By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
H.H. Gregg has developed a premium majap concept store, called Fine Lines, designed to serve the decorator, high-end consumer and custom home-builder markets.
The 61-unit brown- and white-goods chain opened the first Fine Lines location near company headquarters here last month, adjacent to Gregg's flagship store. The prototype is a sleek, 18,000-square-foot showroom that features high-performance appliances by Ariston, Bosch, Best by Broan, Gaggenau, Jade, Jenn-Air Pro-Style, Kitchenaid Pro Line, Thermador and U-Line within homelike settings.
Chairman/CEO Jerry Throgmartin said the new concept store fills a largely unmet demand by high-end consumers and premium home builders seeking elite majaps and service within the Midwest market. “[We] provide a resource that many clients have been traveling out-of-market for,” he said. “Custom home builders, kitchen remodelers and food enthusiasts have expressed a desire for more choices in upscale kitchen appliances.”
The needs of those clients differ from H.H. Gregg's more mass-market customer base, which generally buys replacement appliances on price, Throgmartin explained. By contrast, super premium shoppers can revisit a store three or four times over the course of a year before making a purchase, which can represent a significant investment in their homes.
To that end, Gregg culled its most customer service-oriented salespeople to staff the new store, provided them with additional training on consultative selling for the super premium market, and will base their compensation on customer satisfaction surveys rather than commissions.
Fine Lines also has its own delivery and installation teams, and offers in-home tutorial services.
The store itself has six live kitchens displaying over 150 working models with such high-end features as infrared broiling, built-in refrigeration, warming drawers, wine coolers and steam wall ovens. Personal chefs provide regular in-store demonstrations of the products' technology and functionality.
After fine-tuning the concept, Throgmartin plans to roll Fine Lines out in each of its six markets including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and, most recently, Alabama. Like the prototype, the stores are expected to be built adjacent to existent Gregg locations in order to provide a consumer electronics offering should clients require it.
Throgmartin noted that the trend toward larger homes, continued growth in the custom home market and increased interest in epicurean lifestyles among baby boomers should bode well for the premium majap market, and influenced the decision to launch Fine Lines. “The custom home market is continuing to experience strong growth, and homebuyers are becoming increasingly discerning with regard to the size, functionality and design of their kitchen appliances,” he said.
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