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All it Takes is an Idea…and a Good Plan
by Thomas E. Donato
Units open: 34
It always starts with an idea, right? Then someone with a little bit of ambition, luck and savvy, takes that idea and produces something tangible. In this case, the idea was to open an upscale chain devoted to arguably the most important room in the house: the bathroom. The tangible result? A chain now consisting of 34 stores and a definite force in bath furnishings and accessories.
Waterworks’ humble beginnings date back to 1978, when the parents of Peter Sallick, now President and CEO of the chain, opened their first Waterworks store in Connecticut. Under Sallick’s direction, slowly and steadily, the chain “tested the waters” (no pun intended) by opening more stores with positive results. Waterworks’ current location line-up blankets the nation with stores everywhere from New York City, New York and Westport, Connecticut, to Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California.
The merchandise mix at Waterworks is eclectic and upscale. Offerings include bath and sink fittings and fixtures, tubs, furniture, accessories, textiles, tiles, stones and mosaics, among other things. The chain also offers a small sampling of kitchen and bar fittings and accessories as well.
CEO Sallick drew up and introduced the company’s own Waterworks Collection in 1998, giving customers the “soft touches” to complement and complete the bathroom. Co-founder and vice president of design, Barbara Sallick keeps all Waterworks offerings “clean, classic and functional.” An expert on bathroom design, Ms. Sallick has recently authored a book with co-author Lisa Light, entitled Waterworks: Inventing Bath Style, available now in bookstores or directly from the Waterworks website.
The company plans to open five stores this year, and ten stores each in 2002 and 2003, and looks for locations nationwide. Preferred sites include specialty centers, downtown streetfront locations and mixed-use shopping centers. Stores fit best into 2,000 to 4,000 sq. ft. with 25 ft. of frontage. Waterworks signs ten-year leases, with two options of five years each, and prefers to neighbor with other home furnishing retailers and better fashion chains.
Target customers are very affluent homeowners with a median household income of at least $125,000. Area demographics should include at least 100,000 people in a three-mile radius.
See the Waterworks website (www.waterworks.com) for more information, or contact Steven B. Greenberg of The Greenberg Group Inc., 1200 West Broadway, Hewlett, NY 11557. Phone (516) 295-0406, fax (516) 374-0999, e-mail Sgreenberg@thegreenberggroup.com.
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