The world of kitchen design is changing!
Main Line Kitchen Design was founded in 2010 during the US kitchen cabinet industry’s crushing downturn due to the collapse of the housing market and recession. In response to the downturn, owner Paul McAlary envisioned a new business model that relied on the internet supplying leads and reduced overhead using selling centers, sample doors and finishes. Instead of maintaining a showroom open to the public, Main Line Kitchen Design operates in an office building, essentially invisible to passing traffic.
Before 2010, most cabinet brands would never have considered a dealer who didn’t showcase displays of their cabinetry. After the construction collapse that began in 2008, many showrooms and builders began declaring bankruptcy, often owing cabinet manufacturers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a result, major cabinet brands became willing to make exceptions to their display requirements.
The Company Begins
Main Line Kitchen Design founder and owner Paul began approaching cabinet manufacturers in the fall of 2010. The more traditional manufacturers proved hesitant but the more innovative brands immediately saw the advantages of the more stream line business model. Instead of large showroom displays promoting the brand, the manufacturers required immediate payment and sold cabinetry to the Main Line Kitchen Design start-up at the same discounted rates larger showrooms received.
Today, Main Line Kitchen Design has grown to be a multimillion-dollar cabinet dealership with impeccable credit – and we still pay for the cabinetry we order as we receive it! The cash flow restriction acts as a canary in a coal mine for our operations, never letting us mortgage our future and keeping our company growth at a manageable 25% per year over the 12 years we have been in business.
Google is more important than Main Street
While all cabinet dealers maintain a stream of referral customers, traditional kitchen showrooms also need visible locations to bring in new customers. Being on “Main Street” in the town or city your cabinet dealership is located is almost a must for most cabinet dealers. However, for Main Line Kitchen Design’s business model, being found on the first page of a Google search is the “must”. This is why an expert knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC) is vital to our company. Main Line Kitchen Design’s search engine positions and visibility on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, Angie’s List, Linkedin, TikToK, and Youtube are equally important.
We are confident that a viral video can be more valuable than a half million-dollar showroom.
One of our marketing successes is a 220 second stop action video that has been viewed at least once in every country on Earth! This video can be seen on Philadelphia Main Line Kitchen Design & Kitchen Cabinets (click on the on the play arrow part way down the page).
The content on Main Line Kitchen Design’s website is also vital to the unique business model. Updated weekly, the company blog attracts so many readers that our website has been cited as the one of the top kitchen design web sites in the world! 1000 people a day access Main Line Kitchen Design Trends Blog –.
Main Line Kitchen Design’s state-of-the-art website also contains much more than photos of some our work. People on the website can actually virtually tour a number of kitchens like Gaithersburg, MD (matterport.com)
Because the website has readers from all over the world, we found ourselves regularly answering calls from homeowners thousands of miles outside of our service area. Paul modified the Main Line Kitchen Design business in two ways to meet the needs of these calls.
First, he and his designers dedicated hours to identifying reputable kitchen designers in other geographies and maintain the list on the website. Paul also set aside two hours on Friday afternoons during which he’d answer questions from callers outside Main Line Kitchen Design’s service area.
Over the years, Paul has provided invaluable guidance to hundreds of homeowners from all over the US. Beginning last year, Paul began recording and editing these calls to produce Main Line Kitchen Design Podcasts –. The number of podcast listeners increases every week.
Marketing is worthless without top designers
There would be little point to our effective and cutting-edge marketing if we didn’t also have great designers who produce beautiful kitchens. Here’s a link to our designers’ profiles on our web site and on LinkedIn.
A big part of being a great kitchen designer is showing customers the best use of their space and budget! Paul insists that Main Line Kitchen Design designers always show customers the best use of their space first and, only then, something they may have requested.
Many of our customers come to us believing that they know the floor plan and even the door style and color of the cabinetry that they would prefer. Sometimes, they have even selected all their appliances. The easiest thing for any kitchen designer to do is simply to make that customer’s dream a reality. However, the initial kitchen of a customer’s dreams is limited by their own design experience and the products that they know about.
At Main Line Kitchen Design, we aren’t doing our job if we’re not at least surprising customers with alternative designs and materials. We simply wouldn’t be good at what we do if our many years of experience didn’t translate into a better kitchen at a better price than our customers could come up with on their own.
Coping with the pandemic
Over the last two years, Covid was a stress test for the kitchen industry. Supply chain issues and lead time changes made designing and selling kitchens more complicated. Main Line Kitchen Design rose to the challenge and became more organized and effective to offset the added uncertainty. We added new cabinet brands that were better organized as well and eliminated others.
Zooming with clients now saves designers and customers travel time and makes design appointments more focused. Our in-office meetings have also become more directed as they are now more specific in their purpose. As a result, we increased 2022 sales by more than a million dollars.
Looking forward, our company is excited by the changes we see in our industry. Training our new designers is helping us all grow and learn as professionals. Looking into the distant future, we plan on offering franchising opportunities in cities around the US for dealers that want to adopt our business model and benefit from our experience.
In closing, the keys to Main Line Kitchen Design’s success includes an agile business model, competitive pricing, the best talent and our commitment to having customers consider the best use of their space as opposed to just conceding to ‘what they want’. In addition to all of this, we close most of what we publish with a comment from one of our favorite people in the kitchen – Julia Child.
Thank you for your interest in Main Line Kitchen Design and Bon Appétit!
Paul’s Bio from the national magazine Kitchen and Bath Design News:
Paul McAlary possesses a voice that resonates far beyond the boundaries of Philadelphia’s western suburbs and the city’s prestigious Main Line – the location of his well-established Delaware Valley design firm. McAlary, president and senior designer of Bala Cynwyd, PA-based Main Line Kitchen Design, is an internationally recognized kitchen design authority who has won more than a dozen local and national design awards, including being named a 2017 Viking Appliances Designer of Distinction.
Beyond his achievements as a designer, McAlary has also forged a burgeoning reputation as the creative force behind the “Main Line Kitchen Design Blog,” a unique online forum and social media resource that is read by more than 40,000 people each month and has been honored as one of the top kitchen design blogs in the world. Main Line Kitchen Design’s videos and blogs address a wide range of kitchen/bath-related topics aimed at sparking a constructive exchange of ideas among both consumers and design professionals.
McAlary, whose kitchens and comments often appear in trade magazines and on social media sites, is sometimes at odds with the kitchen design establishment, but he maintains a distinct sense of humor and is known as a fierce advocate for design standards, ethics and transparency in the kitchen design trade.