Fresno, CAAt Northern Central Distributing’s showroom, visitors never hear the phrase “look but don’t touch.” The showroom, located here, features kitchen and bathroom products and associated items that invite a hands-on shopping experience. In fact, “a customer can schedule a time to come in and cook on the appliances, use the dishwasher or try out the hood,” comments Rockie Bogenschutz, manager/partner of Northern Central Distributing.
The 30,000-sq.-ft.-plus showroom, which was conceived and designed by Bogenschutz, is located on Shaw Avenue, “the Wilshire Boulevard of Fresno,” he notes.
Ninety percent of its business comes from builders, with designers comprising most of the rest of its customers, Bogenschutz notes.
A Range of Products
Approximately 400 people attended the showroom’s opening event, held on November 20, 2003.
The showroom itself features eight large kitchen vignettes with working appliances, with a new kitchen currently under construction. One of the featured vignettes includes the KitchenAid Pro Line Series in Meteorite, a new matte, metallic finish. There is also a KitchenAid Architect Series kitchen, as well as a French Country vignette with Whirlpool appliances.
Seven bathrooms are also part of the showroom’s offerings, showcasing some of the plumbing available. All of the baths feature wall-mounted toilets from Duravit. Hansgrohe automatic faucets and designer Duravit sinks are “immaculately” encased in granite. Other name brands available include Toto, Franke, St. Thomas, Lasco, California Faucets and Deco Lav.
The showroom also features a Whirlpool Family Studio, which includes a working Whirlpool Duet front-load washer and dryer, a Whirlpool SinkSpa Jetted Sink for fine washables, a Whirlpool DryAire Drying Cabinet and a Whirlpool Personal Valet Clothes Vitalizing System.
Northern Central Distributing doesn’t stop at appliances and related products, however. Lighting fixtures “from $25,000 Schonbek Strass crystal chandeliers or $25,000 Alabaster fixtures to the basic lighting needs” are featured, according to Bogenschutz, as well as more than 40 working fireplaces. Also included in the mix is an assortment of fine tapestries, artwork, mirrors and sink chests.
In addition to the extensive displays, Northern Central Distributing has created a welcoming atmosphere for all of its visitors. The outdoor living area has a waterfall, music and barbecues, and there is also a full-size Gladiator GarageWorks garage by Whirlpool Corporation.
“While one spouse shops, the other can go watch a movie in the state-of-the-art indoor theater, with large, soft reclining chairs in surroundsound ecstasy,” Bogenschutz states. “There are also great play areas for kids, with plenty of toys, coloring books and a plasma TV with movies and games.”
Of course, Northern Central Distributing also has an experienced staff to help customers along in the design process. The firm currently has 18 employees who work the sales floor of the showroom, and another 31 people who assist with servicing sales and installation. “The combined years of knowledge and experience of our sales staff exceeds 250 years,” Bogenschatz exclaims.
Six kiosks are scattered throughout the showroom, providing customers with access to information about various products, including availability. Customers can even view different options or designs at the kiosks.
The company has also set up Web sites at various design center showrooms in many new housing projects, providing home buyers with the opportunity to go online to see which appliances, lighting fixtures, fireplaces and other items come standard in their homes.
“They can then ‘click’ to see what upgrades are offered, and at what additional cost,” explains Bogenschatz. “This allows us to show only the upgrades the builder wants us to show and, at the same time, streamline the whole process for the homeowner. The homeowner can even log on at home.”
Once a month, the company also holds a seminar for people who are remodeling or building a house.
“We bring in specialists to talk about granite countertops, cabinets, appliances, specialty plumbing products, fireplaces, barbecues, interior decorating and kitchen designing,” notes Bogenschatz. “The seminars go for two hours on a Saturday, and all of the specialists stay afterwards to answer questions or schedule appointments.” Food and beverages are served throughout the seminars.
In fact, customers are treated to a variety of sights and smells coming from the kitchens on a regular basis. “We have chefs in every week, cooking and utilizing the kitchens,” Bogenschutz reports.
“We’ve designed the showroom to make it comfortable and user friendly,” stresses Bogenschutz. “Someone is always cooking something.”