GSI Bath Showplace has been a premier bathroom showroom in the region since 1989. Its Bucks Countybased parent company—Grove Supply, Inc.—has six showroom locations throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, offering everything from faucets, cabinets, toilets and tubs, to shower doors, showerheads, lighting features, vanities, various bath accessories and much more. Although a fire reduced the Doylestown location to rubble in August 2016, the company is preparing to reopen the rebuilt showroom so it’s better than ever.
GSI Bath Showplace will give the revamped showroom a completely different look, with grander displays and a customerfriendly open layout—something that was not possible at the location prior to the tragedy. The company expects the project to reach completion by the spring of 2018. John Vitale, vice president of showrooms, says the new showroom will be one of the best—if not the best—in the Tri-State area.
“We started to put our thoughts together and decided: Let’s raise the bar and create a display environment truly worth the trip,” says Vitale. “It’s going to be very open and have a clean look, yet we are fitting in more products that people want to buy today. For example, we will have over 10 tubs—mostly the popular freestanding—on the floor to which you are invited to sit in any of them. This will be more customer-friendly and inviting and more rooms will be set up as a bathroom so customers can see it in 3-D instead of trying to picture it in their head. It’s the first time we’re doing something like this.”
Other examples of the variety visitors will see set up include their many displays of shower bases, walls and doors. Vitale adds, “The vast amount of unique vanities, medicine cabinets and top selections to be seen will be so overwhelming, you’ll be wondering: Is there anything else left for the human mind to create? Coming to a GSI Bath Showplace lets visitors use their senses to get a true feel for the product.”
In other words, it will be a far cry from having to simply view products on a high shelf or in a brochure.
In addition to offering displays throughout the showroom and the open layout, Vitale and his team—showroom manager Maureen Manney Crow and sales associate Nancy Buehrle—spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the Doylestown showroom stand out and create a unique customer experience. Their solution: to create a private “experience room” where customers can actually try before you buy what some would call “bathroom appliances.”
“Now that we have this opportunity to start from scratch, we really wanted to make this a one-of-a-kind experience,” Vitale says. “We’ll have a room where people can reserve a time—half hour to an hour—and sit and soak in a whirlpool tub or use our steam shower as well and experience what an inhome steam shower can do for your body. It’s like a personal spa, and there are so many health benefits. A steam shower cleans out your pores, improves breathing, opens up nasal passages and helps promote sinus drainage. I encourage people to experience it in our showroom.”
GSI Bath Showplace follows the latest trends and carries almost every style and product with the most up-to-date technology available. Featured brands include American Standard, Grohe and DXV, among others.
“We have a lot more variety of products,” Vitale says. “Home centers will only have a few big vendors, but we have that along with some unique and exclusive lines. For example, we have over 10 different faucet lines and a big variety of specialty vanity bases—each that have their niche, different finishes and different styles. There’s so much to view and touch in a setting you will not see at home centers.”
Additionally, GSI Bath Showplace is one of the few showrooms in the region to carry DXV products from American Standard, a high-end line of designer faucets, sinks, toilets and accessories inspired by the notable design movements—classic, golden era, modern and contemporary—of American Standard’s 150-year history. Vitale suggests customers visit its website, GSIBathShowplace.com, and create a wish list of their favorite DXV products online and bring it to the showroom; this not only saves time, but also enables customers to get a better feel for the products before they even walk through the door.
“We recommend this because usually customers are overwhelmed and surprised at how much there is to consider for a bathroom,” he says. “They didn’t realize all of the products that are available to them, like having shower glass doors with multiple slide options with very little metal surrounding it, or the multiple shower faucets and other features that can be used inside your shower, like an LED-lit, fog-free shaving mirror or a Bluetooth radio.”
Recently, freestanding tubs and vanities have become more popular, according to Vitale, who says he’s seen more customers opt for a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. The result: a clean look that’s less modern—he calls it “transitional.”
“People are ripping out bathrooms from the ’80s with their tiny showers and tubs dropped into large tile decks and expanding the showers and installing smaller freestanding, but deep soaking tubs,” he says. “For vanities, people are getting away from having them built in between walls and installing more stand-alone furniture style designs. Also gaining acceptance in homes lately are wall-hung vanities that give a more open feel and certainly are much easier to clean around.”
GSI Bath Showplace concentrates solely on bathrooms, unlike most other showrooms and home centers. What that means, Vitale says, is that customers will “see things differently” at its showrooms compared with locations that focus mostly on kitchens but have some bath products, mostly as an afterthought.
“We sell toilets and not just what you see everywhere else; we have toilets that go in the wall, clean themselves and, yes, can clean you, too,” he says. “We focus solely on the bathroom products and products you won’t find anywhere else, products such as mirrors that are 60 inches wide and 40 inches high, with LED lights and a built-in television screen. You can watch the traffic report as you’re shaving. And because bath products are our specialty, our staff knows what these products can do and help you find what is right for you.”
For anyone thinking about giving a bathroom a facelift before GSI Bath Showplace has completed the overhaul of the Doylestown showroom, the company has five other showrooms in the area: Devon, Philadelphia’s Fox Chase neighborhood and Southampton, as well as two locations in New Jersey (Hightstown and Stone Harbor). There, they will speak with a friendly industry professional who has the knowledge and expertise to guide them through the process. Of course, homeowners can always visit the company’s website, GSIBathShowplace.com, to peruse the full range of options.
“We see ourselves as a destination,” Vitale says. “It’s a different experience than being in a home center. If you want to see all of the options available for a bathroom, you want to come to GSI. That’s what we do best.”
GSI BATH SHOWPLACE
636-A N. Main Street
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, November, 2017.