The Working Showroom
It’s all about the water. Flowing water. Working displays that demonstrate the movement and flow of water.
The first thing you see upon entering the Waterhouse Bath and Kitchen Studio in Perrysburg, OH, is a configuration of four functioning whirlpools. Both Pearl and Kohler products are represented.
Maumee Supply, Perrysburg, OH, has recently expanded, renovated and renamed its showroom, formerly known as The Kohler Bath House.
A tour of the showroom reveals three working bathrooms open to visitors, each with its own theme, each fully functional. The men’s restroom includes a waterless urinal; the women’s version is furnished with Kohler’s Kallista line of products and furniture; and the third is bright, clean, contemporary, minimalist and ADA-compliant.
In another area is a full-size gourmet kitchen vignette that allows for cooking demonstrations and hosting of events. Consumers can use the showroom for selling parties that feature products such as Pampered Chef or Tastefully Yours. A local realty firm has held a meeting in the facility. The idea is to bring people into the showroom and let word of mouth attract more customers, says Dion Wilson, showroom manager.
“When we redid this showroom, we focused on showing products that worked,” Wilson says. “Wherever we could have a working product we placed one, so the consumer could see how it reacts in the home environment.”
Wilson is referring to an expansion and renovation of the showroom that began in May 2006, adding 2,500 sq. ft. to bring its total size up to 7,000 sq. ft. The showroom first opened in 1976 as The Kohler Bath House, which the wholesaler says was the first plumbing fixture showroom of its kind in the region.
The company decided to change the name of the showroom to reflect its expansion and the fact that it carries more than Kohler products. Other lines featured include Delta and Brizo; Moen and ShowHouse; Duravit; Hansgrohe; Pearl; Basco shower doors; Newport Brass, Motiv and Ginger hardware; Vitraform glass sinks; Elkay; Santec; Grohe; Swanstone; and Julien.
The wholesaler discussed the showroom changes with interior designers in the area before the redesign. According to Wilson, interior designers have embraced the renovated showroom and are providing lots of referrals.
Waterhouse is one of only four Kohler Premier showrooms in Ohio, according to co-owner Greg Williams. As such, it can draw customers from hundreds of miles away while also increasing tourism and business in the region.
“About 13,000 cars pass us in a day,” Wilson says.
To capitalize on this benefit, the wholesaler has expanded the showroom’s hours and makes it a point to place attention-grabbing products in its front window displays. The showroom is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The showroom also boasts a knowledgeable, trained staff. Five of the six staff members have degrees in interior design.
To keep things fresh and interesting, most of the displays in the showroom are mobile, he notes. “We change out displays twice a year,” he says. “If something comes out that is really spectacular, we’ll look at how much is selling from our existing displays. If something hasn’t sold for a year, that display will be torn down and replaced.”
The showroom was updated both inside and outside. Its exterior, formerly khaki-tan with teal accents, is now stark white with stainless steel accents. An illuminated exterior sign with the store’s logo, Water2house Bath and Kitchen Studio, promotes the showroom.
“We were losing some of our customer base to outside markets,” Wilson notes. “People would go to Chicago or Detroit to shop for products. We wanted to give consumers a destination in northwest Ohio where they could find the same product as anywhere else.”
For more information, visit www.waterhousebks.com.