By Francie Healy
It’s stunning. Jaw-droppingly beautiful.
And to think it grew out of an 80-year-old plumbing wholesale company.
The Mondeau Bathroom and Kitchen “flagship” showroom on Algoma Road, a division of Boone Plumbing, is 12,000 sq. ft. of what can only be called an inspirational experience for homeowners, designers, builders, renovators, and residential plumbers.
Mondeau has two other locations: the newly renovated store, re-opened in June, on Edgewater Street in Kanata, and one in Gatineau.
Part of the largest network of plumbing showrooms in the region, Mondeau Bathroom and Kitchen showrooms are functional as well as beautiful. People can actually turn on the faucets and showers to see how well they work. It’s a place where you can see and learn almost everything you wanted to know about kitchens and bathrooms.
“When we introduced the new Mondeau showroom concept, the company (Boone Plumbing) wanted to make sure we got it right,” explains Marco Belanger, Operations Manager. “We wanted designers and other professionals to come into this space with their clients and relate to it. We wanted homeowners to feel comfortable, to find what they were looking for, to be inspired. Even after 20 years, I’m still surprised by the number of people who are astonished by what they see.”
Designers and renovators often bring clients there, and many use Mondeau’s state-of-the-art meeting room and office space for one-on-one consultations with their clients. The space is fully equipped with audio-visual resources and tables for spreading out drawings or blueprints.
Information is at every visitor’s fingertips, with a specialized staff of consultants on hand to answer questions, demonstrate products, make suggestions.
“Renovation is a long process,” says Marco. “It can be overwhelming. And it’s a significant investment. So people want to do the proper research. They want to get information from people who have the technical knowledge they need – consultants who can guide them through all the product choices they will make.”
The consultants are technical specialists, some with design backgrounds, so they can read blueprints, see what the space could be, and make recommendations based on the specifications of the project.
They also have detailed technical knowledge of the products. The company has regular training programs that keep the consultants updated on any new varieties or functions in the products.
Mondeau encourages visitors to make an appointment for a consultant so there is no “wait” time in the showroom; but walk-ins are also welcome. Marco says most people don’t mind making an appointment, because they like to schedule a certain amount of time depending on the complexity of the project.
“They’re not exactly shopping for groceries,” he laughs.
He adds people tend to come back a second or third time. “We’re there through every step of the process.”
Meanwhile, “behind the scenes”, or in the big Boone Plumbing warehouse, everything needed for a kitchen or bath renovation – all the essential products and tools used by the professionals, for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, waterworks, pipe valve and fitting, are transported, received, and ordered. The company uses an advanced inventory management system for operational accuracy and efficiency.
Boone Plumbing is a Canadian-owned and -operated business that began in 1937. In 1987, the Deschênes Group, a platinum member of Canada’s best-managed companies, acquired it.
It was named AON Canada (a global professional services firm) “Best Employer – Gold” in 2016. It was an honour that was ranked and voted by its own employees. It is also what Marco calls a “good corporate neighbour” in the community. It is a sponsor of The Ride (a day of cycling as a fundraiser for The Ottawa General Hospital research, including cancer research), Habitat for Humanity and the Ottawa Food Bank.
Its main distribution centre is on Algoma Rd. There is also a Boone location in Kanata and a “supply pickup” location for contractors on Woodward Drive in Nepean. Another Boone wholesale operation, called Desrosiers Distributeurs, is in Gatineau. (It celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.)
Marco explains multiple locations mean fast and easy access from anywhere within 15-20 km in the city.
Boone has a fabrication shop that manufactures custom duct work, fittings and spiral pipe. It’s an important service for most of the trades in the region.
With the “Boone Everywhere” portal, which can be used with computer, mobile or tablet, contractors can place orders online anytime, access their own profiles, or look up technical information.
“If they want to put in an order in the middle of the night, they can,” says Marco.
And maybe best of all for a lot of contractors who have no time to waste: as of last year, there’s now drive-through service – the only one of its kind in the area.
Contractors put in their order, and they don’t even have to get out of the truck. A Boone employee brings the order out to them.
Another option for contractors is an express pickup service. A contractor can call ahead; the order gets prepped and packed; and it’s ready when the contractor gets there.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also a curbside lock-bin service for pre-planned, after-hour pickup and 24-hour emergency service.
Every two years, the company hosts an event called The Parade of Products, the largest of its kind in the city. For this event, Boone partners with more than 85 manufacturers and holds it at a venue such as the Ottawa Events and Conference Centre. It attracts about 1,000.
“Not only customers but manufacturers look forward to it,” says Marco. “It’s a fun time, very informative and always well received.”
Contractors have access to classroom training at The Boone Academy, where they receive technical training on equipment: How to service a piece of equipment, how to do an installation, and so on. They learn about any new government regulations; new features of commercial products, and safety certifications. The company also provides training from third parties on leadership and business practices.
The concept is simple, explains Marco.
“If they’re successful, we’re successful. So we provide support to help them continue to grow.”
Contented staff makes for good business, too. Marco says Boone employees (who call themselves Booners), are an investment in the success of the company. Boone supplies all their training. When possible, employees are promoted from within.
“We’re dedicated to our mission, and to helping our own people succeed,” says Marco. “Happy people do good things.”
The Mondeau Bathroom and Kitchen “flagship” showroom on Algoma Road is one place where you can learn everything you want to know about bathrooms and kitchens. You can try out the faucets (that really work) if you want, and fully trained and informed staff of technical specialists are on hand to answer questions.
Good neighbours: Boone Plumbing, a Canadian-owned and -operated
Business, participates in community events, such as The Ride – a day of cycling as a fundraiser for The Ottawa General Hospital. Mondeau Bath and Kitchen is a division of Boone Plumbing.
Boone Plumbing partners with more than 85 manufacturers to hold The Parade of Products. It’s the largest show of its kind in Ottawa.
Behind the scenes, in the big Boone Plumbing warehouse, contractors can find everything needed for a kitchen or bath renovation – all the essential products and tools, for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, waterworks, pipe valve and fitting.