Category 2 Overall Excellence in operating a Kitchen & Bath Distribution or “Whotail” Firm

by WOHe

Category 2 Overall Excellence in operating a Kitchen
& Bath Distribution or “Whotail” Firm

First place: Reico Kitchen & Bath, Springfield,
VA

Dual Service Strategy Fuels Firm’s Success


There’s a saying that you can’t be all things to all people. But
don’t tell that to Tony Maresco, president of Springfield, VA-based
REICO Kitchen & Bath, or his staff. The whotailer, with 14
showrooms in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, sets out each day to
provide complete and exemplary service to both its retail customers
and the clients of area builders and contractors. It is that
dedication to service that has earned the company top honors in
Category Two of K&BDN’s third annual Industry Leadership
Awards.

As both a retailer and wholesaler, REICO faces a variety of
challenges. But just the fact that the firm sells approximately 500
kitchens each week more than all of the home centers in the market
combined strongly suggests that REICO is not only meeting those
challenges, but exceeding all customer expectations.

With the service of some 325 employees at their disposal to help
them with their kitchen remodel projects, customers can choose from
a wide array of kitchen and bath product lines, such as Merillat,
Amera, Moen, Silestone and Miele. REICO strives toward providing a
stress-free experience for both wholesale and retail customers.

REICO has organized its showrooms to operate almost as
independent companies, with its 14 branch managers acting as
presidents of their own businesses. Corporate staff is set up
specifically to help the sales team. The heads of the various
corporate teams, such as marketing, information services and
inventory, visit the showrooms every few days, updating staff on
new products and making sure the selection centers are complete and
correct. Members of the corporate design team are also in the
showrooms on a daily basis to ensure the displays are current and
accessorized appropriately.

For wholesale customers, the firm provides turnkey service,
including a broad product selection, expert design, installation
and post-installation customer service. The company’s computerized
quote system allows for fast quote updates when design changes are
made.

An extensive inventory, housed in a 180,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in
Elkridge, MD, reduces lead times and facilitates last-minute
changes, notes the company. The facility receives eight
tractor-trailer loads of cabinets daily, and ships 35 straight
trucks of product to customers each day.

On the retail side, customers are invited to browse, with
designers standing by to answer any questions. There is a
children’s area to keep little ones occupied, as well as an Idea
Room, where clients can meet with a designer or flip through design
books and magazines. 

To help ensure good client relations, all REICO designers and
salespeople must complete the multi-week REICO University training
program, which covers kitchen/bath design techniques, product
application procedures, sales strategies and new technology. Ten
days of design training are also required each year as a
refresher.

When working with a customer, the REICO designer formulates a
master plan for the project, including accurate cost estimates and
realistic timetables. All of these service elements help REICO
cater to its customers and meet its ultimate goal: to produce the
kitchen the client wants without surprises, on time and on
budget.

While almost 50 percent of all customers are referred by
previous clients, the company asks all trade and retail customers
to complete surveys upon completion of their jobs. This gives REICO
the information needed to measure customer satisfaction, which it
can use to build future business and keep its customers
satisfied.

2nd place: Standard Kitchen Distributors, Grand Rapids,
MI

Company’s Formula Focuses on Client Needs 

When your company has been in business for almost 100 years, you
must be doing something right. So believes Standard Kitchen
Distributors owner Tim Rotschaefer, whose Grand Rapids, MI-based
firm’s long-term reputation for excellence has not only kept the
business going strong since 1904, but also won it second-place
honors in Category Two of K&BDN’s 2001 Industry Leadership
Awards. 

Focusing on new home building and all aspects of new and old
home remodeling, the company prides itself on offering more new
products on a continuous basis, and knowing the needs of its
marketplace, builders, contractors, clients and each of their
customer’s requirements. Well-trained, seasoned salespeople teamed
with professional product specialists add to the firm’s success
formula, as does a a practice of constantly re-merchandising the
product showroom. A strict policy of standing behind the firm’s
products and following up on all aspects of installations enhances
referrals.

3rd place: Builders Distributing, Company, Inc.,
Midlothian, VA

Distribution Firm Keeps Customers Up-To-Date

For Builders Distributing Co., Inc., less apparently is more.
Though the Midlothian, VA-based firm has only five employees, the
focus on superior customer service remains strong. The company
individually manages all aspects of the business, including
customer service, sales and support. Its dedication to service
helped the company earn third-place honors in Category Two of
K&BDN’s third annual Industry Leadership Awards.

Owner Lonnie Farmer and manager Jo Anne Woolfolk pride
themselves on knowing the special needs of their marketplace, and
keeping the staff well informed, as well. This knowledge serves
them in their work with high-end builders and remodelers, who need
to be kept informed of operations and construction requirements
that impact their market. 

While service is the firm’s primary focus, Builders Distributing
also boasts a large display area featuring brand merchandise,
including countertops and cabinets from Wellborn Cabinet. The
showroom also showcases a complete selection of door styles
according to wood species and finish.

Builders Distributing pre-qualifies its products as a service to
its customers. This helps to make the planning process easier for
all parties, keeping service at an optimum level.

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