New Digs for Creative Bath
October 16, 2015,
By David Gill
Fixtures from Creative Bath’s new showroom displayed the company’s bath ensembles and housewares offerings. creativebath.com
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.
From left: Gary Miniman, Henny Lakin and Bob Weiss of Creative Bath in the company’s new showroom during market week
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.”