Sunderland AFC legend Marco Gabbiadini unveiled a new showroom for Plumbase, marking the first of several new launches the company expects to roll out across the UK this year.
Builders, plumbers and electricians took part in the official opening in Hendon, Sunderland, with giveaways and special offers. The former Sunderland striker signed autographs for fans while local manufacturers provided advice.
The company's new 2000ft2 showroom shares a site with Buildbase, Hirebase and Electricbase merchants – each part of Grafton Merchanting GB – adding depth to what the company hopes can become a one-stop shop for customers.
The showroom is the result of collaboration between Plumbase and other prominent northern manufacturers.
Its centrepiece is a fully working kitchen, designed to offer cookery demonstrations with the latest steam ovens, induction hobs and the Quooker boiling water tap. A selection of various designs and accessories affords customers the chance to mix and match the contents of their kitchen.
Plumbase encourages tradespeople to bring their customers so they can choose from the range of kitchens and bathrooms showcased.
There is also a wide collection of bathrooms, wet rooms and showers, including one of the latest gadgets that enables music to be played into the bath or shower area from a mobile device.
Showroom manager Crystal Harland said: "The new showroom is beautifully designed with a separate entrance, so tradespeople can be confident in bringing their customers to what has essentially been a merchant site. It means that customers can choose for themselves what they want for their home.”
Andrew Arnold, Grafton Merchanting's divisional showroom manager for the North and Scotland, said: "Our Sunderland operation is testament to the breadth of products, expertise and knowledge we can bring the local trade, all in one convenient location. We have used local companies and suppliers to support the showroom where possible, all backed by the buying power and know-how of one of the UK's biggest merchant groups."