Distinction on Display

Showrooms Bring New Opportunities

By Chris Collier

Metro Atlanta experienced the fourth-largest population increase of all metropolitan statistical areas in the nation from 2010 to 2019 with an uptick of approximately 734,000 people, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The population of the 29-county region stood at 6 million people in 2019. As its population expands, and the market for both residential and commercial construction increases, glass and glazing companies are turning to a number of options to reach their customers. For many, a showroom is key.

The Peach State

Atlanta’s Drexler Glass Co. has a 4,000-square-foot showroom that includes full-size shower displays, antique mirrors, backpainted glass and more. Showroom construction began 10 years ago when company president David Drexler wanted a greater display area than his then-current showroom could provide.

“Our customers [and] designers who come in here rely on us to show them what’s new in glass, what people are doing and what the newest trends are,” Drexler says. “We needed a place to provide that information. We wanted the customers, and especially the designers, to [feel that if] they had an idea, the first thing that would pop into their head is, ‘I know where to go. Drexler is going to be able to show me what I need to see to help my vision become a reality.’”

Drexler says the showroom allows ever-evolving design trends to take center stage. “Brass is back, as far as the hardware goes,” he says. “We usually also sell glass protection. ShowerGuard from Guardian Glass is the brand that we sell because it has a lifetime warranty. And low-iron glass— our high-end clients usually are opting to go [with] ShowerGuard and low-iron. So that’s a big part of our business.”

Drexler says the showroom is “the closer” in the sales process.

“It’s about the image at that point,” Drexler says. “This is a pretty high-dollar item they’re about to purchase and, as they enter the showroom, they’re going to want to know, ‘Well, if they treat their showroom like this, this is how they’re going to treat my house.’ They look around and see what kind of people we are, how we keep ourselves and how we keep our showroom. This translates to their perception of how we would take care of them. And it’s an accurate perception. If we can’t take care of ourselves, then we can’t take care of our customers.”

Drexler says focusing on quality over quantity is the key for companies considering a showroom addition.

“Don’t show everything under the sun,” Drexler says. “Show what you’re doing well, what’s profitable and products that you actually want to sell. I have had a lot of experience seeing a lot of showrooms, and many of them are just cluttered and dirty. That’s conveying an image of unprofessionalism. Keeping it clean, keeping it light and keeping it airy conveys an image that [shows] what your product is going to be like.”

No Space, No Problem

Many companies don’t have the space for a showroom. However, they are still finding fresh ways to market and reach customers. ATL Glass and Mirror in Smryna, Ga., uses  its website to overcome display hurdles.

“We have a shower door section that has pictures of different styles we’ve done,” says Kolby Ware, general manager of ATL Glass and Mirror. “They’re all labeled, and I have videos on there that show how each series is put together and what the final product is. I know that helps a lot of customers when they’re deciding between three different styles. They can watch these videos and see how the door swings, how the assembly goes together and make the decision off of that.”

Ware estimates that residential projects increased by 20 to 30% during 2020, a byproduct of the pandemic. One of the shop’s major areas of distinction is its turn-around times.

“We have an insulating glass shop here,” he says. “[With] our turnaround time, we normally have a leg up on the competition.”

The shop amassed an estimated $700,000 in revenue in 2020. For Ware, a successful sale starts with a conversation.

“I stay active with local stuff such as small events, passing out cards and talking to people any chance I get,” Ware says.

Collaboration With a View

Glass retailers aren’t the only companies that use a showroom to work with customers. In the heart of downtown Atlanta rests YKK AP America Inc.’s newly-opened showroom. It’s a space where customers, architects and suppliers can come together for collaboration.

“We started thinking about the experience that we want to have for our customers and the overall industry,” says Mike Turner, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We wanted a mix of hands-on, and we wanted a mix of interactive experiences.”

The showroom features YKK AP’s commercial and residential architectural products and unitized wall solutions by the company’s subsidiary, Erie Architectural Products. It also features a product demonstration area, a collaboration table that seats 10 and a training room that seats 24 to 26.

“We did have a couple of clients who came in for some project kick-off meetings,” Turner says. “The experience was fantastic. We were able to talk specifically about challenges that other projects have had. We’ve been able to look at details on paper, then walk over to the showroom and show exactly the challenges that we’re talking about with project execution. So the feedback we got through that interaction was exactly what we envisioned.”

While the showroom is still young, its inaugural opening has been a rewarding part of the design process.

“When you’re in the weeds for so long— and you look at it develop—sometimes it’s hard to understand the true impact of what it’s going to be for somebody who’s seen it for the first time,” Turner says. “So having that experience and watching somebody see it for the first time was very rewarding because it was like, ‘wow, this is beautiful.’”

Chris Collier a contributing editor for USGlass magazine. Contact him at
ccollier@glass.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.