Banner Plumbing Supply, Buffalo Grove, IL
This week, we are spotlighting Michelle Henderson and Banner Plumbing Supply – Chicagoland’s largest plumbing supply center. Banner started over 60 years ago on the South side of Chicago – and from those humble beginnings grew to 2 branches, a 15,000 square foot showroom, 20 delivery trucks and over 125,000 square feet of warehouse space. With a wide array of nearly 100 live fixtures, you can turn on 50 showerheads or flush more than 10 working toilets in their stunning new Buffalo Grove showroom. Consumers and design professionals alike rely on highly trained personnel – like Michelle – who can answer just about any decorative plumbing question.
Question: What are the biggest challenges you face daily?
Michelle: Buyers Beware: Sink Quality Does Matter…
One of the largest challenges we face in helping a client with kitchen sink selection is the influx of imported low quality sinks out in the marketplace. Buyers need to be aware that a free sink is worth just that – and if the countertop is cut out to fit a low-end sink – they may be stuck with it. We find it very rewarding to help a client work through how they use their kitchen sink and faucet to find the product that will best serve their needs.
Question: How do you go about matching a sink or faucet to someone’s needs?
Michelle: Let’s talk faucet!
When helping a client select a kitchen faucet, I begin the process by discussing the function, features and benefits of a single handle, two handle, pull out, pull down and a traditional faucet with a side spray. Once we have landed on our desired function we then talk about finish and design. Some of the key things we talk about in regard to the pull outs and pull downs are the ergonomic feel of the spray toggle, how easily the head retracts to the body and if it stays retracted and the latest technology that is in the marketplace. In regard to finish and style it is very personal to the client’s taste.
I have been seeing more and more a preference for a softer contemporary or cleaner traditional. There has been an uptick in more rustic finishes (like oil rubbed bronze) on clean lined product—which is a departure from what the trend has been with the oil rubbed on a more traditional product. With the green movement taking hold we have seen an increase in the desire for matching point of use filtration dispensers–there are too many water bottles occupying our landfills and clients want to cook with the best water they can for their families.
Michelle: Let’s talk sink!
When we move to the kitchen sink there are many variables that factor into the right selection. One main topic is how they use their current sink. Does everything go into the dishwasher? Do they hand wash larger items? If they use a disposal in which direction do they rinse, scrape and load? It is so important to have this dialogue because if the wrong product is selected it upsets the routine and it is my goal to enhance our customer’s lives, not disrupt it.
Question: What’s the hottest sink trend out there?
Michelle: GRANITE! COLOR!
With the introduction of BLANCO’s SILGRANIT® II sinks we are now accommodating a whole new range of customers. The beautiful color options now available are very complimentary to the granite tops and glazes on their cabinetry. Having the sink pick up a color that is a small detail elsewhere really lends itself to that complete design look.
Also the new technology of MicroEdge™ has been well received with our clients for many reasons. One of which is the sleek clean look, but the biggest is due to the fact that many clients are not fans of the visible silicone in the reveal of the sink and if the reveal is not present they are not happy with the potential of bacterial build up under the edge of the granite. The FLOW has also been a real eye catcher for clients as well. I attribute this to the ease of wiping down the drain board area—not to mention the great look.
Question: What’s Your Favorite Sink?
Michelle: BLANCO ARCON™ Super Single.
My favorite is the ARCON series – it has displayed well in our showroom too. Let’s face it…. People want something different or special—that is why they spending the money to remodel their kitchen. With the great curved lines of the ARCON series they can make the sink the focal point of the kitchen.
About Michelle Henderson
Michelle got her start in the industry 15 years ago at a small kitchen and bath dealership before she moved on to work in plumbing supply. Interior Design schooling and project experience helped her land her current position at Banner where she manages their 15,000 square foot showroom.
About Banner Plumbing Supply
Banner was founded in 1947 by Charles Greenspon in the south side of Chicago in a 3 flat where three employees loaded and unloaded pipe out of the basement window. Today Banner has grown from that small location on the South side to have over 80 employees and a wonderful reputation for excellence in customer service. Their 15,000 square foot showroom is the largest in the Chicago market, but it is also very accessible and interactive.