The Showroom at Rampart Supply in Colorado Springs. Photo: Rampart Supply.
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The Showroom at Rampart Supply: Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

April 1, 2021
With three individual showrooms in Colorado, The Showroom at Rampart Supply remains committed to the plumbing contractor, and continues to inspire its clientele.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — A family-owned independent wholesaler, Rampart Supply was established in 1968 in Colorado Springs. Rampart currently has three beautifully appointed showrooms—which are dubbed The Showroom at Rampart Supply—with 16 full-time showroom professionals with an average tenure of 10 years.

The first showroom opened in 1989 with one salesman and a 1,000-sq.-ft. space, which quickly grew to two salespeople and a manager. In 1996, Rampart acquired another independent wholesaler in Denver, with a combined 200,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space, that features a showroom that has since grown from 5,000 sq. ft. to 12,000 sq. ft. In 2006, the Colorado Springs branch moved to a much larger, more efficient facility—120,000 sq. ft. of combined warehouse and office space—which is now home to its Colorado Springs showroom, hosting 6,000-sq.-ft. The Pueblo branch opened its doors in 2010 with 40,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space. In August of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the showroom relocated and expanded to a 4,000-sq.-ft. space due to a fire the previous year.

Throughout all of its growth, Rampart remains committed to the contractor, even throughout its showrooms. “Rampart has been in business for 52 years and our first priority has always been to the contractor,” says Pam O’Connell, showroom sales manager, The Showroom at Rampart Supply. “The contractor is our bread and butter. If it weren’t for our plumbing contractors, we wouldn’t be here. Rampart has dug its heels in to try to protect the contractor; we respect that relationship. The general public is encouraged to make appointments, and when making appointments one of the first questions that is asked of them is, ‘are they working with a contractor and who is it?’ We try very hard to sell through the plumbing contractor and encourage folks at every opportunity to use a professional,” says O’Connell.

The COVID-19 Effect

According to O’Connell, Colorado had experienced a very robust economy pre-pandemic. As a result of COVID, people were staying home and looking at their homes they began to think about improvements. When the pandemic started, Rampart ownership took immediate action to create and maintain a safe environment for its employees and customers alike. The company immediately began a protocol of masks, gloves and disinfecting all areas in the showroom four times daily, and invested in sanitation equipment and safe means of disinfecting, as well as gallons of hand sanitizer. Rampart immediately put into place a limit on the number of individuals that could be in the showroom at one time to make sure each person was served to the best of Rampart’s ability, in a safe manner.

“Our showrooms actually remained open the entire time,” says O’Connell. “We never closed our doors; we just began a new practice of serving our customers. Business remained steady and continued to grow through the pandemic,” continues O’Connell.

For Rampart, it always came back to its clientele. Rampart knew it had to keep plumbing contractors working. In what was to become a very trying time, the customer/supplier relationship was never more evident.

“We knew they needed us to keep going to maintain their businesses. It was first and foremost for us to concentrate on helping them any way that we could. The best way to keep them working was for us to be there to serve their customers as well. We continued to book appointments for anything people needed—all ends of the spectrum. If the need was a new faucet or a toilet that needed to be replaced, we were and open and ready to assist,” says O’Connell.

This is how the showroom launched its appointment-only protocol. “In the past we were always open to walk-in traffic and people could come look and browse unattended. We have since learned that when people are serious buyers, they like the idea of having our full, undivided attention for them and their project. We have always been leery of the appointment-only approach; we never want anyone to feel we aren’t interested in helping them. The reality is we feel like we have served them better and more thoroughly. We also learned early on that virtual appointments could be done, but people still wanted to touch and feel and experience the showroom,” says O’Connell.

Showroom Magic

O’Connell really enjoys her job. “I love what I do—talking to people and making their lives better. I love that I learn something new every single day—each day is a new challenge, a new success—sometimes a failure—but something to be learned each day. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching our contractors grow their business and become successful business owners, and I enjoy being a part of that success.” 

But the work is really never done. How is the environment the best it can be for both customers and employees? The showroom is a constantly changing environment. “As manager of the showroom, I feel it is my responsibility to support, encourage and backup my salespeople. We encourage a team atmosphere and work together to offer the best experience for our customers,” says O’Connell.

The Showroom at Rampart Supply has a robust product offering—from the basic to the amazing design-driven products. “We are very loyal to our brands and try to be good partners,” says O’Connell.

As a result, the showroom must be relevant and appealing the minute a customer enters. “I am always thinking about the customer experience from the moment they arrive. The showroom is designed so that one space leads to another helping customers visualize the products in their homes. The showroom needs to be inviting and dreamy, but realistic and attainable at the same time. We try to concentrate on people’s wants, needs and how our product fits their lifestyle.  While hoping to inspire and be inspired, we turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!” says O’Connell. 

People Make the Difference

In the end, O’Connell is inspired by people’s stories daily, and encouraged and inspired by her staff and their successes. “The showroom staff that I work with is an amazing group and it has been so fulfilling to see them transform and evolve to be a part of such an incredible energetic team. I love seeing and hearing about the next new trend and watching a project come to fruition,” says O’Connell.

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