at AFNY. “I think BLANCO is recognized as an innovative company. We like to associate with companies like BLANCO where the quality of company is instilled in the culture and product ingenuity… and in the quality of their people.”
Banner Plumbing Supply, Buffalo Grove, IL
This week, we are spotlighting Michelle Henderson and Banner Plumbing Supply – Chicagoland’s largest plumbing supply center. Banner started over 60 years ago on the South side of Chicago – and from those humble beginnings grew to 2 branches, a 15,000 square foot showroom, 20 delivery trucks and over 125,000 square feet of warehouse space. With a wide array of nearly 100 live fixtures, you can turn on 50 showerheads or flush more than 10 working toilets in their stunning new Buffalo Grove showroom. Consumers and design professionals alike rely on highly trained personnel – like Michelle – who can answer just about any decorative plumbing question.
Question: What are the biggest challenges you face daily?
Michelle: Buyers Beware: Sink Quality Does Matter…
One of the largest challenges we face in helping a client with kitchen sink selection is the influx of imported low quality sinks out in the marketplace. Buyers need to be aware that a free sink is worth just that – and if the countertop is cut out to fit a low-end sink – they may be stuck with it. We find it very rewarding to help a client work through how they use their kitchen sink and faucet to find the product that will best serve their needs.
Question: How do you go about matching a sink or faucet to someone’s needs?
Michelle: Let’s talk faucet!
When helping a client select a kitchen faucet, I begin the process by discussing the function, features and benefits of a single handle, two handle, pull out, pull down and a traditional faucet with a side spray. Once we have landed on our desired function we then talk about finish and design. Some of the key things we talk about in regard to the pull outs and pull downs are the ergonomic feel of the spray toggle, how easily the head retracts to the body and if it stays retracted and the latest technology that is in the marketplace. In regard to finish and style it is very personal to the client’s taste.
I have been seeing more and more a preference for a softer contemporary or cleaner traditional. There has been an uptick in more rustic finishes (like oil rubbed bronze) on clean lined product—which is a departure from what the trend has been with the oil rubbed on a more traditional product. With the green movement taking hold we have seen an increase in the desire for matching point of use filtration dispensers–there are too many water bottles occupying our landfills and clients want to cook with the best water they can for their families.
Michelle: Let’s talk sink!
When we move to the kitchen sink there are many variables that factor into the right selection. One main topic is how they use their current sink. Does everything go into the dishwasher? Do they hand wash larger items? If they use a disposal in which direction do they rinse, scrape and load? It is so important to have this dialogue because if the wrong product is selected it upsets the routine and it is my goal to enhance our customer’s lives, not disrupt it.
Question: What’s the hottest sink trend out there?
Michelle: GRANITE! COLOR!
With the introduction of BLANCO’s SILGRANIT® II sinks we are now accommodating a whole new range of customers. The beautiful color options now available are very complimentary to the granite tops and glazes on their cabinetry. Having the sink pick up a color that is a small detail elsewhere really lends itself to that complete design look.
Also the new technology of MicroEdge™ has been well received with our clients for many reasons. One of which is the sleek clean look, but the biggest is due to the fact that many clients are not fans of the visible silicone in the reveal of the sink and if the reveal is not present they are not happy with the potential of bacterial build up under the edge of the granite. The FLOW has also been a real eye catcher for clients as well. I attribute this to the ease of wiping down the drain board area—not to mention the great look.
Question: What’s Your Favorite Sink?
Michelle: BLANCO ARCON™ Super Single.
My favorite is the ARCON series – it has displayed well in our showroom too. Let’s face it…. People want something different or special—that is why they spending the money to remodel their kitchen. With the great curved lines of the ARCON series they can make the sink the focal point of the kitchen.
About Michelle Henderson
Michelle got her start in the industry 15 years ago at a small kitchen and bath dealership before she moved on to work in plumbing supply. Interior Design schooling and project experience helped her land her current position at Banner where she manages their 15,000 square foot showroom.
About Banner Plumbing Supply
Banner was founded in 1947 by Charles Greenspon in the south side of Chicago in a 3 flat where three employees loaded and unloaded pipe out of the basement window. Today Banner has grown from that small location on the South side to have over 80 employees and a wonderful reputation for excellence in customer service. Their 15,000 square foot showroom is the largest in the Chicago market, but it is also very accessible and interactive.
BLANCO, German innovator of quality engineered stainless steel since 1925, will partner with Battersby Danielson & Associates in Indiana (excluding Counties of Lake, Porter, and La Porte) effective December 1, 2009.
