A Dealer’s Progressive Showroom Remodeling
Strategy Pays Off
by Samantha Carpenter
Company Name: McDaniel Window & Door
Location: Florence, Ala.
Contractor: Greg Tyon of Gilchrist Builders
Project: Storefront and Showroom Remodel
Company Owners: Mike and Tommy McDaniel
Interior Designer: Sadonna Patterson
Approximate Price of Project: $140,000
Project Timeline: 1 year
Showroom Size: 3,000 square feet
Shop and Storage Size: 9,000 square feet
Employees: Ten full-time
Installers: Six full-time
McDaniel Window & Door in Florence, Ala., is like other door and
window dealers around the country. It, too, has been affected by a slower
economy. Last year the company grossed $2.3 million in sales, and this
year, the company is on track to reach the same amount. These sales are
still short of the company’s highest annual sales of $2.8 million, which
was at the height of the housing boom four to five years ago.
During these slower years, McDaniel Window & Door hasn’t sat by idly.
The dealer has remodeled its showroom, and shared its experience—the trials,
errors and benefits—with DWM/Shelter magazine.
Nothing But Praise
“I see what you’re doing, and it’s great for the city. I don’t need any
doors and windows right now, but it makes me want to shop.” Comments like
this one are what Joel Meadows says employees hear all the time over the
phone. Meadows serves as inside and new construction salesperson for the
“The outside of the showroom has made more of a difference and has drawn
them in like a magnet. People come in just to see the building, and then
we have a captive audience,” says sales manager Will Little.
Captive customers are exactly what McDaniel Window & Door was looking
for when they took on remodeling their showroom one and a half years ago.
And while some dealers might think McDaniel Window & Door was crazy
for undergoing this storefront and showroom facelift during an economic
slowdown, owners and brothers Mike and Tommy McDaniel couldn’t disagree
“It was a good opportunity for us to do that. We worked right through
that (the slowing economy),” says Mike McDaniel. “We didn’t shut down;
we were here everyday.”
"When potential customers visit the showroom,
they realize that just because they have an oak door, they don’t have
to put in oak flooring, too. They can put in tile flooring or something
that will enhance colors within a room, and they can mix woodgrains.
They don’t have to just stay with one type of wood or color."
—Mike McDaniel, co-owner
A Pesky Leak
But the project wasn’t without issues.
“For years, water had filtered through the wall in the showroom, and we
couldn’t find the leak,” explains McDaniel. “We thought it was flashing
or something. Our contractor, Greg Tyon, had someone come to look at it
and they found that the leak was due to some cracks in the concrete wall,
and they repaired that problem.”
The company found some other small cracks, so McDaniel had them come back
“We wanted to make sure that was done before we put the mahogany around
the windows on the inside because all of that had to be custom-made,”
Not only did the company use the Mahogany products that it sells in its
showroom, but it also utilized many of the other products that it sells.
“Our front door is the Carriage House Door off the Biltmore Estate for
Your Home by MAI, which is made out of cherry. Our restroom doors, the
closet doors and the door going upstairs are made by MAI, too, and they
are the distressed walnut. In my office are mahogany doors,” says McDaniel.
Give Them a Visual
To make sure their showroom and storefront was as aesthetically pleasing
as possible, McDaniel Window & Door hired interior designer Sadonna
Patterson. With the help of Patterson, McDaniel says when customers walk
into the showroom, they realize they can mix and match different products
“They realize that just because they have an oak door, they don’t have
to put in oak flooring, too. They can put in tile flooring or something
that will enhance colors within a room, and they can mix woodgrains,”
McDaniel says. “They don’t have to just stay with one type of wood or
"The outside of the showroom has made more
of a difference and has drawn them in like a magnet. People come in
just to see the building and then we have a captive audience."
—Will Little, sales manager
Not only can customers view products in the showroom, but there also
are literature displays about products. A professional video continuously
runs on the main aisle about past company construction projects.
McDaniel explains that the video was filmed and edited by someone locally.
In it customers discus their remodeling and new construction projects,
and highlight the service and quality that those customers received from
McDaniel Window & Door.
“We used the video a lot. If somebody is talking about replacement windows,
we can freeze it and show them what the window looks like,” McDaniel explains.
“It’s very comforting to a customer when they see the work that you have
Custom builder Bobby Bryan of Bryan Housing, a 15-year customer of McDaniel
Window & Door, agrees. “Whenever you send a customer to look at a
product, it makes a customer feel more reassured about what they are buying
when they walk into a nice establishment,” Bryan says. “The new showroom
is laid out better and they have more products in there.”
Right Here, Right Now
“We worked right here in the middle of it,” McDaniel says. “If a nail
gun went off, you just jumped. You just had to suffer through it. There
was a lot of dirt and dust every day, but we would cover things up and
try to move from one side to the other. Now we have a completely remodeled
showroom. We have new computer systems, phone system and security system—we
just wanted to update everything.”
The company isn’t just relying on its showroom to bring in customers.
“We feel like the economy is promising. Our area was not hit like some
of [the] larger cities,” he says. “We don’t see the huge increase in markets
when everything is going good, but then we don’t see as large of a decline
… We try to be a little more aggressive in our advertising.”
This remodeling project has given McDaniel a sense of what his customers
“A lot of times, the customer gets to a point in their remodel where they
don’t care if the lock costs $39 or $42; they are concerned with getting
it to the jobsite and getting the job completed. It helps you realize
the customer’s needs as well. We never want to overlook staying competitive,
but that’s not the only customer need out there. Customers need you to
get the product to them in a timely manner,” he explains.
McDaniel says that if he could do the remodel all over again, he wouldn’t
have waited so long. “I would have urged the process along faster, but
we had to wait on the tile to get through before we could put the carpet
in. We had to wait on our windows to come in before we could stain the
mahogany trim and get it installed. I would have been a little more organized
and got it done in a lot less time,” he says.
A positive outcome of the project taking its time is that customers around
town enjoyed watching the process. “It was worth the wait,” he says.
Samantha Carpenter is a contributing writer for DWM magazine.
View DWM’s Showroom Showcase online. Visit http://www.dwmmag.com/index.php/slideshow/
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