Innovative Showroom Bridges the Gap for
By Denise Vermeulen
PITTSBURGH, PAAlthough several bridges cross the rivers
intersecting the city of Pittsburgh, Tom Trzcinski, CKD, CBD, CR,
recognized that an invisible barrier existed. Located somewhere
between the heart of the city and the North Hills, where his main
showroom is located, the “barrier” was preventing his business from
reaching a crucial market. As owner and head designer for Kitchen
& Bath Concepts (KBC), Trzcinski knew his business could grow
if potential clients would simply make the 20-minute drive.
The solution to his problem became clear when Trzcinski was
invited to open a satellite showroom in the hip “Strip District” of
Pittsburgh. The hottest place in town, offering great shopping and
dining, the area was already home to the upscale Marforth Showroom.
Owned and operated by John Miller since 1994, the Marforth showroom
is only open to prequalified clients who arrive together with their
Miller was looking for a designer to create a working kitchen
within his existing showroom. “In my designer showroom, people are
here all day long,” says Miller, who thought it made good business
sense to have a kitchen where he could serve refreshments to
Trzcinski jumped at the opportunity. Both he and Miller
recognized the quality of their joint customer base and saw their
businesses as a perfect match a great partnership with strong
potential benefits to each of them. So, Trzcinski created a
450-sq.-ft. space with a French country design for Miller’s
showroom, an unmanned “showroom-within-a-showroom” that would exist
within the framework of a strong collaboration.
The agreement between the two calls for the involvement of the
client’s Marforth designer in any project with KBC that was
developed as a result of a visit to the showroom. Trzcinski and his
team remain open to different levels of involvement on the part of
the interior designers because the projects generated at Marforth
typically range between $80,000 and $250,000. This also assures
local interior designers that Kitchen & Bath Concepts is not
trying to steal their business.
It’s an arrangement that is working well, as evidenced by the
increase in Trzcinski’s business during the first year of
operation. Since opening the satellite showroom in February 2000,
Kitchen & Bath Concepts has done about $500,000 in additional
business, according to Trzcinski. That increase is attributed to
three jobs generated at the new showroom. Miller concurs that the
partnership works, pointing out that their clients love the
Trzcinski sees his satellite showroom as a billboard for his
business in one of Pittsburgh’s most elite designer showrooms. “I’m
putting my products and business in front of 90-120 interior
designers who use John’s showroom,” said Trzcinski.
The showroom display includes storage ideas, a butler’s pantry
and a furniture piece that hides a Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer
unit, a dishwasher and microwave. One of the Marforth interior
designers worked with KBC on color selection and decorating.
Trzcinski says the showroom demonstrates KBC’s design ability and
ingenuity, attention to detail and creative use of space. The
latter was particularly important, since he considers space
utilization one of his company’s specialties.
Lately, Trzcinski has been working on making a good thing better.
Some of the final touches in the satellite kitchen educate the
consumer about KBC and reinforce the idea that projects are always
collaborative. KBC promotes this arrangement as a win-win situation
for itself, the interior designer and the client.
This latest plan calls for a “hotline” phone to the KBC main
location. A designer can be at the satellite location within 20
minutes. KBC is also producing an audio presentation that will
focus on the features in the kitchen and the collaboration. It will
encourage visitors to “open thisnotice thatand feel this,” as
clients move through the exhibit, Trzcinski believes. He notes that
both will be ready this spring. A kiosk displaying additional KBC
designs with backlit photos, literature and testimonials became
operational in February.
Spreading the word
Although this latest endeavor has enhanced KBC’s image and expanded
business, Trzcinski’s design firm is no stranger to marketing. The
firm understands completely its target market and strives to pamper
its clients. “I put my personal signature on every job,” says
Trzcinski, who explains that he is readily accessible to all of his
clients when they need him. While such a policy is key, KBC also
understands the importance of a broader public relations program.
To address this issue, the firm has employed a public relations
agency for the last several years.
“It’s important to constantly do marketing whether we’re busy or
slow,” explains Trzcinski, who’s been in business for 27 years. KBC
has developed a thick packet of materials it mails to prospective
clients, either directly or through local interior designers. The
packet, which has a coordinated look and bears the firm’s logo,
includes third-party endorsements, copies of newspaper and magazine
articles featuring KBC and directions to the main
KBC also has entered and won numerous design contests. Some of
the design firm’s projects have been featured in national magazines
including Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Woman’s Day,
However, Trzcinski maintains that his company’s most important
goal is to always provide good advice and information to the
client. “We are accountable, reliable and responsive,” he says. And
that, more than anything else, helps to build bridges and remove
Kitchen and Bath Concepts
LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA
PRINCIPALS: Tom Trzcinski, CKD, CBD, CR, owner and head designer;
Viki Liscinsky, CKD, CBD
SHOWROOMS: Two: main showroom, 4,500 sq. ft.;
satellite showroom, 450 sq. ft.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Seven
MAJOR PRODUCT LINES: Quality Custom Kitchens, Neff Kitchen
Manufacturers, Cabico Kitchen.
service-oriented design that primarily focuses on themed kitchens
and creative space utilization.
BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY: “Our goal is to create designs that enhance
the customer’s lifestyle. From the first time they step in our
showroom, they feel different about their projectthey get