Arctic Views In the 1920s, when The News was established, dealers not only sold refrigerators, but other household appliances as well, and so a showroom was needed to exhibit the merchandise. To capture the notice of passersby and, hopefully, lure prospective customers inside, display windows were gussied up to attract people’s attention.

The December 8, 1926 issue, eight pages in all, had two separate articles on displays as well as a photo with a caption that told its story. The amount of space devoted to display window articles, considering the short length of the issue, illustrates their importance in the industry at that time.

In fact, one of the articles commented on the overabundance of displays with a cold weather theme. “There is not yet much variety in electric refrigeration displays, which are mainly of a single type — the spectacular Arctic environment.

“Whether this is the right kind of selling story to tell, only time will prove, for the electric refrigerator is still a sufficient novelty to attract the masses, no matter how it is displayed.”


All Decked Out While the industry has changed, and few contractors today sell refrigerators, some still have showrooms in order for customers to check out equipment and accessories before buying.

In 1998, The News ran a contest called “Showroom Showcase” to find the best in hvacr contractor showrooms. Readers were not only allowed to vote in this contest, they were encouraged to do so. The first set of entries ran in the December 14 issue. Photos were included, as well as a statement about how the showroom made a difference to the business.

Frymire Services, Dallas, TX, had recently opened a showroom with residential products on display. Vicki Chase, Frymire’s marketing director, said, “It didn’t take long for us to realize what a valuable tool a showroom can be. With the huge success we’ve had opening it, our only regret is that we didn’t do it a lot sooner.”

Steve Menasco, owner of Menasco Heating and Air Conditioning, Okmulgee, OK, stated, “A considerable number of customers visit us, for filter purchases as well as installation pricing.” He said that the biggest influence the showroom has had is in the area of packaged units, with the tops of the equipment ajar. “With the tops open,” Menasco said, “we have an opportunity to point out quality components and discuss benefits of the system.”

By the way, in case you are trying to remember who won that contest, the first place award went to Pat’s Heating & Air Conditioning, Oconomowoc, WI.

Publication date: 12/10/2001