Have Showroom, Will Travel PM's Truck of the Month - March 2003
"We needed to compete with the other wholesalers in our area and it was suggested that we build a mobile showroom," explained Bob Edmonds, president of R. Supply Co. Inc., Reno, Nev. "We have had showrooms in the past in our main location but it really didn't work; we're not located in a walk-in traffic, user-friendly environment. So we closed the showroom, turned it into an estimating office and went with the mobile showroom idea."
After a committee of Edmonds' top people agreed it was a good idea, Edmonds got to work. He designed, blueprinted and helped engineer the fully self-contained mobile showroom.
Edmonds had a licensed plumbing contractor -- A M H Services of Sparks, Nev. -- do all the plumbing inside of the trailer. There is an 11KW Honda generator underneath to power the electrical water system and the heat pump for heat and air conditioning in the trailer. The trailer has brand-new aluminum fuel tanks for water storage, and a booster pump to create the water pressure necessary to serve the fixtures.
Included in it are fully working water closets, sinks and lavs, as well as a body-spray system in a glass enclosure. Edmonds single-sourced the trailer: Eljer is the main plumbing line, Moen is the main faucet line and MAAX Hydroswirl is used for the jetted tub line. There also are grab bars and towel rings from Moen. And because the trailer was plumbed in PEX plastic tubing, there is also a Wirsbo PEX display.
R. Supply owns and runs its own fleet of trucks, so it uses its own tractor and driver to pull the trailer to functions around the state. "I wanted to purchase the oldest tractor I could find and rebuild it to current Department of Transportation standards," Edmonds said. "I bought a 1979 Peterbuilt Model 352 tractor and restored it from the ground up. That is the primary tractor that pulls the show trailer."
This showroom on wheels has gone 300 miles east to a mining expo, and to builders' picnics in rural counties. R. Supply sets the trailer up, and the builder's customers and staff can go through the model. "We call it '2 & Q' -- we'll take and show the trailer twice at your office or event, and on the second showing, we'll do a barbecue for you," Edmonds said. "We have a portable barbecue setup that we take with us.
"We've found that builders do not want to come downtown with all their staff because of time constraints or transportation -- so we take this trailer right to their offices. And contractors have had an outstanding reaction. We can take the showroom to the builder or contractor and it becomes his vehicle for upgrading or selling to his customers, and at his convenience. I think we've been very successful in getting specs changed in northern Nevada because of the hands-on experience that design personnel, as well as a job's contract foreman, receive in the showroom trailer."
Edmonds said the mobile showroom also was at the PHCC national convention in Reno September 2001, which unfortunately coincided with the tragedies at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11.