The question comes up often lately: what are homebuilders doing to replace the business lost from disappearing new construction? One answer lies in the shift in business model that spawned The Kitchen & Bath Depot, which has an inviting showroom at 5990 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 110.
The company had been running smoothly, building custom homes from Tracy to Lake Tahoe, when the market began its downturn. Deftly tacking, "we took a different route, into interior design, remodeling, and expansion," says Wayan Asefi, who has eight years of design experience and now heads up the Pleasanton site, opened early last year. The Tracy location is still the base for new construction, producing a few houses per year in the Tahoe area, but "half of our clientele now comes from around Pleasanton-Fremont, Hayward, Concord, and Walnut Creek."
In this economy, Asefi comments, many people are hesitant to buy a new home. They are willing, however, to invest in their current residence, refashioning it into a place where they can stay forever This has made the transition from new construction to remodeling a wise choice.
The Kitchen & Bath Depot provides full-service planning, design, and installation services for both commercial and residential applications. "We do bathrooms, kitchens, expansions, flooring, painting," says Asefi. "Essentially, we're a one-stop-shop. Clients don't have to deal with all the different tradespeople-electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. For convenience, they only have to call one person, not 10."
The most common project is a full kitchen redesign, often combined with a bathroom remodel. "Usually the customer will want new countertops, cabinets, appliances, and flooring. They will probably need electrical work, too," Asefi says. Countertops tend to be granite, while cabinet tastes trend toward an updated Shaker style - "square, plain, not much detail, for a simple modern look." Handles and faucets have a similar look, square and modern.
As for turnaround, Asefi says that when dealing with standard materials - cabinets and countertops especially-he can get a new kitchen completed in four days. "If it's a special order, add on two to three days." He also points out that his timeline is virtually unbeatable. "Even with flooring or under-counter lighting, I am still two months ahead of all the others out there, because I don't subcontract out jobs. The people who do the work are our employees."
Still, the company has to be nimble. Even remodeling clients have become more cost-conscious. Attuned to this market trend, Asefi is now emphasizing volume. "Instead of doing four very expensive kitchens a month, we are now averaging about 12," he notes. "We offer the same high-end custom interiors but at a lower price point than our competitors."
High quality craftsmanship is a special point of pride for him. "I know the quality of my employees' work. This is not 'drop-in' labor," he insists. "It's just that we dropped the prices." That has obviously been good for business. For more information, visit www.thekdepot.com .
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