New Digs for Creative Bath

The company debuted its new showroom during the September textiles market
October 16, 2015David Gill

By David Gill

Creative Bath showroomFixtures from Creative Bath’s new showroom displayed the company’s bath ensembles and housewares offerings.
Last month’s New York Home Fashions Market marks a new milestone for Creative Bath, the manufacturer of bath products, decorative pillows, housewares, storage and organizational products.

The company formally opened its new showroom during the market. Located at 295 Fifth Ave., the Textiles Building, room 1602, the showroom measures approximately 3,300 square feet. Along with displaying new products during market weeks, the showroom will be open year round, with sales, design and marketing staff available to help the company’s retail customers identify new product opportunities.

The new show space marks another step ahead for Creative Bath. Co-founded in 1973 by Mat Meinzinger and Guenther Bartsch, and based in Central Islip, N.Y., the company has expanded beyond manufacturing wall switch plates and cabinet hardware—its initial business—into a full line resource of bath products, housewares and home décor items such as decorative pillows.

Creative Bath teamFrom left: Gary Miniman, Henny Lakin and Bob Weiss of Creative Bath in the company’s new showroom during market week
Bob Weiss, Creative Bath’s COO, described the new show space as “an accessory for us.” During the September market, the company displayed 22 new bath ensembles, along with some of the products it launched during the March textiles market and its ongoing best sellers. The showroom will soon have a high-definition flat-screen monitor that will enable visitors to preview the company’s line electronically, Weiss said.

The September market product lineup focused on introductions to the company’s branded lines, including Jennifer Adams, Kathy Davis and the Hautman Brothers. The company also threw the spotlight on its own Creative Bath branded bath ensembles.

Looking back over the past two years, Weiss said they have felt “like a rollercoaster on a treadmill.” Yet, even though Creative Bath was affected by the bankruptcy of Anna’s Linens and the ongoing uncertainty of the Sears business—Weiss said both have been “big customers of ours”—the company is holding on to a cautiously optimistic outlook for its business down the road.

“Why have we been in business for 42 years? We’re nimble. We’re hard workers,” Weiss said. “We treat our employees and customers as family.”

Helping to buffet the company from any customer wobbles, Weiss noted that Creative Bath has a vendor number with every major retailer, including their international divisions. And, illustrating its nimbleness, “we are also going after accounts like Kroger, Albertsons and Wegmans for alternative distribution opportunities.”

The company has also developed a “tremendous” online business. “We’ve built a separate infrastructure around the Internet companies, shipping from one central warehouse in Central Islip and offering shipping windows of 24 to 48 hours or better,” he said.

The licensed businesses—including the Jennifer Adams, Kathy Davis and Hautmann Brothers brands—also continue to do well, and “our housewares business is also trending up,” Weiss said. This business is not without its struggles, however. “You’re always fighting for real estate with retailers, because there are 30 other vendors fighting for the same pallet position that we are,” he said. Also, some of the business with big-box stores are “one-hit orders” for outdoor entertaining.

That being said, Creative Bath is forecasting a strong finish to 2015. The last few months of the year “should be better than last year, with the introduction of elegant entertaining products and new housewares business geared toward the fourth quarter, much of which we are importing,” Weiss said. “We look at our business model from a manufacturing perspective, and our manufacturing cycle lasts from September to May. The new imports will be icing on the cake, and most will be shipped directly to our customers from our overseas factories.”

This model for its business—along with its 42-year history—is what will sustain its growth in the years to come, according to Weiss. “The state of Creative Bath has remained strong because we have not lost sight of the heart beat of the company, which focuses on innovative products and great customer service.”

David GillDavid Gill | Senior Editor

David Gill covers home textiles, small electrics housewares, personal-care products, cleaning products, mattresses, consumer electronics and major appliances. He also reports on retailers and writes about the business and financial side of both vendors and retailers. He has more than 30 years of experience in business journalism, and has worked for other publications and websites that cover consumer products from both the manufacturer and retailer sides. His outside interests include sports (he is a big fan of the New York teams and of British soccer), cooking, movies and theater. He occasionally enjoys a good cigar as well.


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