Whirlpool opens showcase center downtown

By Alejandra Cancino
Posted Nov. 9, 2010 at 6:19 a.m.

Whirlpool Corp., hoping to spur sales of its appliances to designers and architects, is opening on Tuesday a showcase center in downtown Chicago called “The World of Whirlpool.’’

Josh Gitlin, Whirlpool sales director of training and development, said the idea is to show products in action to designers, architects and the media year around, without having to wait for trade shows where the company might only get a few minutes with potential customers.

“(It) is all about how do you win the hearts and minds of people who sell appliances, so we believe it really is going to drive significant sales,” Gitlin said.

The center will be located on the eighth-floor of the Reid-Murdoch Center and will display products from many of the company brands, including KitchenAid, Gladiator and JennAir. To enhance the customer experience, the company hired chefs to offer live cooking demonstrations and leased and renovated four floors in the clock tower to hold meetings and entertain guests.

The idea is not new for the company. After seven years, a smaller showcase center in Atlanta closed down in August to give way to the Chicago operation.

“We have seven years of research and learning that we can apply to this new facility,” Gitlin said.

About 15 of the 20 employees at the center were hired in the local market. The other five were transferred from the company’s Benton Harbor headquarters and from Atlanta, Gitlin said.

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