Erinn Waldo, Posted July 22, 2016
Having expertise is essential to a showroom business, but seizing an opportunity before potential leads are lost is key to having a long-lasting trade. Todd Jackson, president and CEO of San Diego-based Jackson Design and Remodeling (JDR), found his company in such a situation recently and saw a chance to expand his showroom and reach more clients.
"I decided to launch Home Expressions after several years of hearing from local homeowners who wanted to work with JDR but had a project different from the company’s high-concept structural and architectural focus," explained Jackson, who added that from the 1,500 leads JDR received yearly, 600 were being referred elsewhere. "Establishing Home Expressions is a strategic solution that allows JDR to increase overall volume and remain adaptable in any economic environment while serving even more clients with solutions that make sense for their budgets."View kitchen gallery here ».
All in the Neighborhood
Before Home Expressions - the extension of JDR - was founded, the design-build remodeling company focused on home remodeling, additions, outdoor living spaces and other high-concept home ideas. Home Expressions focuses on remodeling projects with no structural changes or architecture needed, enabling the company to keep this smaller business at the firm. While the idea for the second showroom was still forming, however, Jackson had to decide how and where two showrooms under the same company would work.
"My decision to start a new company relied on the location and proximity to the JDR office. The prospect of running two major businesses 30 or more minutes away from each other seemed unappealing and ineffective," he said, adding that there was an opportunity to purchase a similar company along the way, but that would have meant taking on a new culture and process. "Then, in a sudden turn of events that truly expresses, ‘timing is everything,’ a property became available right next door to the Jackson Design and Remodeling Design Center."
The next-door space is 9,000 square feet, and when Home Expressions moved in, it was redesigned with 3,000 square feet dedicated to office space and 6,000 dedicated to display space. There is also a 2,000-sq.-ft. exterior space with selections for outdoor living materials. ??
Inside, the traditional showroom format is meant to be also an interactive, all-inclusive environment for clients to explore and be guided through choices for more than 80 percent of the selections for their remodel.
"With hundreds of materials, finishes and examples on display, visitors can easily see, touch and experience in one place all the styles, materials, textures, finishes and accessories that will help the design of their home express their individuality," said Jackson.
The layout of the selection center is meant to make clients feel like there is something new around every corner. Products are displayed to give the idea that there is an infinite number of choices, but all the sources are from carefully selected suppliers.
"We give people the excitement and freedom of a wide and inspiring selection while controlling our sales and ordering process," he added.
It was a challenge to create the experience of multitudes of choices for clients, and the company made a significant investment in the center for this reason. Several vendors supplemented the overall costs by contributing materials, also helping strengthen the relationship JDR has with them.
All of these collaborations culminated in multiple vignettes for kitchens, bathrooms and specialty areas of the home. Each vignette was carefully designed to show not just the different styles but also different price points; the three full kitchen vignettes display three different budgets ranging from $65,000 to $135,000.
"Vignettes help people see how their ideas may look ‘in real life’ and often spark new ways of thinking about their homes," said Jackson. "Our displays and display walls were designed - often in collaboration with partners - to make it simple for clients to visualize the many selections for each design decision, helping to both clarify and expand upon the possibilities for their homes."
Starting with Reputation
Jackson prides himself on his experience and his company’s good long-standing relationship in the San Diego community. He entered the remodeling business at 20, became a licensed contractor at 23 and built his first addition at 24. After starting JDR in 1989, the company has served several thousand clients in the area.
"Because of our reputation in the community, clients know they can trust a company founded by us," said Jackson.
The new showroom recently invited hundreds of San Diegans to an open house. It also hosts free monthly design and remodeling seminars, giving the team an opportunity to introduce the Home Expressions Selection Center to potential clients while educating them on what they should know about remodels.
"Now our ability to serve a diversity of clients is essential to what makes us different," said Jackson. "Now that we have both Jackson Design and Remodeling and Home Expressions, we can handle almost any remodeling project for a client, no matter the size and type."