Numbers like that make a compelling case for change by any measure and explain to a large extent why the basic pHD value proposition has met with such an enthusiastic response, not only in the K-12 market but also in higher education and healthcare.
“The market dynamics may be a little different—in higher education, for example, it’s all about creating flexible, multi-purpose spaces and building a sense of connectivity between the students and the institution—but the basic value concept is very similar,” Schreiner explains. “Our turnkey approach makes it easy for the school or hospital administrators and we’re usually able to give them a transformed dining facility—with a totally unique look and feel—in about ten weeks from initial design concept to installation.”
And the WPF dealer’s role in all this?
“Most office furniture dealers have some kind of presence in the education and healthcare markets but historically they have done very little on the dining side of those markets,” Schreiner points out. “With Palmer Hamilton Design, they now have a platform they can use to penetrate that market in a way that is very cost-effective for them.”
Schreiner has a simple message for WPF dealers: “Find us a project, get us an appointment and our sales reps and food service people will go in with you and help close the sale.”
Schreiner looks at the WPF-Palmer Hamilton connection and sees synergies on multiple fronts. “Palmer Hamilton is the dominant player in dining environments for higher ed, healthcare and K-12 but those dining area markets are niches that the major contract manufacturers don’t serve,” he points out. “What we offer and how we go to market are completely different from the WPF dealer’s primary alignment so there’s very little potential for conflict.”
Instead, he maintains, there’s significant potential for profit. “Very rarely do we get a dining project that’s less than $100,000 and because the project typically involves a conceptual sale rather than just a product sale alone, it’s not unrealistic to expect margins in the 20-30% range.”
Clearly, pHD has been a hugely successful story for Palmer Hamilton over the past six years. But the company is hardly resting on its laurels. Also brand new is its Nomad Flexible Furniture line, an offering which encompasses a broad range of tables and seating that are mobile, lightweight, stackable and storable—qualities that are tailor made for today’s multi-purpose, ad hoc spaces that have become increasingly important in just about every market.
Nomad, Schreiner reports, is barely a year old but it too is already generating some impressive sales growth and promises to become an important new addition to the Palmer Hamilton brand stable.
“Palmer Hamilton is a growth company,” says Schreiner. “We believe in growth, we believe in new products and we believe in niche markets where we can be the dominant player. And we also believe Palmer Hamilton can bring significant new opportunities to WPF dealers without requiring any major new investments in people or infrastructure on their part.”