Plumbing Supply Business Reborn as SplashWorks Kitchen & Bath
Willow Glen Resident
January 10, 2006
By Alicia Upano
Willow Glen resident and business Owner Eric Nelson entered the New Year with a splash.
On Jan. 1, Nelson changed the name of a longtime business on Lincoln Avenue, Saratoga Plumbing Supply II. A black and white sign that reads SplashWorks Kitchen & Bath Gallery replaced the business' blue awning. Despite the new name, Nelson said the store will continue to offer the same service and products that it has for the past 19 years.
The store was long overdue for a name change to end the confusion between the Willow Glen store and former sister company, Saratoga Plumbing Supply on De Anza Boulevard, Nelson said.
Nelson began working at Saratoga Plumbing Supply under Brian Vick in 1988, after graduating from high school. He moved to the Willow Glen location in 1994, becoming the store's manager.
"I just kind of fell into it and liked it," Nelson said. "It ended up being something I enjoyed."
In 1998, Nelson bought the store from Vick but retained its name. As a new business owner, Nelson did not want to change an established name in the community.
But the frequent mix-ups, such as vendors sending supplies to the wrong company, inspired Nelson to adapt. He also wanted a catchy name that would invoke the store's growth and uniqueness.
Since 1998, Nelson has expanded the 2,500-square-foot space to 3,500 square feet and doubled its sales to $4 million annually. While many of his customers are from Central and Northern California, the company has served customers as far afield as Hawaii, the Philippines and Israel.
Nelson said customers come to SplashWorks for its high-quality product lines such as Rohl, Jado and Toto. The store also carries a variety of styles, ranging from traditional to modern. The Willow Glen and Rose Garden markets, however, often demand traditional fixtures because of their historic homes.
Willow Glen resident Stephanie Ronco, an 11-year customer, said SplashWorks has been one-stop shopping throughout her home remodels. She has returned to the store over the years because of its proximity to home and its customer service.
"Everyone who works there is really knowledgeable," Ronco said. "We're lucky to have it here."
Contractor Louis Vary, who came into the store in January, said he has been referring customers to SplashWorks for seven years so customers can search for design ideas and compare sinks and fixtures.
"It's one of the places I can send customers and they return with nothing bad to say," Vary said.
Tim Casey, owner of Willow Glen-based Tim Casey Construction, said he's been working with Nelson exclusively since he started his business a decade ago.
"He's become a friend," Casey said.
Changing the store's name and signature blue awning was a bold move, Casey said.
Along with the new name, Nelson has remodeled the store with new tile, carpet, paint, displays and product lines. Nelson believes the name change will herald positive things for the business.
"It's one of the best things I ever did," he said.
SplashWorks is located at 1284 Lincoln Ave. The store is open on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact SplashWorks at 408.279.5202.
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