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Putting Pipes in Their Place

Keeping your plumbing department organized and easy-to-shop allows your customers to get in, find what they need and be on their way quickly and efficiently. Discover how two retailers have found success in the plumbing category thanks to well-organized merchandising and showroom displays. 

Godwin Plumbing and Hardware, which has three locations in Michigan, offers an extensive selection of plumbing products and provides professional residential and commercial plumbing services. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, store has a 2,600-square-foot design center where customers can shop the latest plumbing products and find inspiration for their own projects, says Jason Slot, retail store manager. Each of the stores also has a well-stocked section of plumbing products on the salesfloor. 

“Instead of a busy and noisy retail space packed with products, the design center has the space that allows customers to slow down, block out the noise and work with one of our staff members to pick what they need,” Slot says. 

The staff at Godwin’s does most of the merchandising themselves for the design center and the plumbing section in the retail part of the store, hiring out contractors for bigger projects. Slot says they are regularly moving and changing the displays in the design center to keep that area fresh and highlight new products, and they do a large remodel of the design center every five to eight years. 

“In the retail part of the store, we normally see what planograms are available for inspiration and build out from there,” Slot says. “In the design center, we take inspiration from other showrooms or ideas given to us by our sales reps.”

At Ashby Lumber, which has two locations in Berkeley and Concord, California, the kitchen and bath showroom invites customers to browse ideas to bring their vision to life. The showroom is a combination of both traditional looks and up-to-date trends, says general manager Brian Rocha.

“We have a diverse design team who are knowledgeable and creative,” Rocha says. “We believe in giving our customers options and allowing them to be part of the creative process. Our showroom is up-to-date with new products and shows customers the current trends, as well as timeless classics that never go out of style.”

The showroom has been a part of Ashby Lumber since the 1990s and has evolved from a few aisles of plumbing fixture displays to a full-service design center for bath and kitchen products. Customers appreciate being able to see and touch products prior to purchasing them, Rocha says. He also points out that finding success in the plumbing category hinges on providing excellent customer service. 

“We stand behind everything that we sell and always want our customers to leave happy,” Morgan says. “This means listening to their needs and making sure they understand exactly what products they will be receiving.”

For more best practices for finding success in your plumbing category, read how Miller’s Do it Best Home Center in Baker City, Oregon, offers a wide variety of products and utilizes employees to guide customers through any project, from a major renovation to a small leak.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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