From the outside, Smitty's Building Supply's Window Smith showroom looks almost like any other tenant in its Falls Church, Va., strip mall. But behind the nondescript storefront, the company has transformed a 3,500-square-foot space into a fresh new design center full of a wide selection of window, door, and other products for the booming Washington, D.C., market—while also opening new business opportunities for Smitty's.

Evoking the feel of a streetscape, the showroom centers around a hardwood pathway flanked by fully specified, life-like façades featuring Andersen windows in all shapes and sizes, Andersen/KML custom entry doors and Therma-Tru fiberglass doors, AZEK trimboards, wood trim, and James Hardie fiber-cement siding. The curving path adds a touch of elegance while increasing the showroom's perceived space. Additional vignettes, including some interior spaces, are behind the façades.

“What we tried to achieve was to show the windows, doors, and whatever we sell in a natural environment,” says general manager Gary Natovitz, “ visitors can see what the products will look like in their homes.”

When launching the facility, Alexandria, Va.–based Smitty's received support from several of its vendors, especially AZEK, which provided samples, literature, signage, and staff training. A local AZEK fabricator, Colonial Millworks, crafted a variety of trim installations for the displays, from clean, straight applications to radii, soaring curves, and even a pergola that showcase the custom capabilities of the cellular PVC material.

The showroom, which opened in August and was officially christened at a grand opening in November, will serve a dual purpose, providing an opportunity for pro customers—and their clients—to view products installed while also helping the dealer build a profitable installed sales business catering directly to homeowners.

Ideally located minutes from Washington's major highway system and centered in an area with booming home resales and remodeling activity—but with little in the way of a full-service showroom like Window Smith, according to Natovitz—the dealer shouldn't have trouble attracting homeowner and pro business as it blazes a new path of opportunity for company and region alike. “The shopping experience, the displays, the buying experience, and the installation are what separate us,” he says.