Appliance Distributors Unlimited (ADU)
For more than 30 years, Appliance Distributors Unlimited (ADU) has been providing a broad network of builders, remodelers, property managers and homeowners with high-quality appliances. ADU was founded in 1982 in Takoma Park, Maryland. Over the years, the business has expanded to five locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region, with showrooms in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. ADU represents the industry’s most renowned brands, including General Electric, Monogram, Wolf, Sub-Zero, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Miele, Viking, Thermador, Bosch and others.
With 21 sales associates spread between five showrooms, ADU employees strive to offer customers quality service and a complete kitchen package. “This has been the primary focus of ADU for many years,” says Pat Mister, co-owner of ADU. “We do this through repeat business in three main segments: kitchen dealers, builders and remodelers. We highly recommend to all of our trade partners to send their clients into the nearest ADU showroom.”
The ADU sales team is trained to lead customers through the selection of appliances based not only on appearance, but most of all functionality. “If we’re putting together a kitchen for a family, we want to know how many kids they have and how many parents are in the home and what their day-to-day life is like so we can make a kitchen that is functional for that family, says Sam Gregory, vice president of sales and marketing. “Our sales people are trained to make the consumer’s dream kitchen a reality.”
ADU has also developed several internal training programs. One that the team takes great pride in is called “Exceeding Customer Expectations.” Gregory instructs the company’s salespeople on how to satisfy customer’s requests and desires, follow up with them and complete their transactions so that their needs are fulfilled.
The company offers training sessions all locations. “We position them wherever dealers are close so we can have constant contact,” says Gregory. “We divide programs amongst our stores so they don’t have to travel so far.” These sessions cater to ADU’s broad customer base, including kitchen dealers, remodelers and contractors.
“One example is the concept of putting panel on a dishwasher or a refrigerator,” Gregory explains. “Flush is an industry term that means when you apply a panel to an appliance, such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, you make sure the panel doesn’t stick out. Some people are very fastidious about the appearance of their appliances in regards to the coastline of their cabinets. While some integrated appliances don’t do that, we help our customers determine which dishwashers and refrigerators truly have flush panels – when you put the panel on, it on doesn’t stick beyond the contours of cabinet.”
ADU offers this training with the full gamut of appliances. “Form and function are important but so are aesthetics,” says Gregory. “We want to make sure terms we use in the appliance business are communicated from the people we train, such as dealers, to the consumers ordering products from them.”
Many of the long-term relationships that help draw business to ADU come through the company’s relationships within the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA). “The greatest benefit of the trade membership is networking,” explains Gregory. “ADU belongs to a number of associations – NKBA, NARI, AIA and ASID – but particularly with the MBIA and NKBA, builders and designers that belong to the organizations work with us to source appliances for their projects. Trade members know that they can send clients into our locations and we can help them find products that meet their design needs, we then supply the trade partners with a quote and factory dimensions.”
At the end of the day, ADU continues to grow steadily and sustainably thanks to a new showroom and the marketing and communications efforts of the team. “Our newest and brightest showroom depicts the educational aspect of our business very well,” Gregory adds. “Our new Gaithersburg, Maryland, showroom opened Oct. 9, 2014, and we’re about to celebrate our one-year anniversary. We are excited to be able to display the current types of innovation that consumers are looking for.”
“I’ve had a unique opportunity here” Gregory continues. “As vice president of sales and marketing, I’ve been able to redesign our website, do some blogging and take on some of the hidden talents I didn’t know I had, and create ads for magazines, like Home & Design.”
“The team has been wonderful” he adds. “The staff is one of the biggest reasons I came here. Some of these people have been here 20 years or longer. I know the owners very well. When I was in sales for another company, they were one of my accounts. I always thought if I wanted to change jobs, this would be a company to look at. It has certainly worked out the last 10 years.”
As the business continues to adapt to the needs of consumers, Appliance Distributors Unlimited can look forward to many years as a provider of quality appliances in the mid-Atlantic.
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