Today’s post is from the Granite Group’s Director of Marketing, Mike Mullaney. Thanks Mike for your insight.
As often is the case, the title of this article is more of a metaphor than a complete description of the commentary to follow. This article is about Consumer Choice, specifically in the areas of kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures.
For as long as I can remember the building trade has been hesitant to inform the homeowner of the wide variety of plumbing fixtures that are truly available to them. The excuses I have heard over the years are: too expensive, homeowner can’t afford, too time consuming to review, factory lead times on the special items are too long and I don’t know enough about the choices myself to explain them.
All are understandable to a point. But the homeowner-consumer is not satisfied with the choice limitations we have put them under and through the Internet and big box stores have found out “they do have a choice”. Admittedly even “us” the plumbing wholesalers, including The Ultimate Bath-Granite Group, have added to the confusion and have not always helped educate the consumer that there are options. In all honesty, the plumbing wholesaler showroom has probably been in the best position of all to help show the consumer “choice” but has failed to get the message out about this resource. Currently we do not market our showrooms to the general public to an effective level. Our problem is that few homeowners-consumers know that we are open to the public for viewing and purchasing and only a handful are aware of us at all.
We, the building trade, admit that you, the consumer, is more educated in the area of plumbing fixtures than ever before and it is full time we, the general contractor, builder and plumber, educated ourselves to be able to better describe the products we offer. Or better yet the plumbing wholesale showrooms, starting with my company, The Ultimate Bath-Granite Group inform the consumer-homeowner that our doors are open to show you real “choice”.
The big box stores do a good job of showing some of the basic choices, usually in one finish (white) but have shelf space and interactive limitations. A lot of the plumbing decisions to be made require interactive conversation. The Ultimate Bath showroom staff are trained design consultants who work primarily by appointment. We find that we need dedicated uninterrupted time to completely review all the decisions to be made. Homeowners are always surprises how long it takes to pick out their plumbing fixtures and how a seemingly simple decision like choosing a faucet finish can effect so many other components in the bathroom. It simply takes time to see what you can have.
Current Trends in Choice
We have admitted that the building trades and big box stores unintentionally have been limiting your options. Below I will try to describe current trends we see happening. I warn you, making the right choices can be time consuming and at times overwhelming but if you invest the time during the decision making process, in the end, you will have exactly what you want.
Our Ultimate Bath Showrooms feature Kohler products. Kohler is one of 6 major plumbing fixture companies currently doing business in our general area. Kohler alone has 29 fixture colors to choose from. Yes there are 28 colors available other than white. Did I mention that Kohler has 12 different “suites” or bath designs available in those 29 colors?
Today current popular faucet finishes seem to be: Brushed Nickel, Brushed Chrome and Oil Rubbed Bronze. No you are not limited to plain Chrome. When you choose a faucet finish our Showroom Consultants will really go to work. They will help you complete the bathroom. Did you know that you can and should match the sink p-trap on a pedestal lavatory, that the stops and supply tubes for the toilet and lavatory come in the same finish as the faucet? So can the toilet tank lever. How about matching accessories such as: towel bars, paper holder and robe hooks?
Did you know that you no longer have to settle for a plain old ordinary 60’ x 30’ bathtub? Tubs are now offered extra deep in a variety of widths and shapes. They can be oversized soak tubs or add jets and pumps for: therapeutic needs, relaxing pulsating whirlpool experiences or champagne bubble feeling of an air tub.
How about the shower? Custom shower arrangements with multiple showerheads and body sprays have become very popular and most major faucet companies have reacted with a nice selection of style and finishes.
Quite simply, you need to see what you can have. The Granite Group Wholesalers has 13 Ultimate Bath Showroom locations, 5 in New Hampshire: Concord, Manchester, Rochester, Exeter and Lebanon. Directions and Showroom hours can be found at www.ultimatebathstore.com or www.thegranitegroup.com .