BLANCO has worked aggressively to increase their share of market in the United States, partnering with premium sales groups and rep firms throughout the country. As part of this strategy, BLANCO launched an exciting array of new products in 2009, including the award-winning MicroEdge™ technology and SILGRANIT® II. In addition, BLANCO launched their exclusive STEELART® line of sinks and faucets at the 2009 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.
Kevin Madsen, Central Regional Sales Manager for BLANCO states, “Battersby Danielson & Associates offers an exceptional level of service for our markets in Indiana and we look forward to joining the stable of premium brands that they represent.“
Battersby Danielson & Associates represents premium brands in the plumbing & heating industry, calling on architects/engineers, builders, plumbing & heating retailers, manufactured housing and wholesalers. They are located in Indianapolis, IN.
Located in the heart of Denver’s cultural theater district, the new Four Seasons is a 45-story landmark hotel and home to 102 spectacular private residences. BLANCO PERFORMA and PRECISION™ sinks are among the prestigious luxury amenities that are part of “living a Four Seasons Life.” A carefree lifestyle that combines the convenience and culture of city living with active outdoor escapes and the 24/7 attention of the legendary Four Seasons’ staff.
Located on floors 18 to 45, Four Seasons Private Residences inspires with stunning interiors and wall-to-wall windows that open to breathtaking Rocky Mountain and cityscape views. The collection of 102 Private Residences includes one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans, ranging from one-bedrooms of approximately 964 sq. ft. to approximately 5,171 sq. ft. Each square foot of the Private Residences has been carefully thought out by the award-winning designers of Clausen-Chewning. Craig Iverson, Architectural Design Sales and EuroBath & Tile worked closely with the design team to incorporate BLANCO into this exceptional project.
EuroBath & Tile recently held an open house event, October 14th, prior to the DPHA show in Colorado Springs. The open house was held in their Denver, CO showroom. (EuroBath & Tile has two showrooms – Denver and Avon (Vail) with a third showroom opening November 1st in Boulder.) BLANCO sales representatives, Craig Iverson and Jane Horton from Architectural Design Sales assisted with the open house which featured the new FLOW™ sink. The event attracted 400 designers, architects, specifiers and DPHA board members.
Architectural Design Sales, based in Denver and Salt Lake City, is viewed as a leading specification firm within the Rocky Mountain Markets. One of the keys to their success is that half of their time is spent training showroom staff to specify their client’s products, with another 30% of their time devoted to architects on project work (like their tremendous placement with the Four Seasons Private Residences that will be in a future blog story!) and the remaining 20% with commercial/distributor sales people. We asked Craig Iverson, Principle, Architectural Design Sales, to provide his insights on Successful Sales Practices.
Q: Describe the sales tactics you find are most successful in your market.
A: We target each market channel in a unique way. First, we identify the key influencers, i.e. multi-unit inner city architects and interior design firms and we maintain communications with every contact. We don’t take the wholesales for granted either since they are always changing. We know the showroom sales staff for both residential and commercial and we make sure we keep them updated and informed. We make ourselves available for “counter days” and events. For the decorative kitchen & bath showrooms, we recognize that it requires a large investment in time and training designed to meet their clients’ needs and expectations. This is a competitive environment for branded products – especially to obtain key display positions – and YES, we are pushy for space and update meetings. We position ourselves as an asset to every sales person, a trusted partner they can rely upon. To enhance this strategy, we join industry associations including the AIA, ASID, NKBA and DPHA.
Q: In what ways does your team interact with customers in order to drive sales?
A: What Works: Become a trusted partner with each decision maker to support their efforts and attain joint goals, but also be aware that you will not “win them all” – even though you can win most. What Does Not Work: If you lack sincerity in your business relationship. Specifiers and end users have many choices. You have to really want to work with your clients to be at the top of their list ongoing.
Q: Where do you see the market going in the next 6 months?
A: We are focused on select opportunities in all channels. Sure, there aren’t as many as one-two years ago, but they are in play. Gross profits are very important, more so than in past years. We really think the coming six months will be every bit as challenging as the past 12 months. Sales are going to be limited to the individual event (one to eight units per specification). For the near future, holiday budgets and household commitments will constrict plans of renewal resulting in cool business conditions. April to May should be the business wake up time frame for pent-up renewals.
Maintaining and expanding current accounts is critical for success. Quality name brands, like BLANCO, will survive with consistent attention. We see SILGRANIT® II is the core product to keep our business moving forward for the near future recovery.
About Architectural Design Sales
Architectural Design Sales was established in 1984 and has four full time sales associates. The principle is Craig Iverson and their territory includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. http://www.archdesignsales.com/