more than a look: Bend’s New Ferguson Showroom

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“Ferguson has had a presence in Bend since 2003. We briefly opened a showroom in 2008,
however, our plumbing counter was the flagship since the trade business was booming. But now our customers are wanting more, and we’ve added a showroom with plumbing, lighting, and appliances and made it beautiful. Now it’s about 6,000 square feet of really
gorgeous fixtures.”
–Shannon Wertman, Showroom Manager, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

You can travel the world and not find another place quite like Bend, Oregon. By the same token, you can visit Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Galleries in all 50 states, but you won’t be able to find another exactly like the one that recently opened in Bend.

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Nationally, Ferguson is the largest wholesale distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies, pipes, and valve fittings in the country, but thanks to the new showroom, it’s becoming known for much more in Bend. “Ferguson has had a presence in Bend since 2003. We briefly opened a showroom in 2008, however, our plumbing counter was the flagship since the trade business was booming. But now our customers are wanting more, and we’ve added a showroom with plumbing, lighting, and appliances and made it beautiful. Now it’s about 6,000 square feet of really gorgeous fixtures,” says Shannon Wertman, Showroom Manager, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

Make no mistake that those 6,000 square feet are well utilized. The centerpiece is a huge working kitchen anchoring five other kitchens—for a total of six different display kitchens. Thirteen plumbing vignettes are scattered throughout as are something in the neighborhood of 400 different light products.

“We have a district lighting manager who selected lighting just for the Bend showroom. His focus is to select products specifically to complement the Bend area. The styles are very different from what you might see in downtown Seattle, for example,” adds Shannon.

She makes a distinction, saying, “One person’s vision of contemporary might be another’s idea of traditional.” So, it takes a knowledgeable buyer with not only experience in that part of the country to understand what is trending, but the aesthetic eye to complement it as well.

“The design is trending modern but there is also a lean toward transitional. One thing we’re seeing is the use of gold. Gold is extremely popular. Mixing metals can really make a room come to life. A black and gold faucet can become the focal point of the room.” Shannon continues, “You can change out a dining room light fixture—maybe add a mixed brass and brushed nickel chandelier and change the whole view of the room. It’s also a way to change things that might not be as drastic as getting new countertops, for example.”

Staying ahead of the curve is challenging and rewarding. As Shannon explains, “Things are constantly being changed. We are probably going to be remodeling one of the showroom kitchens in a couple months. Just to keep it fresh. A vendor might introduce something new and we want to keep everything in the displays current. It’s fun but it’s also a huge challenge—getting those huge ranges in and out of the building. But it really keeps it fun when designers come in and they’ve been in a couple weeks before and now they see a bunch of new lights, a new range, or maybe a whole new kitchen. The showroom is always changing.”

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“When you go into the showroom, associates will ask you questions so they can recommend things that will complement your lifestyle. It’s a deeper thing than just how it looks; it’s about how it complements your life.”
–Shannon Wertman, Showroom Manager, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Of course, it’s more than just moving appliances. It’s something that keeps the Ferguson crew involved on many levels. “We send people to all the lighting companies to see the latest and greatest. When a vendor changes a product, we like to update our showroom too and we put the newest thing on the floor,” says Wertman.

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With that in mind, there is a careful curation of brands and products you’ll find in the Ferguson showroom. In the main kitchen, there are appliances by Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Jenn-Air. These appliances are not there simply to look at. They are fully functional and you are welcome to try them out and experience their features. Steam ovens, convection ovens, induction ovens, coffee systems. They’re all there. Steam ovens in particular are getting a lot of attention. “It helps retain more moisture and food nutrients during cooking. People can come in and see a cooking demonstration. This way, you can experience first-hand how the steam oven works,” offers Shannon.

As a fully-working kitchen, there is more than just cooking appliances to try out. “We have a working kitchen faucet display, which may sound a little silly, but with touch faucets and center faucets it’s kind of hard to explain it to a customer so it’s helpful to be able to show them the spray pattern,” says Shannon.

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At some point, the number of things to look at and absorb may seem overwhelming. And that’s where Ferguson’s design consultants come into play. Constant training and learning are part of the job, but there is certainly more to it than just knowing the products. The art is in understanding the client so you can match them with the right product. Shannon explains, “When you go into the showroom, associates will ask you questions so they can recommend things that will complement your lifestyle. It’s a deeper thing than just how it looks; it’s about how it complements your life.” That is something of particular relevance to those of us in this part of the world. Lifestyle is often what draws us to a place like Central Oregon. It’s also what probably makes the coffee machines such a focal point of any showroom in the Northwest.

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Taking the time to get to know the client is important to Ferguson’s staff. Shannon offers some good advice to help with that process, saying, “If you have a Pinterest board, or magazine clippings, your house plans, your measurements—anything you can bring assures that we have the full picture of what’s going on.”

In this day and age, with so many people choosing to conduct a lot of their business online, it might seem as though a showroom is outdated. It’s true. A lot can be done online. Shannon points out, “We have a great website that can help you find your perfect fixtures.” She says it’s a valuable tool to explore a wide range of products and educate yourself. “I prefer to see things before I buy them. I want to know how they feel and work. If you’re more hands-on like me, there is no better place than the showroom,” she adds.

If you too are a visual person, or are simply looking for the latest and greatest, you are definitely due a visit to Bend’s Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.