Last month we shared the results of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES' 2006 wholesaler showroom survey. For the first time, we shared the results of virtually every question from the survey. I have spent several hours comparing the 2006 results to the 2003 and the 2000 surveys. As you might expect, there were some surprises and a few disappointments. Please keep in mind that the opinions are those of this writer only. I try to use my 40+ years of experience in the industry, including 17 years of owning and operating my own showroom business and the past 10 years spent jetting around the United States and Canada to consult and teach workshops - all showroom related. I visit a lot of showrooms, talk with a lot of people and have developed some pretty strong opinions as to what formula makes a well-run showroom business. Certainly there are some differences due to the demographics, progressiveness and attitudes in various parts of the United States and Canada.
One absolute fact is that showrooms are finally becoming a more important part of many wholesalers' business strategies. People are recognizing the wonderful revenue potential. They see opportunities and they're jumping on them. Most have come to recognize that the showroom business is very different from the wholesale business. Showrooms are really retail - whether they sell to the trades only or have opened up the doors to all potential customers. Homeowners are coming into the showroom - specifying the products they want and can afford.
Maybe you've picked up over the last 12 years of reading these articles that I have a huge passion for the wholesale industry in general and especially the showroom side of it.
Each year we (SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES and this writer) refine and try to improve this survey - so all the survey questions are not exactly alike. Therefore, in some cases we can't make an apples-to-apples comparison of the 2006 survey to surveys of the past. This is the only survey of its kind. These are the only benchmarks you'll have to compare your showrooms against. I hope you enjoy absorbing these facts as much as I have putting them together.
Comparison And Analysis
Read Part III of the Showroom Survey in November SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES.