Long Island City, NY — By the time he founded Gallery Kitchen & Bath in 2013, CEO Aaron Popowsky already had over 10 years of experience in the remodeling industry, with commercial as well as residential projects. “I made the decision to focus on residential remodeling, with a particular focus on kitchens and bathrooms, purely out of a passion for interior design and knowing that a customer-centric approach would make firms stand out in this industry,” Popowsky relates.
Based out of Long Island City, Gallery has, over the past six years, established itself as a dependable firm in New York’s kitchen and bath industry. “Within our area – focusing on Manhattan, Brooklyn and some parts of Queens, which are mainly apartment buildings – kitchens and bathrooms are paramount,” he notes.
Popowsky is hardly a one-man show. He credits his team with the success of the firm. “We have three CKDs/CBDs on staff who play a big role in our design process,” he says. “Each has a unique background: Some have architectural and/or engineering backgrounds, which does add to their offering in terms of what is truly possible and not possible.”
In order to be competitive in America’s most populous urban center, Gallery Kitchen & Bath is highly adaptable in both its design approach and specialties. “We are truly a design-agnostic firm because we have to be,” says Popowsky. “Generally speaking, some of our clients are in older, pre-war buildings, converted loft spaces that were once used for manufacturing [which have] lots of charm. [But we also handle] newer construction that is quite modern.” He adds, “That said, I think many projects we take on are a mix and lean toward the transitional side, mixing modern elements with some traditional details.”
As with many urbanites, Gallery’s clients often lead chaotic lives, so the firm focuses on bringing order to what can be a stressful process.
“[We cater] primarily to busy professionals, as we have an all-inclusive, one-stop type of approach. Some of our clients are newer to the renovation process, while others may have completed multiple renovations in the past and are veterans,” Popowsky explains. “As many of our clients simply do not have the time to handle the ins and outs of the project, or don’t live in the state or country, they rely on us to handle the process from A to Z. Not only do we procure their finish items, handle the design and deal with their building approval process – which in Manhattan can be a doozy – we effectively project-manage their project as well, and utilize technology throughout the process with a big focus on communication.”
For Popowsky’s team, technology has proven to be an invaluable asset when maintaining open and honest communication with their busy clients. “In this industry, communication is just as important as the design,” Popowsky believes. “We’ve successfully used technology to bridge the gap in the communication process. The platform we use provides our clients the ease of making payments and selections at the touch of a button, which is great for those who have very busy schedules.”
This use of cutting-edge project management software has proven to be a big draw for potential clients, Popowsky believes. “When they hear that they will be given a login to our project management software/app that will allow them to have full digital access to their project, it makes all the difference. Being able to see progress on a daily basis, communicate with everyone on the team, approve/comment on/decline layouts and selections, etc.…and having all of that logged and in one space makes organization and communication more effective and seamless.”
Making it happen
For the team at Gallery Kitchen & Bath, the client’s comfort and happiness with the results of the project is key. “Our primary focus is to engage and collaborate with our clients,” declares Popowsky. “We want to deliver unique options, but ultimately we want our clients to be happy with their decisions, and our team does our best to ensure this.”
Depending on the project, this could mean encouraging clients to dial back their visions, or embracing the client’s decision to go big and bold. “We also try to guide our clients to keep them within the scope they hired us for, but folks do sometimes want more expensive finishes once we get started, which is okay, too.”
In closing, Popowsky states, “At the end of the day, the feedback that we have received has been great. It’s not uncommon to hear that people don’t feel like they are dealing with or speaking to a contractor; we become friends with our clients.” ▪