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.

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