By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Once a haven for winter residents, Florida's southwest coast is now booming as a year-round market for all types of home buyers. WCI Communities saw a huge opportunity to service these buyers with a new retail-style design studio.

"For our customers, the design center is an extra benefit and offers more peace of mind during the buying process," says Jama C. Dock, marketing communications manager for WCI. "We can accommodate contemporary, traditional, or a combination of styles, servicing buyers at every price range."

The Design Studio is located in a retail center that includes a well-known furniture retailer and a large bank. "The retail exposure is great for word-of-mouth recognition," says Dock.

Photo: Courtesy WCI Communities

WCI Communities hosts more than 1,000 buyers a year at its new Design Studio in Bonita Springs, Fla. The company offers a huge selection for buyers in all price ranges. With the growing importance of customer service in new-home sales, the Design Studio has proved to be a marketing asset. "It's another way to separate ourselves from competitors," says Dock. "And buyers like the individual attention." Since opening in summer 1999, the WCI Design Studio has hosted more than 1,000 home buyers each year from all of its local communities in Naples and Bonita Springs. WCI has been building amenity-rich master planned developments in Florida for more than 50 years. The company currently sells homes in 30 communities, mostly its own, featuring golf courses, boat slips, and deep-water marinas. The company's current land holdings in the region include approximately 16,000 acres in 10 counties and 1,600 closings per year. WCI has two new studios opening in other Florida cities.

Campaign Details

Program: WCI Design Studio, Bonita Springs, Fla.; Builder/Developer: WCI Communities, Bonita Springs; Price: $100,000s to over $10 million; Studio size: 5,200 square feet; Interior merchandising/furnishings: In-house, Naples, Fla.; Displays: International Design and Display Group, Miami Lakes, Fla.; Signage: Lykins Development Specialists, Naples