Insights from LBM Dealers who’ve grown their sales with a showroom refresh.


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An interview with Chris Thornberry, manager for Gordon Design Gallery:

Q: Your large showroom was opened in 2008 right when the economy had a downturn. How did that impact your showroom launch?

A: We switched the concept from a design and selection center for builders and remodelers to becoming a revenue center that is also marketed to homeowners. Everyone’s welcome here.

Q: What changes have you made since opening the showroom?

A: Initially we had every product under the sun—from roofing shingles to siding to hardware—everything that is sold in our lumberyards. It was too much. We narrowed down our focus to just products we could sell out of a design center and eliminated products that don’t contribute to the bottom line proportionally. To keep it fresh, we install one or two new kitchen displays every year along with increasing our window displays.

Q: What have you done recently that has impacted your sales and margins the most?

A: The new Therma-Tru design gallery we installed last year has 30 doors and every glass option the company offers. It’s already been very helpful in showing our customers all the options available to them. As a result, we’ve experienced a significant increase in traffic and our entry door business has increased exponentially in the past year. We expect that growth to continue. The team at Therma-Tru has met every need and expectation regarding our marketing plan and they back it up with a quality product for our customers.

Q: With such a large amount of space, how do you use it to maximize your visibility in your marketplace?

A: We encourage our builders and remodelers to use the Gordon Design Gallery as an extension of their own businesses to enhance the product selection process for homeowner clients. In addition, we hold builder breakfasts and “lunch and learn” seminars at the showroom throughout the year. We also host monthly meetings for local building organizations and network nights with the homebuilders association. Since we can easily handle more than 200 people in our facility, we try to maximize its use for our target audiences.

Q: What tips do you have for other dealers who are thinking of redoing their showroom?

A: You need to have a fresh, up-to-date facility to attract and keep people’s attention. Vendors will help you achieve that goal if you can show them the type of partnership you want to foster. Show a vendor a “win-win” proposition and they’ll come on board to help out with co-op funding, displays and seminar sponsorships.