Mar 8, 2010 12:57 PM by Matt Stafford
A new store front at Chapel Hills Mall is helping local home improvement contractors in a tough economy by pooling resources.
While working in marketing, Jennifer Knight had clients who were home improvement contractors. They told Knight that they wanted to reach the foot-traffic of the mall, but a kiosk wouldn't do.
"The idea evolved to have a permanent showroom where local companies can come together," says Jennifer Knight, founder of the Home Improvement Showcase.
The permanent part of the showroom is important. For many of the contractors working out of the new mall store front, they might not have had a place that customers could see their work, but beginning this month that's changing.
"Nose prints hand prints, it's been covered in that in the last few days," says Chris Oberg, president of Purely Ponds.
Chris Oberg's water feature got some prime real estate in the showcase that he's excited to have. He says the idea for this store is different than he's seen in the past.
"There are no retail sales allowed here in the showcase," Knight explains. She says the idea is that without sales taking place, you lose the pressured sales pitch. Which she thinks customers won't mind.
"It's simply them and how they feel about what their seeing." Oberg explains. He's optimistic about the idea.
If customers like what they see they're put in contact with the company.
Along with helping these local businesses save costs, Knight says they'd also like to help the economy by adding some new jobs. She says they will likely come in the showcase, but also within the businesses that they partner with as well.
"Although we're all going to remain individually owned and operated companies, we are a team and we
They also share marketing and sales resources, which is a big reason why Oberg got involved.
"We don't have to afford sales staff of our own as a small entrepreneurial company," Oberg says. "We can lean on the Home improvement Showcase to do some of that for us."
That's changing how Oberg has run his local business for the last six years. For starters, he doesn't have to put up and take down display water features all year long.
"It gives a guy a chance to have breather," Oberg says. "You do 8 or 10 home shows a year and you kind of run ragged from some of that."
The showcase just opened at the beginning of March, but Knight says they have a long ways to go. The foundation has been laid, now it's time to build on.