Showers That Shine
These Showroom Displays Help Customers
Sort through Myriad of Options
by Megan Headley
As shower door manufacturers continue to produce innovative
new options, retailers are tasked with creating showroom displays that
help customers see what is possible, while narrowing down the many choices.
Here five USGlass readers share how they use outstanding showroom displays
to bring in customers.
Carmel Glass & Mirror in Indianapolis aims to highlight the
many different features of building a shower enclosure with this Agalite
brand enclosure. This heavy glass unit features Porta oil-rubbed bronze
hardware, shows an in-panel steam vent and the various types of support
bars available. “This display is prominently positioned in our showroom
near the front counter and customers are drawn to the S-curve door shape
and the textured bubble glass,” explains Jessica Bricking, controller.
“Customers can come in our showroom to touch and operate various enclosures
and expand their thoughts of just a single operating glass door. Our displays
allow us a much more effective sales tool and help us to prove our motto:
‘If you can dream it … We can do it.’”
Providing potential shower door customers with a hands-on
experience is all part of making the sale for South Country
Glass Ltd. in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The company’s display,
pictured here, features C.R. Laurence products: a Hydroslide sliding door,
a single hinged door with tilting transom and a hinged door with two sidelites
and 90-degree glass corners. “The display shows off a few types of handles
a towel bar header material and a few different finishes,” says the company’s
Tim Leis. “The display also demonstrates how the all-glass shower doors
are installed using U-channel on tile. The display is effective because
it has a relatively small footprint, is portable and allows customers
to have a hands-on experience.”
Justin Eimers of Glass Doctor of Sioux Falls, S.D.,
allows customers the full experience of having the dream shower enclosure
installed in their homes. “My customers seem to really appreciate that
our showroom features life-size custom showers instead of mock showers
on a wall,” Eimers finds. “Customers can touch the displays, stand in
them, see how the door swings and see the different colors and kinds of
hardware. After hearing what the customer is looking for, I can pretty
much always use one of the showers in the showroom as an example. With
actual showers, customers can see the quality of our work and know what
to expect when they hire Glass Doctor.”
A distinct shower door display in a glass shop can catch
the eyes of customers who don’t yet know they want a glass shower enclosure.
“I have found that my customers are drawn to this display even when they
are not here for a shower enclosure,” says Mark Weinholtz of Twin City
Glass Corp. in North Tonawanda, N.Y. “The top roller system seems
to fascinate people. All of our salespeople also feel that the unique
style of this door, installed on the black marble and glass tile accents,
is the first thing people notice as they enter our showroom.” Weinholtz
adds, “We feel that by showing a full-size operating enclosure on real
tile helps our customers envision what it will look like in their house.”
With its recent move to a new facility, Quality Glass
& Mirror Inc. in Omaha, Neb., designed its showroom to display
a variety of shower enclosures, accentuating the endless glass choices,
hardware styles and finishes. “When a customer is referred to us by a
local designer, builder, contractor or architect we want to be able to
minimize the time it takes them to make their selections without sacrificing
showing them all their options,” says Kevin Kuta, president. “We maximized
our showroom space by allocating specific areas for our different products.
Since we provide many products to the marketplace, we wanted to put them
all on display and allow the customer to feel that they had an opportunity
to see all that is available to them, thus leaving with the confidence
that what they selected will enhance their project.”
to take this month’s online survey.
Shower Suppliers Prepare for the Trends of 2012
As retailers prepare 2012 inventory, shower door suppliers
are offering insight into the year’s big trends.
Glass Gets Heavy
“Clear glass is seeing a large trend. People want to show off their tile
and their faucets,” says Jim Jankauskis, business unit manager of the
Foremost Group’s Shower Door division in Hobart, Ind. He notes that with
that option, heavy glass use is increasing. “Especially in the heavy to
3/8- and ½-inch we’re seeing a big jump,” Jankauskis says.
For consumers with more conservative budgets, Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Coral
Industries’ representatives are finding that traditional enclosures are
mimicking the features of heavy glass doors, with ¼-inch frameless
units taking on more of a heavy glass look.
“3/8-inch-thick frameless luxury glass continues to grow as the option
consumers most desire, especially for master baths where homeowners can
find relief and relaxation from their busy lives,” says Linda Garman,
director of marketing communications for Basco Shower Enclosures in Mason,
Custom Becomes More Fun
“We’re seeing a lot of standardization of size,” says Ray Adams, president
of Coastal Industries in Jacksonville, Fla. “Where in years past everything
was custom, that seems to be changing now. I think builders are building
The Coral Industries sales team is seeing remodelers focus on more spacious,
more elaborate and more customized bathrooms. A result of that, they say,
is the trend for more elaborate enclosures. This includes enclosures that
offer unique features, including decorative glass (whether it be one of
the many varieties of patterned or specialty glass), imaged glass or cast
glass are all being seen as enhancements with appealing aesthetics. Glass
with unusual shapes such as curved tops or edges offer other means for
“There are a lot of interesting patterns out there—the problem becomes
they become so cost-prohibitive,” says Adams.
For those who can go custom, color is playing more into their plans.
Sales reps for Seattle-based Agalite are finding that colored glass of
all types is in high demand. They are finding that ceramic frits have
taken a giant leap forward with a new generation of inks and application
techniques that were previously unavailable or cost prohibitive. Incorporating
images and photographs is also becoming more and more prevalent as a value-added,
almost limitless way to customize a shower or bath enclosure, whether
it is laser-etched, high-resolution interlayers or direct printed ceramic
frit, company representatives report.
If You Have to Have Hardware…
“We’re seeing real high demand for anything frameless or semi-frameless,”
Jankauskis says. But if you have to have a frame, he says those finishes
are “still predominantly silver and brushed nickel.” Jankauskis says Foremost
is also seeing steady demand on the bronze finishes the company offers.
He adds, “Polished brass or gold is completely dead.”
“We’re probably seeing more use of oil rubbed bronze materials than in
year’s past,” Adams says. “That seems to be overtaking the brushed nickel
sales for us.”
The sales team at Agalite agrees that frameless is still the standard,
but notes that the mantra “less is more” has a new twist this year. In
the current economic environment, consumers that want the frameless look
but are looking to save money are turning to light-duty hardware, the
company’s sales representatives are finding. Not only is the hardware
more affordable, the reduced glass and fabrication costs are also very
appealing to a growing market.
The Coral Industries Inc. sales team reports that hardware designs are
trending toward the utilization of the mechanical components as part of
the external design, such as external rollers which, rather than being
hidden inside a track, are brought to the outside surface and featured
as a design element. Where budgets allow, these options are being incorporated
into heavy glass enclosures, making them more customized and distinctive
in both appearance and function.
Too Many Options!
With all of the great options that exist in shower enclosures today, some
customers may feel the choices will send them running back to their local
big box store’s shower curtain aisle. “One thing we uncovered in consumer
focus groups is that consumers are intimidated by the selection process
and overwhelmed with options but at the same time concerned with making
sure they consider all the options,” Garman says. Basco deals with that
by offering an online quiz to gather style preference in a fun and interactive
Of course, helping customers choose through the myriad of options is just
what a great shower door showroom is designed to do.
© Copyright 2012 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.