In 1989, when Bucks County-based Grove Supply Inc. opened the very first GSI Bath Showplace, it created an irreplaceable resource for homeowners looking to turn their bathrooms into private oases. Since then, GSI Bath Showplace has grown to six showrooms throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area, where contractors and homeowners come to peruse a broad selection of the finest luxury tubs, toilets and shower systems, as well as vanities, lighting features and cabinets, among other essential bathroom accessories.
GSI Bath Showplace recently celebrated the re-opening of its Doylestown location. The showroom had been destroyed in an August 2016 fire, but like the proverbial phoenix, the showroom has been reborn from the ashes. The square footage has not changed, yet the showroom has a purposefully cleaner and more open format. This enables the space to display significantly more options, with some inventive new touches designed to enhance the shopping experience for every customer who walks through the door.
“There was a lot of excitement building as people saw we were getting ready to re-open,” says John Vitale, vice president of showrooms for Grove Supply Inc. “We opened in mid-April, and it’s been very busy here ever since. A lot of it has been repeat business; people are coming in to remake the bathrooms they did with our help 10 years ago.”
We spoke with Vitale about shifting trends in bathroom design and technology, the re-opening of the Doylestown showroom and the experience prospective customers have when they arrive, as well as why some of these customers often bring a swimsuit along with them.
What are some of the key enhancements to the re-opened showroom in Doylestown?We wanted to raise the bar and create a one-of-a-kind experience for anyone who walks through the door. For starters, it’s a much more open showroom, so we’re able to show significantly more product in the same amount of space. We’re using the space more efficiently, featuring products from key brands like American Standard and DXV, which is American Standard’s luxury line. Freestanding tubs are a big trend these days, so we’re showing as many as 10 freestanding tubs; we don’t show much in terms of drop-in tubs anymore. We also have a lot more unique vanities, with different looks for powder rooms and bathrooms.
We want people to have a sensory experience when they come here. That’s why we have added something we call an “experience room,” where customers can come in and actually try out an air tub or a steam shower. It’s a private room that people can reserve for half an hour, and that’s why some people will bring their swimsuits so they can have the full experience.
There’s so much the average homeowner doesn’t know, especially if they’re interested in adding something complex, like a steam shower. That’s where we come in. Our staff members have seen the changes in technology and design trends, so they can make the whole process a lot easier within a few hours. That’s probably the biggest value we can offer: saving the customer time and giving them the reassurance of knowing they didn’t miss anything.
Grove Supply has been a plumbing-supply house the Philadelphia region in 1948, and we’ve had our showrooms since 1989. We focus only on bathrooms; most of the companies in this business call themselves “kitchen and bath,” even though most of what they do is primarily kitchen and the bathroom is an afterthought. If you want someone who understands shower systems and tubs knows all the options available, that’s why you come to us.
We welcome people to come check us out and get some ideas. I like to tell people to go to our website, GSIBathShowplace.com, so they can get sense of the many products we represent and then bring their “wish list” to the showroom. Most people haven’t seen very many bathroom showrooms, and if they have they certainly haven’t seen one like ours.
GSI Bath Showplace
636 N. Main Street, Suite A
For more information on the Doylestown showroom or the five other GSI Bath Showplace locations, visit GSIBathShowplace.com.
Photograph by Jeff Anderson
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, June 2018.