When the premium wholesale plumbing supplier decided to build a large training and distribution center in Phoenix, not only did they choose to stock Viega products, but to show them off in their own plumbing and piping as well.
The 35,000-square-foot building was recently completed for use with customer training. “The Workbench” gives tradespeople the opportunity to do hands-on product demos and learn about the situations they might find on the job, as well as learn about products they can use.
“This is all live fire,” explained Phillip Clark, Partner of Winston Water Cooler in Phoenix. “There is water pumping through the heaters, gas running to the heaters, that sort of thing. We can simulate certain problems by putting different parts in and having people troubleshoot to find the issues. It’s all hands-on, which makes it valuable in our industry for these guys. We want them to be comfortable with the products, and it gives them a comfort level so they can come up here and screw up something instead of potentially screwing up their customer’s stuff!”
Clark said the training center includes products seen in multifamily buildings, plus parts of a mechanical room setup, including boilers, booster pumps and mixing valves. The building contains equipment supplied by a variety of manufacturers. Originally a data center, Winston remodeled the space into a training center.
All the water in the building is piped with ProPress, and gas lines are run with MegaPressG. About 200 feet of 2½” and 3” copper lines connect to storage tanks, where water can be circulated through heating and pressure-boosting segments. The gas lines have 1½” MegaPressG fittings.
“We wanted to become a stocking distributor for Viega for years, and in 2019 we jumped at the opportunity when it came,” Clark said. “We phased out Apollo as we brought in Viega. We realize the value in the product and know it’s good – and that a lot of customers only trust Viega.
“The product line with Viega is more diverse with the larger-diameter fittings, and Viega has some fittings in configurations and tighter tolerances. It’s just a good market presence that speaks for itself. We’ve had issues with other [brands], where we’re responsible for going back and taking care of the customer after hours. But Viega’s track record for quality and consistency is far superior to the competitors’ and it makes our customers happy.”
Clark said it’s a great advantage to hold training classes and show products at work that they also have in stock on their shelves. Attendees can see how Viega fittings work and that they’re a clean installation. All the piping in the facility is exposed on the walls and anchored so it can be used for show-and-tell.