120 square feet, a glass table, two computers, three people, and a very good idea: This is Kitchen Advantage
by RONA MANN
Some of the very best ideas begin around a kitchen table.
Some of the most successful businesses began around a dining room table.
Yet few are courageous enough to begin during an economic downturn unless they know what they’re doing, believe in the persistence of a loyal clientele, and ferociously work in the direction of their dreams. Kitchen Advantage is one of those companies. This is their story…a true American success story.
Joseph Smith, Lisa Ellis, and Jeff Garabedian were not novices in the business of kitchen remodeling. They had had experience and plenty of it, working for another company for a number of years. They saw what was good- they saw the mistakes-and one day around a glass table in a 120 square foot dining room, they came together and said almost in unison, “We can do it better.”
Now, seven years later they’re still doing it better and growing in both skill and reputation throughout New England, much to the delight and satisfaction of both their residential and commercial clients.
Opening in 2008 during the height of our country’s most recent economic recession was not easy, but when you know what you’re doing, have the years and expertise to back it up, and are walking confidently in the direction of your dreams, there is little that can stop you. So Kitchen Advantage opened in North Haven with a huge following from their previous company. “Eighty percent of the builders we had worked with came with us,” says Joseph Smith, one of the owners. “This business is completely built on reputation, so that meant a lot.”
The remodeling business is one based on skill and expertise, but also on dependability, and Kitchen Advantage set themselves up to succeed and deliver a message of dependability with every job they took on. First and foremost to that kind of success is the design element; therefore Kitchen Advantage is proud to boast seven designers, each of whom works with their clients from the inception of the project to the completion. There is no handing off of tasks. It’s one designer, one contact person, one individual who follows the job from start to finish…and clients like that kind of personal involvement and consistency. Design ought to be a priority in any remodeling job, so clients should take the time to consider all the options for the space. While a good designer, like the ones at Kitchen Advantage will always listen first to the client’s ideas, thoughts, and plans, their years of experience and expertise in the field will help their customer to flesh out those ideas and give them legs and wings, bringing the space to life. After all, it is you – the customer- who is going to live in that space for a long time, so you and the designer need to establish a viable line of communication.
Kitchen Advantage does not piece out the work either. They do all the measuring, designing, ordering, and meeting with installers so your contact is always with one company and that one designer. While they do subcontract the installation work, Joe Smith is quick to point out, “We only deal with people we know and have worked with in the past.” So even if you’re hiring Kitchen Advantage to put in a new kitchen at your summer home hundreds of miles away at the Cape, or your place way up in Bangor, Maine, this company deals with local people from this area whom they know and who will make the trip to complete the job to your satisfaction. That’s hands-on management and control and something on which the Kitchen Advantage people have laid the cornerstone of their reputation.
Additionally, Jeff, Joe, and Lisa are perhaps most proud of their full time service representative who is on the road five days a week, traveling all over New England making sure that every job is being done properly, on time, and to the complete and total satisfaction of the customer. Joe says, “We are the only company in the area who does this, and it’s one of the many reasons why we’re so successful and have so much repeat business.”
Kitchen Advantage is proud of the fact that they have products and services in all price points, so customers can find affordability along with Kitchen Advantage’s special brand of accountability which is the foundation on which they built this business. “It’s a two way street,” Smith says. “We are loyal to our builders and homeowners, and we get that loyalty returned.”
Showcasing products which they are proud enough to attach to their name and reputation, Kitchen Advantage features a line that boasts all American made cabinetry…names like KraftMaid, the largest cabinet company in the world; Candlelight, and Merillat. These are supported by counter tops in a wide selection ranging from Corian and Quartz to granite tops.
But although “Kitchen” may be their first name, it is hardly their last. The Kitchen Advantage professionals also design and remodel bathrooms, libraries, dens, media rooms, man caves, bars, offices, coffee shops…what do you have in mind?There’s a designer just waiting to listen to you, give you ideas, and price it to stay within your budget.
This company began seven years ago in a small dining room with two computers, three employees, years of experience, and one viable goal. Now they have a fully appointed main showroom in North Haven, a smaller showroom serving the shoreline area in Old Saybrook capably managed by Lisa Ellis, a designer in her own right; seven additional designers, a full time service person on the road throughout New England, and a whole host of dependable, accountable subcontractors. Most important to Jeff, Joe, and Lisa, however, are the hundreds of satisfied customers representing builders, homeowners, huge jobs, small remodels, and projects that range from simple hardware to complex overhauls and restorations.
“The kitchen is such an emotional room,” says Joseph Smith. “It all starts there.”
Smith is not wrong. It’s the kitchen where people tend to congregate. It’s the kitchen where plans are made, report cards are read, cookies are baked, family pets shake off the rain, and family members shake off their troubles. And it all starts with a counter and some cabinets…but it can increase significantly from there. However, regardless of the size of the job, it always comes back to what Jeff Garabedian says and what everyone at Kitchen Advantage believes in and practices every day…accountability.
The main showroom is located at 344 Washington Avenue in North Haven (203) 764-2056
The shoreline showroom is located at 1712 Boston Post Road (Rt. 1) in Old Saybrook (860) 391-8960
See what Kitchen Advantage can do for you at: www.kitchen-advantage.com