New ‘Super’ Showroom Earns Its Superlatives
By John Filippelli
Concord, CA The concept of a “super showroom” is nothing new to
McPhails Appliance. In fact, the company just opened its third such
showplace last month the first to be located in the East Bay area
of northern California.
The Concord showroom, open to both the public and the trade, was
designed by a CKD for CKD use, according to McPhails, with the
showroom being managed by marketing executive Lori Boehm. It
currently boasts some 23 outside salespeople who work with CKDs,
ASIDs, contractors and architects to create a host of innovative
While the showroom could be called “super” based on its size
alone, its set-up is not designed to be overwhelming to the
visitor. The space shelters 10,000 sq. ft. of cutting-edge
appliances, a 650-sq.-ft. demonstration kitchen and a conference
room to accommodate seminars and professional group meetings. The
entire showroom can be viewed from one side to the other, which
makes it aesthetically stunning, yet functionally accessible.
There are plenty of reasons, other than just size, for the term
“super” to be used when referring to the showroom, McPhails’
president Ron Hernlund notes. Hernlund believes that wide selection
of product lines showcased are one of the many things that make
this showroom unique. He notes that the showroom boasts some 53
domestic and foreign manufacturers, including Asko, Dacor, DCS,
Fisher & Paykel, Gaggenau, La Cornue, Marvel, Miele, Thermador,
U-Line and much more.
Some of the products on display are in the introductory stage,
he notes, while others are classics, and still others are available
nowhere else including the revolutionary European AGA cooker . This
use of the past, present and future is another strong marketing
tool utilized by the company, Hernlund believes.
The layout also enhances traffic flow by requiring visitors to
walk around islands of cabinetry to get a full view of the various
product models on display.
In addition to products, the showroom also features a live
display kitchen. Universal cutouts help to showcase major brands of
gas and electric cooktops, as well as wall ovens.
Hernlund notes that the working displays are primarily in the
demonstration kitchen, which is easily accessible for consumers,
contractors and designers who want to see the products.
Furthermore, adaptable seating in the working kitchen is available,
accommodating both small groups and large seminars, making it ideal
for business opportunities, according to Hernlund.
When designing the showroom, Hernlund chose a light pastel color
combination in the blue to green range, which is accented by the
warm wood tones of the display cabinets.
He notes that the reason for his choice was simple: “Light, airy
color combinations make customers feel at ease,” he
He adds, “The non-threatening atmosphere of the calming color
palette is complemented by the wide aisles, which allow customers
to move freely around the showroom.”
Though McPhails has a
reputation for its showrooms which feature top line appliances,
cabinetry, surfacing and lighting for kitchen and baths, the
company does not believe in resting on its laurels. Accordingly,
Hernlund took nothing for granted when promoting the Concord
“Contractors and designers in all categories tell us our
selection and unique setting are indispensable in realizing the
visions of their customers,” Hernlund emphasizes.
To continue the success of the company’s prior showrooms,
Hernlund actively promoted the opening of the Concord showroom,
with an open house gala that drew some 600 industry professionals,
including kitchen designers, cabinet specialists and custom home
The company also sends a designer newsletter to 3,200 design
specifiers. The newsletter highlights a different appliance topic
each month, in an effort to help industry members stay abreast of
In addition to the mailer, the latest manufacturers
specification sheets are sent to all designers.
Monthly designer seminar classes are also held in each store, which
Hernlund sees as making the showrooms more accessible, as well as
providing a chance for enhanced publicity. At the seminars,
participants can request ASID/NKBA course credit, or see product
demonstrations and receive instruction on a variety of “hot
Despite McPhails’ innovative marketing techniques, the true
attraction of the company’s newest showroom remains the products.
High-end, state-of-the-art products have led the company to
redefine the term “appliance showroom,” Hernlund believes.
While it follows on the heels of several other successful
showrooms, the Concord “super” showroom might just be the biggest
of them all.