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It's All About the Details

KOHLER Signature Store by First Supply has the Answers

Article by Graham Johnson

Photography by Andrew Vick Photography

Originally published in Edina Lifestyle

In a post-quarantine world, many have a much better appreciation for the spaces we occupy. Details from sinks to shower heads can impact day-to-day life drastically, even long after we are allowed to go outside. It is those details that Judy Kimble, the Director of Sales and Marketing of First Supply LLC, specializes in. KOHLER’s Signature Store by First Supply in Edina provides style trends from the kitchen to the bathroom and has an expert design team to help show you exactly how to perfect those details in your home.  

A common misconception people have about the KOHLER Signature Store is that it is a store owned by KOHLER. In truth, the KOHLER Signature Store by First Supply is an independent affiliate. First Supply is a Wisconsin family-owned fifth-generation company that owns four Kohler Signature Stores and fifteen Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath, & Lighting stores. The Kohler Signature Store in Edina is now ten years old and holds the title of the first Kohler Signature Store in the USA.

 First Supply’s history stretches back 125 years to 1897 when a group of customers who felt they could provide better service than the current distributor – a truck driver, a well driller, a salesman, and a plumbing contractor decided to form their own distribution company initially called “Lacrosse Plumbing.” One of our most pivotal stories is a salesman visiting Gary Poehling (2nd generation) from the Dakotas to collect his pipe order. During his trip back on the train, the salesman heard WW2 was declared. Knowing Gary was “good for it,” the salesman added a zero to the end of our order. Those orders ended up setting the pipe allocation for the rest of the war, giving us enough to supply the Fort McCoy project, ultimately giving us the financial footing for future growth.   “It was a huge contract that ultimately gave us the financial footing for future growth,” says Judy. In 1940 Gary Poehling added cabinetry to the La Cross showroom, creating was is commonly regarded as the first Kitchen & Bath showroom in the country said, Judy

 As an independent store, the KOHLER Signature Store works to best help its clients navigate the often-confusing world of home improvement. “We set ourselves apart by service. You can shop price all day long, but if you want someone who cares about the project, that’s us,” says Judy. 

These days renovators have a much more tangible idea of what they are looking for in a project thanks to apps like Pinterest and Instagram. When customers come into the store, it is expected that people have Googled “beautiful bathrooms or kitchens” to get ideas. Many bring out their Pinterest board to show us what they want,” says Judy. Because of that newfound specificity, the KOHLER Signature Store relies on its knowledgeable design team to provide excellent service and advice. “We can really hone in on your taste and style and get the most value for your budget,” says Judy.  

 Unsurprisingly, with so many stuck inside the four walls they called home during the pandemic, many decided to make improvements. But, the surge in home improvement across the country has led to shortages and issues in the global supply chain that persists to this day. Because of these shortages, it is increasingly common for “People to finish 95% of a project and wait on one or two minor things,” says Judy. Fortunately for the KOHLER Signature Store, because of their strong inventory and buying power, they have managed to avoid much of these delays.  

 What is surprising about the surge in renovations in the past few years are the new trends. Judy credits HGTV shows like “Fixer Upper” for inspiring and shifting people’s tastes drastically, and “so much of it stems from the Farmhouse style. Chip and Johanna have had more influence in style than Frank Lloyd Wright,” says Judy. Other large-scale trends can also be seen as an extension of that farmhouse style, including a move away from white kitchens and towards “A lot more color,” says Judy.  

But no matter if you’re redesigning your kitchen, bathroom, or the entire house, the truth of these projects is that the details matter. Some even require a bit of psychology. 

For example, Judy tells me that gender can significantly impact the type of showerhead one buys because “Men tend to look at the showerhead, while women look away,” she says. That distinction can drastically affect how one showers and ultimately affect what type of showerhead will best suit their needs. 

Other details might just be a sign of the times, such as smart showers that you can start from your phone or intelligent toilets with built-in nightlights.  

Judy, who is currently working on her own renovation, brings in her full knowledge of fixtures, and brands, including every detail required to finish the project. But unlike Judy, most of us can’t draw from decades of experience working through the details of cabinetry and vanity depth. “No one is going to walk in knowing everything,” says Judy, “and that’s ok.” That is where the KOHLER Signature Store steps in and can help nail those tricky details when it matters most.  

For more, call (952) 922-2825 or visit their showroom at 7101 France Ave S. Edina.