Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dealer Profile: Bill Zimmer

Bill Zimmer is originally from Warsaw, IN. In 1976 he and his wife Marcia opened a home improvement company on Vine Street in Huntington, Indiana. The business, known as the W.A. Zimmer Company originally focused on vinyl and aluminum siding sales and installation. Over the years as sunrooms and patio related products gained in popularity with homeowners, Bill & Marcia narrowed the focus of the company and built a new showroom facility at US 24 & Broadway in 1994, and since 2000 have specialized only in the patio related portion of the industry. W. A. Zimmer Company is well known in Northeast Indiana for their quality sunrooms and patio products. Now, in another move to meet the needs of the market, Bill & Marcia have added Bath Planet® tub and shower-liner systems to the product lines at W. A. Zimmer Company.

How did you learn about the brand? 

Early this year I began seeing advertising in the trade magazines for Bath Planet. Because we were busy with sunrooms and awnings this spring and summer, I had procrastinated about contacting Bath Planet® for more information. One day a representative from Bath Planet stopped in the showroom because he had been referred to us by a few common friends in the industry. That conversation lead to a tour at Bath Planet which turned out to be a very impressive facility. We followed up with some research on the success of other Bath Planet® dealers across the country, and came to a positive decision.

Why did you choose Bath Planet?
In two words, “Great People!” The staff and owners are all top notch and are tremendously enthusiastic about helping us at every step of the way. Everyone in the plant hands you a business card with their personal cell number and tells you to call ANY time. They provide sales and installation training where everyone participates in the installation of at least one tub or shower. Their manufacturing process is unique and they have almost 500 molds of tubs manufactured over the last 60 years so they can match any tub made. That custom tub process was another factor that helped us decide to go with Bath Planet. Again, they are great people to work with.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
In the early years we used subcontractors to install our jobs. Maintaining quality, providing timely installations and consistent service became a challenge as we grew. In the early 1980’s we switched to full-time employee installers, and finding the right people was a challenge. The economy has been challenging a couple times over the past 36 years, but after surviving a recession in the 80’s we learned not to get into debt and just live within our means. It’s made these last few years a little more manageable.

What are your expansion or development plans?
We are currently finishing up some Bath Planet displays in our showroom and after completion we will begin to gradually advertise Bath Planet in more areas of our territory. As volume grows we’ll add staff, possibly 4 more on the Bath Planet® side over the next year. We’re at 10 on the sunroom side and we will be adding 2 people soon.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
We own a candy store and espresso bar called The Party Shop, which employs roughly 10 people part-time. This is an old store in downtown Huntington that has been in business forever, I loved the pecan turtles so much that when the previous owner closed the candy store I bought it from him and added the espresso portion. I’m a regular supporter of the local YMCA and participated on the building committee when we constructed the new Y in 2008. Racquetball might be a passion.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bath Planet featured in The Windsor Star

Bath Planet was recently featured in The Windsor Star in an article titled “Quality products powers Bath Planet." The article discusses the Bath Planet location in Windsor, opened by Gord and Karen Ranisavljevic. Some popular products are discussed, and Rick Hirschhaut, Senior Vice President of Bath Planet, also talks about some trends they have been seeing in the industry. Click here for the full article.

Quality products powers Bath Planet
By: Dave Hall

A four-year-old Windsor business is on the cutting edge of the bathroom products industry after becoming the first Canadian supplier of Bath Planet products.

New Bath Inc., was established by partners Gord and Karen Ranisavljevic and Frank Ondracka in March 2010 when it was launched as part of the trio’s E-Star Windows and Doors Ltd., operation which had opened two years earlier.

Bath Planet was launched in the fourth quarter of last year when owners of U.S.-based BCI, a major supplier of bath products, decided to expand into the retail market.

“We’d been fairly successful on our own and the only reason we decided to join Bath Planet was the quality and range of products they offer,” said Gord Ranisavljevic.

These products include walk-in tubs, bath-to-shower conversions and full custom-made acrylic enclosures crafted in a variety of textures, styles and colours.

“What people are looking for today are products that look great, look rich and warm while at the same time are easy to keep clean,” said Karen Ranisavljevic. “People are tired of using toothbrushes and bleach to clean the grout. Our products just need wiping down which makes them simple and easy to maintain.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Martha Stewart Living online article about bathroom housekeeping solutions. Read the full article here.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips
By: Martha Stewart Living

A Minute a Day
Learn simple techniques for keeping your bathroom sparkling. Start by tossing harsh scouring powder for the tub. It is too abrasive to use regularly. After showering, take a minute to wipe down the tub and faucets with a terry-cloth towel to help remove soap scum and prevent mineral deposits.

Squeegee the Shower
Pull the shower curtain closed when not in use, so water can't sit in the folds. Spread towels over two hooks to dry, or hang them on rods instead. Wipe shower walls with a squeegee after every use.

Circulate Air
To discourage mildew growth in the bathroom, increase the amount of air circulation and light to decrease moisture. Use fans during the shower and for roughly 30 minutes after, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and open windows.

Prevent Bathtub Rings
Bathtub rings are usually the result of using oily bath products. Clean with warm water and a mildly abrasive cleanser after using such products.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ad-Supported Toilet Paper in Restrooms

An Ann Arbor, Mich.-based start-up firm, Star Toilet Paper, recently started selling ads and coupons printed on sheets of toilet paper. They are selling ads everywhere, from jet bridges at airports to movie tickets. Now, Jordan and Bryan Silverman are aiming to take advertising where it's never been before.

Mich. start-up debuts ad-supported toilet paper in restrooms
By: Katherine Yung, Detroit Free Press

Their Ann Arbor, Mich.-based start-up firm, Star Toilet Paper, recently started selling ads and coupons printed on sheets of toilet paper.

"It takes advertisers a couple of seconds to wrap their heads around advertising on toilet paper," said Jordan, who acknowledges his business elicits plenty of snickers and long pauses.

The tag line on the company's website advises people, "Don't rush. Look before you flush."

The company plans to distribute free, ad-supported toilet paper to public restrooms at restaurants, offices, stadiums and other venues. These locations can save money on a basic necessity in exchange for providing Star Toilet's advertisers with a captive audience.

Amid all the laughs, Star Toilet was recently named one of five finalists for Entrepreneurmagazine's College Entrepreneur of 2012 contest.

"Advertising is about having people read about your product and this seemed the ideal place to do so," said Jordan, a philosophy major who graduated from the University of Michigan this spring. "So far, people have loved it."

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