Since the introduction of a special pricing program for contractors and the recent remodeling of its showroom, about 70% of the sales written by showroom salespeople at County Supply (Lowell, Mass.) are billed to contractor accounts, while the other 30% is in retail sales.
"We have seen tremendous growth in sales for both the contractor and retail side in the last five years since we introduced our Choice program and remodeled the showroom," said Kevin Geoffroy, marketing manager.
With the Choice program, the wholesaler and contractor discuss how to handle variables in the fixtures specified for a project before the homeowner visits the showroom. This prepares the showroom staff for handling upgrades, such as when the homeowner chooses an 8-in. center-set faucet instead of the 4-in. center-set faucet specified by the builder.
"We handle the fixture and labor part," Geoffroy said. "We keep the builders and plumbers in the loop with information about the project. We send paperwork to the plumber to show him how much money he made on fixtures and labor. From the contractors and builders standpoint, when closing they don't have to do an accounting with the plumber because that has been handled up front."
The showroom is dedicated to supporting the wholesaler's trade customers by protecting their margins on any products sold by its showroom staff, said Bill Curry, president. "With our Choice program, we put the needs of the wholesale trade before the retail customer."
Earlier this year County Supply gutted and redesigned its existing showroom at 1035 Westford Street in Lowell and renamed it Choices, a bath and lighting showroom. A grand reopening for the facility, which occupies 6,000 sq. ft. including office space, was held in April. Five full-time and two part-time salespeople, two receptionists and a manager staff the showroom.
A line of lighting products targeted for the new construction and remodeling markets was added at the beginning of the year, in response to requests from builders.
The redesigned showroom features working displays from manufacturers including American Standard, Pearl, LASCO, Hubbardton Forge, Casablanca and Seagull.
Now the wholesaler is in the process of developing a Web site for the showroom, Geoffroy said.