Kitchen countertops are the largest and most lucrative product share of many shops and are likely to be the focus of most fabricators. Regardless of the materials he or she works with, be it solid surface, quartz, stone, etc., the job isn’t over once the installers have the countertop in place.
Additional outlets are also largely available that continue to foster reliable upsell markets and are key profit centers for fabricators, such as sinks, vanities and other prefabricated accessories. But for a countertop shop to make effective sales in these areas to justify the marketing of accessories, it is important that fabrication businesses know exactly what is available on the market. Even more important, to be profitable in an upsell, businesses should know what homeowners are looking for and how those consumers are putting these accessories into use on the final touches of their homes.
Everything Including The Kitchen Sink
Sinks are increasingly taking the center stage in today’s kitchens and, therefore, a mainstay of any fabrication business. Not only is the fabricator responsible in most cases for taking care of the sink cutouts and properly mounting sinks to their newly installed counters, but is also increasingly called upon by clients to assist in choosing the correct sink for the kitchen. This new responsibility gives the fabricator more control of the total project and can foster a more trusting relationship as the client looks to the fabricator for an honest opinion.
Shapes, Sizes, Styles And Materials
Undermount sinks can give a kitchen a more seamless appearance and leave fewer crevices to clean, supplying both form and function to a kitchen’s centerpiece — the sink. Troy Welker, national sales director for IPT Sink Company, an international sink wholesaler, said the big trend he continues to see is the demand for the undermount sink. “All my customers want is the undermount sink, now,” he said.
Welker said he has also noticed the driving demand in the sale of stainless steel now that the price of stainless steel sinks has become more and more reasonable. Another pivotal factor in the boom in stainless steel is the variety of styles and accessories available that make these sinks a great choice for a modern kitchen design.
Robert Brown, regional sales manager for AmeriSink, concurred that consumers are demanding undermount sinks, noting that about 90 percent of the kitchen sinks he sells are undermounts, and most homeowners are looking for double-bowl sinks in their kitchens.
Jim Bechtold, of Rugy IPD, a sink wholesaler, said double-bowl sinks with differing sized bowls or offset bowls (see Figure 1) are catching the eye of those looking to a more modern kitchen ideal. These sinks typically come in a 60-40 or 70-30 style, with one bowl being 60 or 70 percent of the bowl space and the other being 40 or 30, respectively.
Johnny Crain, of Chemcore Industries, a large wholesaler of sinks, added that the discriminating homeowner today is also aware of the depth of the sink, with 8-, 9- or even 10-in. depths being popular. Crain also said D-shaped sinks, where the bowl is neither round nor squared, are growing in popularity among stainless steel as well as solid surface sinks. He also pointed out that, for stainless steel, the industrial look is calling for a large, square single-bowl sink rather than a double-bowl or rounded sink (see Figure 2).
Another kitchen sink fad has been the rectangular, extra-deep farmhouse, or apron sink, designed to look like the exposed front sink commonly associated with older rural homes. It is growing in popularity among homes wishing to capture a “country” feel. Apron sinks are most common in a single basin model and usually in white porcelain or enamel, though more manufacturers are now offering this design in other materials, such as stainless steel and copper (see Figure 3).