The Feinberg brothers have done a lot of remodeling jobs, but a teardown was recently in order for their own business.
Their 25-year-old Allied Kitchen & Bath opened a new $2.5 million, 10,000-square-foot showroom stocked with about $1 million in displays. It consolidates four locations into one site, making business management easier and boosting the image of a $5.5 million business on one of South Florida’s busiest streets. “People perceived us as just this little shop on Oakland Park Boulevard,” President Bill Feinberg said.
Now, he hopes the new two-story showroom will help the business compete better with the likes of the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach. Interior designer Janet Ruffolo agrees with his logic. “It’s nice to have a source outside of DCOTA,” said Ruffolo, of Interiors by Janet M. Ruffolo in Lighthouse Point.
A proliferation of design shows has sparked consumer interest, and she likes being able to send her clients to the Allied showroom on their own. (DCOTA is a trade only, which means homeowners must be accompanied by a designer.)
The new Allied building was planned before the current economic slowdown, but Feinberg and his brother, VP Joe Feinberg, sought to minimize risk by bringing in a partner to co-own the building and asking vendors to provide displays at minimal costs. It might be Bill Feinberg’s biggest move since he came to Florida from Philadelphia in 1979. “One by one, my brothers and parents followed down,” he said. By 1984, four Feinberg brothers were all working together: David Feinberg runs the window and door department, while Rob Feinberg is GM and a certified kitchen designer.
The business originally operated out of an 800-square-foot sales center on Prospect Road, near their current location. Early on, they bought two duplexes on Oakland Park Boulevard, using one for a showroom and one for an office. They bought a third building a few years later, creating two showrooms next door to each other. Cramped for space, they converted garage space and used sheds and trailers.
They started planning the new building four years ago, leased showroom space across the street, and tore down one of the old buildings in 2007, just as the economy tanked. Another was just torn down to leave room for more parking. “We are lucky we are able to survive during this time,” Bill Feinberg said. “Our great business is repeat customers and referrals. We are still selling big projects in a down economy.”
About 90 percent of the business has been homeowners, but an increasing number of designers suggested Allied build a better showroom for presentations to clients, Bill Feinberg said.
Ruffolo said she has a symbiotic relationship with Allied because it doesn’t poach designers’ clients and refers business to her. Ruffolo said her clients get a discount on merchandise from Allied, which offsets the cost of her design services.
The brothers also want to target contractors and their clients, as well. Although Joe Feinberg is a general contractor, Allied doesn’t construct building shells or additions.
An example of how they can work with contractors is Cannatelli Builders, which has referred clients to Allied for about five years, Joe Feinberg said. Owner Ed Cannatelli is a partner in a limited liability company that was set up separately from Allied’s corporation to build the new showroom.
“We had a good working relationship from day one,” said Cannatelli, saying he and the brothers emphasize the value of their services, integrity, and quality of products, rather than just competing on price. “If you are looking for a cheap kitchen, you are not going to Allied,” Cannatelli said. “If you want a good quality kitchen with service and at a reasonable price, you are going to Allied.”
Cannatelli said his experience helped expedite construction. He said he had worked with Pavlik Design Team, a Fort Lauderdale firm that was brought in to do interior layout.
“They spent a lot of time, energy, effort, and money to make this a state–of–the–art showroom,” Cannatelli said.
The key now for Allied will be to ride out the current economic cycle, which will thin out some of the riff-raff competition, Cannatelli said.
He does admit to a bit of concern about the financial nut the brothers have to crack each month in the current economy, but adds: “I love to see people that take risk – especially when the reward is there.”