Visiting a Bath Showroom in Mass
One place you will inevitably visit when remodeling your bathroom is a bath showroom.
These meccas of all things bathroom offer nearly everything you need to create your perfect spa space: sinks, tubs, faucets, showerheads, shower enclosures, toilets, accessories and more. Some even offer cabinetry and lighting as well. Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of your experience.
I will admit, when we started sourcing for our master bath project, bath centers were a bit of a mystery to me. I wondered why I needed to make an appointment to look at toilets. Couldn’t I just go to Lowe’s? Or better yet, pick one out online? Plus, I was worried I would pay more for the same stuff and have to deal with an overbearing sales person to boot.
We ended up visiting several (that’s just the kind of gal I am – anal thorough!) and found it an informative and efficient use of time. We could have spent hours scouring the web, but a short conversation with the knowledgeable sales people at the different centers answered most of our questions and helped us avoid mistakes. They also made us aware of all the plumbing fixtures we would need to achieve our dream bathroom – you know the ugly stuff behind the walls that makes everything work.
Plus – because we were looking for a soaking tub – showroom visits were a necessary stop for us. My husband sat in dozens of tubs searching for one that allowed him to stretch out while still feeling cozy. (Yes, trying out the merchandise is encouraged). Even the kids got in on the act. You’d be surprised how different tubs can feel!
So, armed with an understanding of the role they play and how they operate, you too can have fun planning your new oasis…
The low down
Lucky for us, there are several bath showrooms in Massachusetts to choose from. Most are part of large, wholesale plumbing supply houses that serve the trade. All of them function pretty much the same way. They all display the products they carry in pretty bathroom vignettes to give you the chance to touch and feel their products (and sometimes even see them in action). Plus, they all coordinate with your contractor or plumber, so you can go in and make the selections and then walk away and let your team do the rest.
Where they differ is in the product lines and brands they carry. They all carry slightly different brands in each product category like bath hardware, toilets, tubs, etc. Some even focus on one brand. So, if you saw a showerhead on Pinterest that you absolutely have to have, find out who carries it before you head out to take a look so you don’t waste your time.
Things to consider
- Check with your builder: if you are flexible with the brands you’ll choose, ask your builder or plumber which bath showroom(s) they work with. Often the pros have relationships with a certain showroom and even a specific salesperson. These connections can make life easier for you – your builder’s business is important to the bath center so they will make sure to fit you in, prioritize your business and a good rapport always makes things run smoother on your job.
- Make an appointment: if you want to ask a real person questions during your visit, you need to do this. We spent a couple of visits wandering around by ourselves because all of the sales people were busy with other customers. Who. Had. Appointments. If you do just want to browse, by all means, drop in unannounced, but if you want some personal TLC, call ahead and get on someone’s schedule.
- Don’t get sticker shock: I should really clarify this by saying don’t get too much sticker shock. I was surprised by how much quality bath hardware actually costs. But one only needs to consider that this is a room that gets a lot of use, every day, so it does pay to do it right and go for well-made fixtures from reputable brands. That being said, for the most part, the prices you will see as you tour the showroom are list prices. Discounts may differ from place to place, but the centers we visited took 25% – 40% off list when they quoted us.
- Plan to visit a couple of times: there are a lot of decisions to be made when designing a bathroom, so don’t assume you will be able to get it all done in one hour long appointment. The first visit will be an introduction to the process and you’ll be asked questions about what you want in your new bathroom. You’ll then look at the myriad choices that are on display and your head will be spinning. At that point the salesperson will give you some product literature to take home and will suggest you spend some time mulling your options. Then, you’ll be told to – when you’re ready to – yes, you guessed it – make another appointment to come in.
Ferguson is a multi-billion dollar, national brand that is part of a Swiss conglomerate. They have six showrooms in Massachusetts. They also allow consumers to purchase products directly from their website. Ferguson has a large collection of brands which can be found here, including: American Standard, Kohler, Delta, ProFlo, Jacuzzi and Mirabelle.
Frank Webb’s Bath Center
Frank Webb’s Bath Center is the retail arm of the plumbing wholesaler, F.W. Webb. The parent company is local – headquartered in Bedford, MA and has centers throughout the Northeast with 13 locations in Massachusetts. Three of the locations: Boston, Springfield and Methuen have lighting showrooms attached and Methuen also has accessible living products on display. Among the many brands on display are Toto, Delta, Hansgrohe, American Standard, Grohe, Symmons, Brizo, Moen and Webb’s own brand, Deriva.
Kitchen & Bath Gallery
The Kitchen & Bath Gallery showrooms are the retail outposts of Supply New England, a local wholesale plumbing, heating, cooling and power loss product distributor headquartered in Massachusetts and also serving Connecticut and Rhode Island. Supply New England has 18 locations in New England including 12 locations in Massachusetts. There are a total of seven locations in Massachusetts: five Kitchen & Bath Gallery stores and two The Koehler Signature Store by Supply New England showrooms in Burlington and Natick. The Signature Stores focus on Kohler products exclusively, but the Kitchen & Bath Gallery’s have an array of brands including: Kallista, Rohl, Symmons, Moen and Grohe. One thing to note here is that the Koehler Signature Store in Burlington has designers on staff who (for a small additional fee) will come out and design your space for you – bonus!
Moniques is a local, single showroom company that was started by Richard Battista, a licensed plumber, in the 70’s in Waltham. Now located in Watertown, Moniques offers products from a wide variety of brands including: Toto, Rohl, Santec, Grohe, California Faucets and Graff.
Simon’s Bath Showroom
Simon’s Bath Showroom is part of Simon’s Supply, a local plumbing and heating supply wholesaler. They have four locations in Massachusetts and one location in Rhode Island. Simon’s serves Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The showrooms carry a number of brands including: American Standard, Delta, California Faucets, Grohe and Symmons.
Splash (Newton) and Spritzo (Worcester) are the retail showrooms of the The Portland Group, a local wholesale distributor of HVAC, plumbing and oil burner supplies headquartered in Billerica, MA. Splash, the Newton location, is a stand-alone bath showroom. The Spritzo showroom in Worcester is part of a wholesale outlet. Splash and Spritzo offer a large selection of products including: Kohler, Kallista, Delta, Grohe and Sterling.
The Bath Showcase
The Bath Showcase is part of the Peabody Supply Group, a local wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and cooling supplies headquartered in Peabody, MA. They have seven locations in New England with five in Massachusetts. The Bath Showcase features a number of brands such as Kohler, California Faucets, Symmons, Gerber and Riobel.
The Bath Splash Showroom
The Bath Splash Showrooms are the storefronts for Robinson Supply Company, a local plumbing, heating and cooling distributor headquartered in Fall River and serving Southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. There are three Bath Splash Showrooms in Massachusetts in Fall River, Hyannis and Plainville. The brands they carry include: Toto, Rohl, Symmons, Grohe, Bain Ultra and Sani-Flo.
The Ultimate Bath Store
The Ultimate Bath Store is part of the New England-based company, The Granite Group, a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating, cooling and water supplies. The Ultimate Bath Store has 16 locations throughout New England with three showrooms in Massachusetts in Lowell, Westborough and Worcester. The Ultimate Bath Store gives the Kohler brand top billing, but also has other lines including: Kallista, Grohe, Sterling, Delta and Moen. Find a full listing of products here.
*This list is not exhaustive. We endeavored to include the main bath showrooms in the Greater Boston area. If you know of another great showroom that should be included, please let us know!