By Charles Wardell. How much would your buyers spend to organize all the tools and other junk they store in the garage? Whirlpool is betting that some of them will spend a lot. Its new Gladiator GarageWorks storage system assumes that guys are so eager to show off their garages that they will flock to anything that helps them achieve showman status. Whirlpool wants builders to offer the system as an option on new homes.
The system itself has a lot going for it. Special wall panels accept hangers that support a variety of boxes and baskets. There's an attractive modular workbench with a hardwood top, as well as gear boxes, drawers, and a little refrigerator. But at up to $600 for each of these components, they could prove a tough sell for all but the most well-heeled buyers.
D.R. Horton let Whirlpool outfit a garage as part of a high-end Parade of Homes project in Denver this past fall. The builder was unavailable for comment, so we showed photos of the system, with prices, to other production builders. The reception was cool. Our conclusion: Whirlpool may have a marketing challenge on its hands; it will be interesting to see how the company handles it.