We are not a typical product distributor
Milford, MA (Vocus) August 5, 2010
Clarke, the exclusive Sub-Zero, Asko and Wolf appliances distributor for New England, challenges the traditional concept of product distribution by creating reasons to stay in touch with the consumer. This passion to be a consumer resource has resulted in award-winning showrooms, cooking classes near Boston and in Fairfield County, CT, and the nation’s top-rated Sub-Zero, Wolf and Asko service company.
“We are not a typical product distributor,” said Clarke CEO Tom Clarke, whose innovation in distribution won him the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in New England. “Most distributors never see the end consumer. They bring boxes in the warehouse door, break-pack them and ship the products to retailers to be sold. Traditionally they see the retailer as their customer and rarely contact the end consumer. From the day I opened this company in 1991, we have wanted to be a resource for the homeowner, designer, and architect. These are the people who specify and use our appliances and I saw that relationship as key to our success.”
According to Clarke, his company is focused on marketing as much as distribution, and his mission is to educate the consumer about the superior features offered by Sub-Zero, Wolf and Asko appliances.
“Clarke doesn’t sell appliances to the homeowner,” Clarke continued. “We sell through a network of very experienced independent retail dealers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. These appliance dealers have proven to be knowledgeable, experienced and customer-centric. Our brands are not sold through big box stores or home centers in New England, because our customers want product knowledge and superior service, which can only be found at an independent dealer.”
Clarke cited the August 2010 issue of Consumer Reports whose survey of more than 20,000 appliance consumers reported that experienced independent dealers earned the highest marks.
“Everyone considers price, that’s a given, especially today” said Clarke, “but the Consumer Reports survey confirmed that a customer who is purchasing appliances wants information. They want service. That’s what we’ve built our company around, to help the retailer fill that consumer need.”
The Clarke experience starts for many with a referral by an architect or designer, or online research that sends a customer to the Clarke website (http://www.clarkecorp.com). From there, a visit to a Clarke showroom in Milford, MA or South Norwalk, CT provides a 2-hour guided tour with a showroom consultant fully trained in all a homeowner needs and wants to know about Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Asko appliances.
“Since we don’t actually sell anything in our showrooms,” said Sandra Lashway, Clarke’s Massachusetts showroom manager, “customers aren’t being pressured to purchase. We just want them to know how Sub-Zero, Wolf and Asko products will enhance their lives. At the end of the tour, after they’ve seen the appliances in use and asked all of their questions, we offer them contact information for dealers where they can actually buy the appliances.”
Before or after the purchase, customers can return to Clarke’s cooking school, The Clarke Culinary Center, located inside of the Massachusetts and Connecticut showrooms. Here they can learn more about cooking on Wolf appliances in a two-hour class with a Clarke corporate chef or local celebrity chefs including Ming Tsai, Andy Husbands, or Master Chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt.
“Our cooking school students find the classes to be as entertaining as they are educational,” said Regina Dvorak, Clarke corporate chef. “Homeowners can learn specifics like knife skills, pasta making, convection cooking or they might learn how to select local produce or seafood or how to cook old-world Italian. There’s really something for everyone. During every class, we eat, drink and laugh. Some couples come for a unique date, women come for a girl’s night out. It’s a great time.”
After researching, purchasing the appliances and taking classes, the Clarke experience continues with superior appliance service and maintenance from Clarke Customer Care, a Clarke company launched to fill a customer satisfaction void.
“A few years ago,” said Tom Clarke, “I was shocked to learn that New England Sub-Zero and Wolf customers had the lowest satisfaction ratings in the country for appliance service. We did a ton of research and realized that appliance service companies, for good reason, are general practitioners. They service every type of appliance out there. Our Sub-Zero, Wolf and Asko customers deserved to deal with specialists, so we launched Clarke Customer Care and now have a fleet of service trucks and the largest inventory of Sub-Zero, Wolf and Asko parts in the United States. Since our service company launched, customer ratings have catapulted.”
According to Clarke, he believes in keeping in step with the appliance consumer and guides them “from womb to tomb” in their appliance experience. “When someone is making this kind of investment in their home, they deserve the very best,” he says, “and the only way for Clarke to provide the right services is to constantly be in touch with that consumer. We’ve broken the mold for appliance distribution, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
For more information or to launch your Clarke Experience, visit clarkecorp.com or call 800-842-5275.
This award-winning distributor of appliances from Sub-Zero, Wolf , Asko, Best, Scotsman, as well as plumbing fixtures from KWC and Dawn Sinks, provides expansive showroom resource centers in Milford, MA and South Norwalk, CT, where homeowners can learn about and experience these products in dramatic room settings, without any pressure to purchase. Clarke also offers Clarke Customer Care, a dedicated repair service for their brands, that has earned them “Best in the US” satisfaction survey results. Recently the company launched The Clarke Culinary Center inside their showrooms to offer cooking classes from Clarke corporate chefs and local celebrity chefs. For more information, visit http://www.clarkecorp.com.