First place: Viking Range
Innovative Culinary Arts
Center Heats Up Appliance Buying
Viking Range Corp. has taken a novel approach to familiarizing
customers with its appliances through the operation of the Memphis,
TN-based Viking Culinary Arts Center (VCAC). Open a little more
than a year, VCAC, the only culinary arts center sponsored by an
appliance manufacturer, features a retail shop, a teaching kitchen,
a cooking theater and product displays.
With a host of products, programs, seminars and live displays,
the full-service VCAC makes appliance buying as appealing as a
gourmet meal a notable feat that has garnered Viking top honors in
Category Seven of K&BDN’s second annual Industry Leadership
Customers and potential customers can come to VCAC to view
cooking demonstration classes, offered by staff and guest chefs in
the theater. Students can also participate in one-day, three-day or
five-day cooking classes, receiving one-on-one instruction from
chefs and/or instructors. While there, students can “test drive”
the Viking professional-style appliances featured in the teaching
Product displays feature an array of Viking appliances, from
ranges to refrigerators. Once customers have become familiar with
the different appliances, they are then directed to dealers who can
assist them in purchasing any items of interest. In this way, the
facility enables Viking Range to assist distributors and dealers in
marketing Viking products and building product awareness.
“The demonstrations and classes offered have definitely led to
many customers purchasing Viking products,” comments Dean Howat of
Louis W. Howat & Son, Inc., a Louisiana-based distributor.
“Virtually every person who visits the school after coming into
the showroom purchases a Viking.”
To round out the kitchen, VCAC’s retail shop offers everything
the modern kitchen needs the top of the line in cookware, knives,
glasses, bakeware, utensils, small appliances and cookbooks.
There are currently two Viking Culinary Arts Centers in operation,
located in Memphis and Franklin, TN.
Second place: C.H. Briggs Hardware
Comprehensive Web Site Streamlines Customer Service
Entering the cyber age has been a challenge for many companies,
adding complications galore to an already complex industry.
However, taking advantage of the benefits of the cyber world can be
not only the ultimate challenge, it can also provide untold
At Reading, PA distributor C.H. Briggs, high tech doesn’t mean
high stress and, in fact, the streamlining of services provided by
the company’s Web site has been impressive enough to garner the
company second-place honors in Category Seven of K&BDN’s second
annual Industry Leadership Awards.
The business-to-business Internet site for C.H. Briggs,
www.chbriggs.com, has been operational for more than a year. It was
developed specifically to expand the company’s customer base, and
improve customer service. The site allows customers to place orders
and check pricing and availability 24 hours a day, every day, as
well as peruse the company’s full catalog, which is featured
online. When a customer places an order on the Internet site,
inventory is secured immediately, and is picked and shipped within
one day, according to the company.
In addition to these features, there are a host of other helpful
options included on the site. Customers can access links to
vendors, get answers to product support questions and view new
product and promotion pages.
This Web site makes C.H. Briggs the first distributor in the
industry to have real-time ordering capabilities, as well as the
ability to check pricing and availability of inventory. The reason
for this is simple, according to the company C.H. Briggs is
determined to make doing business with the company as easy as
possible. And that means using every tool available, both in “real
time” and in the cyber world.
Third place: SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool
Comprehensive Training Program Enhances Sales
Having well-trained people to sell your product is key to the
success of any business, and one taken very seriously by the
Coppell, TX-based SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool Bath. Particularly
when you’re selling a unique project, you need to be able to
articulate what differentiates that product in the market, the
It’s not just about selling FABs, it’s about educating potential
customers so that they can make the best choices for them choices
which will lead to increased customer satisfaction as well as
sales. And the first step in this process is comprehensive
To that end, SANIJET offers and actively promotes its Technical
& Sales Specialist Program, an ongoing in-house training
program for all primary and secondary sales personnel at the
showroom/retail level. The training program, which utilizes a
unique mobile showroom, won third-place honors in Category Seven of
K&BDN’s second annual Industry Leadership Awards.
Through the use of the traveling working showroom, SANIJET makes
presentations to architects, designers and builders, educating them
about the features and benefits of the Sanijet product.
The program’s objective is to reinforce the unique benefits of
the SANIJET Pipeless Whirlpool System, the company notes, adding
that this “show, don’t just tell”strategy leaves a more powerful
and lasting impression that helps to boost sales.
SANIJET believes that dealers and distributors who are extremely
product knowledgeable are a great asset, and can make highly
informed presentations. Taking product education and training to
this level encourages higher productivity, SANIJET believes, and
the company plans to continue its educational approach to