Go to most LBM showrooms and you’ll find a handful of sales reps and perhaps a few window specialists. At Hudson Street Design of Marin you’ll find two licensed architects, an interior designer, seven window and door salespeople, two customer service representatives, a marketing manager, a service technician, and a business manager.
This unique staffing structure helps make the division of Healdsburg Lumber stand out in California’s North Bay region. The architects function almost like subcontractors for a builder, says Eric Ziedrich, Healdsburg Lumber’s president.
The showroom also has an interesting history: Healdsburg Lumber bought the Window Warehouse four years ago, renaming it Hudson Street Design of Marin and moving the business to its current location in San Rafael, Calif., a year later. The building that houses the company is more than 100 years old, a detail that Ziedrich tried to incorporate into the office’s design.
The location is one that many dealers might envy: The building faces U.S. Route 101, the only traffic corridor that connects Marin County to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. “Tens of thousands of cars pass by Hudson Street Design of Marin on a daily basis,” Ziedrich says.
While the showroom’s bread-and-butter is its contractor customers, Ziedrich was careful not to ignore potential drive-by consumers. After a visitor pointed out that she drove by the business every day but had no idea about what was inside, Ziedrich had two banners made.
Consumer foot traffic immediately increased, he says. Consumers also make up a large chunk of traffic on Saturdays.
The showroom is 16,000 square feet, with an adjacent 4,000 square feet of warehouse space. Featured products are windows, doors, cabinets, and hardware. Windows and doors get the lion’s share of space at 10,000 square feet; kitchen and bath displays take up 5,000 square feet; and specialty hardware gets 1,000 square feet. The total investment in the showroom was about $300,000.
A conference room and private offices provide space for customers and staff to work together. The floor plan is also conducive to regular social and marketing events. The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the Marin Builders Association use the showroom, Ziedrich says.