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Experiencing the Merchandise Mart with Clients

By February 9, 2018Design, Workplace

Every once in a good while, our team gets the opportunity to take our clients to locations that showcase our product offerings in ways that we cannot uphold within our showroom. This allows clients to get a hands-on experience with our products, a better understanding of the functionality of what they may be looking for as a solution, along with our manufacture expert resources that educate clients on the product, also.

This occasion can be accommodated when we have upcoming projects that would highly value the exposure and knowledge that we and our partners bring to the table. In this case, our client, University of Colorado at Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, happens to be working on a few sizable projects that all have opportunities to utilize some of our product that they have not yet specified or become familiar with to the point of being comfortable specifying it on projects as they arise.

Carl Canter, Canter’s CEO, made an executive decision to take a couple members of our team, a couple members from CU Boulder’s team, along with himself, to Chicago, IL for a trip to see some of the offerings that our partners bring to the table that would work well with their current and upcoming projects. CU Boulder’s Trisha Hallerberg (Project Coordinator), Cherie Summers (Assistant Dean for Administration) and Douglas Smith (Assistant Dean for Programs and Engagement), all joined Amber Lee, Carl Canter and myself (Samantha Wilson), on an overnight trip to Chicago, IL’s Merchandise Mart to visit KI, Dauphin, Boss, Humanscale and JumpSeat’s showrooms.

If you are not familiar with Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and its prime design centralization, check out our blog from last year’s NeoCon event that takes place there every year by clicking here! It is a designer’s dream.

Alright, back to the nitty gritty. We flew into Chicago on January 30th around 7:30pm or so and all took a nice stroll from our hotel down to a restaurant of Trisha’s reference called, GT Fish and Oyster for a late dinner. Their fish and chips were deeee-lish! There were a few other items served that consisted of hollowed out egg shells with whipped salmon and peas but I skipped out on those…for reasons you may clearly not understand (hey, we all have our preferences). Since it was such a late night, we gathered our things up and headed back to our hotel rooms for an 8am start the next morning.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we all walked over to the Merchandise Mart that just so happened to be connected to our hotel (thankfully, because it was a tad chilly that morning). We started in KI’s showroom and met with Ryan Usiak (GM – Architectural Wall), Jonathan Matta (VP of Higher Education) and Randy Fabian (Director of Architectural Wall Installation Division). Our greatest influence for this trip was to educate our clients on KI’s architectural wall systems and how they compare in quality and functionality in comparison to other demountable wall systems – hence all of the architectural wall folks being present. After discussing the client’s needs on their current and future projects, we all took a gander at all the product in the showroom that showcased some of the solutions we have been currently proposing for their use on upcoming projects.

After we wrapped things up at KI, we went to meet up with Jeff Thompson, the President of Boss Design furniture. Boss Design is one of our partners that offers a vast array of soft seating, booth, and multifunctional seating that caters to all environments. We touched base on some selections for a project we are currently working on with them, as well as some of their upcoming projects that have spaces that would function well with their offerings.

Once things were buttoned up with Jeff, we all headed to the Dauphin showroom to meet with Carl Rosen. Dauphin is also one of our partners that we work with that we suggest as a go-to for guest seating and soft seating. There were quite a few items in this showroom that the client enjoyed. Although this was also a quick visit, we made the most of our time and allowed everyone enough time to experience some of the pieces in this showroom over conversation.

Last, but not least, we headed up to the Humanscale showroom. As some of you know, we utilize Humanscale as a great resource for ergonomic solutions in the furniture world. They offer height adjustable work surfaces, wire management solutions, height adjustable monitor arms and stands, task seating, side seating and even task and decorative lighting solutions. We reviewed potential favorites or items that may already have been seen in locations throughout campus and everyone was able to analyze their preferences on what they would like to see on projects moving forward.

As we made our way through the last bits of furniture talk (a straight six hours of it – FURNITUREEEE), we had lunch catered in and we all snacked before it was time to head back to the hotel and off to the airport.

It seems like you just read the itinerary for a 3-day long trip, right? We all wish! It was a great experience that was full of bonding, education, exposure and a higher level of clarity that was not present before we made the trip. We look forward to these scenarios, not only because of the late-night seafood and the Merchandise Mart, but the bond that was created and the conversation that has come of it is completely priceless.

Cheers to more furniture knowledge-loaded days to come!

From team Canter!