American Standard chose Champion, Mich., to be the official home of “America's Best Flushing Families.” The company arranged for the installation of 115 of its Champion® toilets for a consumer satisfaction test.

Local plumbers installed the toilets in private homes and small businesses, including the firehouse, retail stores, the Champion Lion's Club and Sacred Heart Church. Participating residents and business owners agreed to complete satisfaction surveys and measure their water usage through the end of the year.

U.P. Electric/Wittock Supply Co., based in Iron Mountain, Mich., stocked and shipped the toilets to the plumbing contractors. The 54-year-old plumbing, heating and electrical wholesaler serves the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. It is a division of Standard Electric, Saginaw, Mich., an electrical distributor with 16 locations in lower Michigan. U.P. Electric/Wittock Supply, which operates four locations in Michigan - Iron Mountain, Marquette, Sault Sainte Marie and Escanaba - is a member of the American Supply Association and the Embassy buying group.

“American Standard came up with this idea,” said Mike Horton, general manager at U.P. Electric/ Wittock Supply, pictured at left. “They contacted the township manager for Champion and mailed a letter to all of the homeowners in the area.

“Our sales of Champion toilets have increased 50% as a direct result of this promotion,” he said. “Now we are having a hard time keeping them on the shelves.”

The most frequent toilet-related complaint among Champion residents was having to flush more than once, followed closely by clogged toilets, according to an initial survey by American Standard. Of the 80% of survey respondents who reported owning a plunger, about 40% said they use it a few times a year, while 23% said they use the plunger weekly.

According to research conducted for American Standard by Caravan® ORC International in 2003, about one in three people experience regular problems with their toilets, and one in 10 claim that their toilet's flapper and chain needs to be tinkered with frequently in order to work properly.

On average, Champion residents were living with toilets more than 11 years old. These did not meet the current 1.6 gallons-per-flush regulations, a concern in an area where most residents closely monitor their well water usage.

American Standard's Champion toilet features America's Best™ flushing system. The toilet has a proprietary “flush tower” that replaces the floating ball-and-chain system; an extra large flush valve; and a large siphon outlet without any “choke points,” which virtually eliminates the need for plungers, according to the company. It comes with a 10-year warranty.

While all of the participants will be able to keep their toilets, one family will be selected to win the grand prize: an American Standard bathroom suite.

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