The Hamptons Virtual Home Show will give you the unique opportunity to meet experts from the world of home improvement and learn about their services from the comfort of your own computer or smart device. Whether you’re looking to finish your basement, save energy and more, you’ll find it at the Hamptons Virtual Home Show—starting July 18 at HamptonsHomeShow.com. Admission is free!
Meet the Experts
Alan Howard, Plesser’s
What are some popular current trends you see in appliances?
Over the years we have seen many colors come and go, I recall when avocado green or harvest gold was the hot thing then came bisque. Stainless steel came in the early 2000s led by the Frigidaire pro line and we never looked back. Although seen as a fad, it never went away and is as strong as ever. Stainless appliance account for 80% of all our appliances sold. Black stainless, a fairly new color, has been doing well but is still only about 5% of the overall business. A big trend today is the flush inset appliances. Many designers are trying to hide the appliances by not having them stand out as much and covering them with the matching cabinets. Even appliances with no handles have become very popular. They are being made with push to open features, so it’s very minimalistic and hidden in the kitchen. This has been very popular for now and I am sure in the next few years we will see something else come along to take that over. Appliance manufacturers are constantly putting money into R&D so they can have the next best appliance that everyone wants. Whirlpool has scan and cook. You scan the barcode in the oven from the packaging and it will set the time and temperature for you. No guesswork is needed. Wifi connected appliances are in their infancy but I envision in the future when you say, “Alexa cook the steak. I’ll be home at 6 p.m.” and when you get home the food is done for you. I am sure this is already in the works!
Tell us about being a supplier for The Price Is Right.
Being a big fan of The Price Is Right growing up, I cannot believe 30 years later I am actually suppling many prizes for them all over the country. About eight years ago, I noticed they were missing the major appliance category consistently on the show. I reached out to the show, struck a deal and the rest is history. We send over 100 appliances a year to winning contestants all around the United States via our website delivery services. The only downside is being a supplier myself or anyone in my family or employees can never be on the show. So, the dream of, “Come on down, you’re the next contestant” will not be there for me. The relationship is strong, and I have been invited to come for a private tour of the set any time I want so that is a nice bonus. Cannot wait to go and spin the big wheel!
What appliances do you recommend for homeowners looking to modernize their kitchens?
That is a tough question to answer as people all have such different tastes. The word modernize to me is simply upgrading to stainless steel possibly adding some units with new features like filtered water, steam capabilities and quieter more efficient operation. We have many different styles for the customer to choose from so we always like when they come into the showroom and work with one of our highly trained salespeople to look at all the options.
What are some essentials you recommend for outdoor entertaining?
The outdoor kitchen is now an extension of the indoor one. We see people building some over the top entertaining areas. You always start with the grill size and work out from there. Decide who your guests will be and how your family will be using it.
A grill is a must then we work into side burners, power burners, refrigeration, and storage. An outdoor waterproof TV is a great addition as there is nothing better to watch a game outdoors while drinking a cold drink from the outdoor fridge and ice from your outdoor ice maker. We have some pre-made islands as well for the consumer who wants a quick solution. We sell grills from $399 on a Weber to a $25,000 Kalamazoo and everything in between. Plesser’s is your source for all budget levels and products. We carry it all from today’s top brands.
You were founded in 1919. What’s the key to your long-lasting success?
Our success is always based on a simple approach. We do the best we can every day and surround ourselves with the best employees. We have always offered the best pricing by pooling our buying power with other dealers around the northeast. Our warehouse belongs to a co-op with over 400 Independent appliance dealers. People do not realize this, and it gives us a huge advantage, especially on price. If every dealer changed their name to be the same one tomorrow, we would be the largest appliance store in the U.S. Another huge factor is having the owners on hand. Myself and my brother are involved in the business in every single aspect. Our infrastructure not seen by the public consists of eight full time customer service people, seven people in our order department and another 40 support staff. This gives us an edge over all our competition who rely on their salespeople to handle many of these tasks. Customers can make the proper buying decisions in a relaxed atmosphere since the sales team is not sidetracked with other responsibilities.
We have also always reinvested in the store. We have one of the most advanced POS/ERP systems in the entire appliance industry. We recently finished a huge renovation on our Babylon showroom for our 100-year anniversary. We are about to start a renovation in our Southampton showroom to match the look in 2021!
Price, service, selection and ownership team who is heavily invested in the business is a big part of our success and longevity. In the end we owe most of our success to our loyal customer base who has shopped here for generations. Just yesterday I sold a washer and dryer to a kid who I first met when his parents pushed him in here with a stroller 25 years ago. We started the business in our early 20s and look forward to our kids taking over for the next generation and years to come!
For more information, visit plessers.com.