BEDFORD HEIGHTS, OHIO—At 48, getting out of bed to face the day’s challenges is often a daunting task. At 93, however, it is simply amazing. Meet Alan Edelman, who, at the age of 93 years young, still works almost every day from 8 am until noon at the now third-generation plumbing supply house Edelman in Bedford Heights, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland.
That team currently consists of Alan’s son Sheldon Edelman, president, who provides guidance and direction while seeking out profitable opportunities for growth. Sheldon runs the business with his three children, David, Dan and Rachel, and a team of extraordinary individuals committed to excellence.
Dan Edelman, vice president, is involved in the supply house side of the business and contractor education, such as coordinating continuing education classes for plumbers. David serves as an internal consultant, assisting with technology trends, marketing and social media to better serve customers. Rachel is the branch manager of the Westlake, Ohio location. She merchandises both showrooms and manages social media content, marketing and events.
The history of the company is unique, one based on persistence and hard work. Born in Poland, Alan’s family ran a large lumber mill and supplied lumber for the Polish railroad. When Russia invaded in 1939, he lost most of his family and ended up a teenage prisoner in Russia.
After the war, Alan came to the United States to start over and got a meager paying job in the New York garment industry where he worked tirelessly until he met his soon-to-be wife. Together they moved to Cleveland to be closer to her family. With the help of his father-in-law, Alan began selling plumbing supplies out of a step van to the local hardware stores. The business quickly grew and soon after, he opened his first warehouse on the west side of Cleveland.
In 1976, Sheldon Edelman joined his father and brought with him a vision of destination showrooms featuring the finest in luxury plumbing for kitchen and bath. Traveling to New York or Chicago in search of elegant fixtures quickly became a thing of the past for Clevelanders as Sheldon executed his vision.
Today, with 34 employees, and a second showroom location in Westlake, Ohio, Edelman carries products from more than 150 brands, from handmade architectural hardware to the latest high-tech kitchen appliances. Edelman works hard to ensure that the professionals who use the showroom have successful projects. In the last two decades, Edelman has expanded into appliances, architectural hardware, windows and doors. They continue to search the world for first-class companies with innovative designs, superior quality and great customer service.
“If I put myself in my contractor’s shoes, I want to feel confident about the products that I am installing. I want to know that if there is an issue, that Edelman will be there to help me find a solution. Impeccable customer service and overall client satisfaction is paramount to what we do,” says Rachel Edelman.
Edelman provides everything its clients want and everything they need to bring the look together: beautiful showrooms with a wide range of products and brands and specification books necessary to plan a job and seamlessly install a diverse range of products. “It can be a little scary walking into our showrooms with the amount of product we display,” says Rachel Edelman. However, after a walkabout, it becomes clear how organized the showroom is and clients tend to gravitate to the area that suits their design needs. “We want our customers to see that the possibilities are almost endless and their job does not need to be generic,” continues Rachel.
Over the years, Edelman has listened to its customers and expanded its product offerings based on their needs. Clients enjoy working with Edelman and appreciate when they can have a single point-of-contact for multiple parts of a project.
Edelman continuously updates the showroom to showcase the best of what is available. The process of remodeling the showroom is never complete, says Rachel Edelman. Rather than doing grand redesigns, Edelman focuses on enhancing what they have available, and they spend a lot of time making it easy to filter a hundred thousand product options into the selections that make sense for a particular project.
According to Rachel Edelman, the homebuilding process is time consuming and can be confusing. “We do not simply take orders. We offer hard-earned knowledge to help our clients complete their projects as envisioned. We have been doing this for years and our clients trust us and want to buy more products from us.”
In the end, Edelman evaluates style, value, quality and the manufacturer’s distribution policy. The company expends a great amount of time and energy building good brands, therefore, the vendor has to want to partner and support the efforts. “Ultimately, I want people to view Edelman as the place to go to see high quality, unique and innovative products,” says Edelman.
“We know that when we hit a homerun for our clients, they will give us future business. It turns out that you need to spend very little time marketing if you have happy customers. That’s the secret to our success,” says Edelman