Choosing the right home appliances for your budget, lifestyle, and aspirations can be daunting. There are so many choices. That’s where Designer Appliances, an independent appliance retailer serving New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, comes in to help streamline the process. With its knowledgeable and friendly sales team members, home-away-from-home showrooms (with stunning displays created by its network of design partners), and top-ranked website and video series, it aims to help customers cut through the confusion and find the fridge that suits all their needs—while discovering features they’ll enjoy for years to come.
Can you tell us about Designer Appliances’ history as an independent appliance dealer?
John Carey, Tahi Hunter, and Metin Ozkuzey founded Designer Appliances in 2008. They were homeowners with young children at the time, and they quickly realized that purchasing home appliances was both time consuming and challenging. They wanted to build a business that would streamline the process for people like themselves. Originally based in Metin’s basement in Nutley, New Jersey, the business soon moved to the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s campus in Newark, New Jersey as part of its Small Business Incubator program. Two years later, they outgrew the space and moved into larger office and warehouse spaces. In 2013, the still-current Montclair showroom opened. In 2017, the flagship showroom and corporate headquarters, where our True Residential display is located, made its debut in Bedminster, New Jersey.
What’s special about the metro New York market?
Right now, it’s the fact that the real estate market has never been hotter. Kitchen and laundry room remodels and upgrades have been keeping us extremely busy. Despite the challenges stemming from the pandemic, we’ve seen record sales and have grown our staff. Likewise, we’ve added additional warehouse space and have expanded the amount of delivery and installation partners to keep up with customer demand.
We also serve people outside the New York metro area. Though we no longer deliver directly to them, we reach them through our digital content and social media channels. Our blog articles are among the top-ranking results people find when researching appliances online. Our YouTube channel, where we post the brand overviews and reviews that we produce in-house, and our social media presence in general, are constantly growing. We constantly share our advice and expertise through our various platforms, reaching over a million unique visitors each month across the globe.
You used to host live cooking demonstrations in your Montclair showroom. Who was your favorite chef to work with—and will you be bringing those back soon?
We love hosting live events and can’t wait to resume those as soon as we’re able to. In the past we’ve hosted cooking classes taught by local nutritionist Emily Klein of Eat Live Well. We’ve also worked with the Montclair Culinary Academy on cooking classes and networking events. Perhaps the most famous chef to make an appearance at one of those events was Chef Rachel Reuben—you might know her from Food Network’s Chopped, where she earned the Champion title.
How do you support the design community?
We want to lighten the load for the designers we work with. They’re extremely busy and need to simultaneously focus on both the design process and project management. We want them to feel like they can send their clients to our showrooms with complete confidence that our sales team members will take excellent care of them. They don’t need to hold their clients’ hands through this part of the client process—they can trust us and outsource that job to us.
We also offer complementary photography and videography to the designers we work with through a very talented, in-house creative director. We also promote their work in our showrooms, on our website, and on our social media channels. We love sharing our designer friends’ work.
As soon as live events come back, we hope to host networking events that offer a place for designers to gather as well as learn from each other and various other industry experts.
You just added a True display to your Bedminster showroom. What has the response been like from customers?
Just the other day we overheard a husband say to his wife as they walked by our new True display, “Now that’s a fridge!” That’s exactly the kind of response we hope to get. We want to encourage customers to come into our showroom and see True products in person so that they can fully appreciate how solid and well-built they are—from the hinges to the drawers to the full stainless-steel interior. We love the quality of the brand. True units are unique, high-design models that stand out among the crowded marketplace and in our showroom.
To create the new display, we worked with Manny Silva, owner of Creative Cabinet Designs in Boonton Township, New Jersey. Silva’s design incorporates a True Residential 24″ Beverage Center, a slide-top beverage refrigerator, a 30″ Beverage Column , a 48-inch side-by-side refrigerator, and an undercounter freezer.
We also have a live True Residential 15″ Clear Ice Machine, next to our front desk. That display area was designed by Claudia Harvey, owner of Wydian Kitchens & Design in Branchburg, New Jersey.
We know customers always care about support. Have you noticed any other questions or priorities popping up over the past year?
Installation and service are always a priority for us. That’s why customers come to us instead of a big-box store—they want to feel taken care of. We support customers after their appliances are installed. The relationship doesn’t end there. We love working with True because our customer-centric values align so well.
In addition to customer support, availability has certainly been an issue over the past 18 months. We’ve been overwhelmed at times by backlogs, changes in inventory and delivery timing, and conflicting communications. It’s a challenge that we’re working to overcome by expanding our customer service team and our training. People, of course, want to know when their orders will arrive, but it’s been difficult to deliver accurate information during these challenging times. We’re not seeing a drop-off in orders, though. And we’re optimistic about what the coming year will bring.