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Riverwood builds success with strong brands, service, staff

A hectic day at the office is finally over. The executive decisions are behind you. So, where do you turn to relax, put your feet up and enjoy yourself?

Home, where the living is easy, due to the creature comforts made available by Riverwood Home Appliances.

For nearly 30 years, the Pearl company has been making people feel at home, thanks to a variety of fine home appliances, featuring freezers and refrigerators, washers and dryers, ovens and ranges and the latest outdoor kitchen needs. Brands include Viking, Whirlpool, Sub-Zero Wolf, KitchenAid as well as nearly a dozen others.

“We have a reputation for our high-end, quality appliances as well as our customer service and knowledgeable staff,” said Debbie Williams, who has owned the company since 1996. She bought the former Climate Masters business, which opened in 1976, from Terry Reeves.

Reputation translates to profits, earning Riverwood Home Appliances more than $11 million in sales last year, Williams said. A second store opened last year in Hattiesburg after two years in planning. “Our (15-person) staff has very little turnover and know what they’re doing,” she said. “That pays off for the customer as well as the company.”

The company’s reputation drew in Andy Davis and wife Tina before they even put the first line down on their new home’s plans. “At 2,100 square feet, we knew we weren’t building a mansion, but we wanted the best we could afford, especially in the kitchen,” Davis said about his new home in Brandon. “We’d heard from friends that Riverwood was easy to work with, and they were right.”

Riverwood staff works with builders to create a one-of-a-kind kitchen as well as shoppers on a budget. “We don’t look at dollar signs,” Williams said. “We look at doing our job as helping people. When you’re genuine about helping someone, it shows.”

As for Williams, she takes that commitment a step farther in her personal philosophy. “I get up every day with the thought, ‘Who can I help today?’ I run this business as a mission — to help others.”

“Yes, it’s true that we sell you a $50,000 appliance, but you’re just as important to us if you’re only buying a $50 disposal,” Williams said. “We give red carpet treatment to anyone who looks through our door.”

Quality is key, and homeowners want to put their dollars to the best use. For many, that means furnishing the kitchen, the home’s busiest area, with top-of-the-line appliances.

“The kitchen is indeed the heart of most homes, where people live, eat and relate to one another,” Williams said. “Once they figure that out, then we help them figure out what they need.”

“Most of our customers are very educated,” she said. “They’ve done their research before they ever set foot in our showroom. And with the added help from our specialized staff, they know they will leave with the best appliance for their personal needs.”

For some, it may be the latest microwave or dishwasher in a drawer, or even a freestanding or under-counter wine cellar. For others, it’s cabinet or glass fronts for their appliances. And for the man of the house who lives for the thrill of the grill, there are outdoor kitchens, complete down to the ever-popular icemakers.

“The most important thing that people are looking for these days is big space, especially freezer space, and performance,” Williams said. “We have clients who only cook on the weekends, or they entertain a lot, and they want to know that whatever appliance they have, that it will perform as needed, that they can count on it to answers their needs.

“With our help, and the variety of appliances we carry, they don’t have to worry.”

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