YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH THE NUMBERS. SINCE VERIDIAN Homes in Madison, Wis., opened its new design center in November 2003, the sale of upgrades has increased by 30 percent. Not only that, but the builder attributes 12.7 percent of all new traffic and nearly 10 percent of its closings to first contacts made in the design center.

That's right. The 3,800-square-foot design center not only serves the buyers of 600-plus homes annually, it is also a frequent first point of contact for the public with the builder.

“The marketing department is putting it in the ads, promoting browse hours,” says Dan Gorski, vice president of estimating, purchasing, and design for Veridian Homes. “A salesperson is on the floor to answer questions. We're promoting it as another tool to come buy a home from us.”

The new center replaced a much smaller facility after Veridian merged with another local builder in June 2003. This time, it decided to hire Masco Design Solutions to create a center with a strong customer focus.

“The last one was done by us as builders thinking what we thought the clients wanted,” Gorski says. “It was a mishmash and didn't have a nice flowing appearance.”

This time, the company went for the “wow factor” and got it. Now, it's a vital part of Veridian's marketing efforts.

“We have tags in our commercials that say, ‘Stop by the design studio,' so they start dreaming up their new home,” Gorski says. “As you can see, it's extremely inspiring.”

Builder: Veridian Homes, Madison, Wis.
Interior design: Masco Design Solutions, Carmel, Ind., in consultation with Devenish Associates, Madison

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Madison, WI.