KAM Appliances Finds a New Home

KAM’s new and improved location in Hyannis, Mass.

Forced from a previous location, business is back and better than ever

By Andy Kriege, YSN

KAM Appliances, a member of BrandSource affiliate The New England Appliance Group (N.E.A.G.), operates three Massachusetts stores, in Hanover, Nantucket and Hyannis.

In January 2020, KAM was informed by the state that its Hyannis store was being condemned under the right of eminent domain to make way for a road widening. Forced from the building the business had owned and operated out of since the early 1990s, a mad scramble ensued to find a new home on Cape Cod.

Thanks to a fortuitous twist of fate, the business was able to quickly acquire a desirable piece of land nearby, although KAM still needed a contractor who was willing to take on the project and push it to completion quickly. Providence interceded once again and the project was completed late last year, with the company taking occupancy this past January.

The sudden and rapid relocation was all the more audacious given that it transpired during the pandemic. “Most people had all they could handle with just COVID; we had all of that plus supply chain issues, not only for our customers but for our builders as well,” said Sarah Richardson, who manages all three KAM stores. “The state did not give us much leeway as to when we had to be out, but we managed to make it all come together on time.”

The new and improved Hyannis store features seven complete — and completely live — kitchen suites, as well as an assortment of additional products that are also plugged in for full demonstration purposes. “The customer experience is important to us,” Richardson said. “We want to make sure our customers are comfortable with their purchase so we set up our showroom to really let them touch, feel and use what we are selling so they have no buyer’s remorse. It is really important to us that customers don’t just get any product, but that they get the right product.”

N.E.A.G.’s Rob Balzano with KAM co-owner John Gralton.

The seven live kitchen suites are fully furnished rooms with several cooking areas in each space, perfect for showcasing multiple products and hosting live cooking demonstrations.

What’s more, “We configured them in such a manner so people could see the hidden part behind the install,” she said. Many display products have lift panels revealing what is behind or underneath them. There are also see-through plexiglass covers so customers can visualize what lies beneath the installation.

“We strive to fully educate our customers on what needs to be done to accommodate the entire install process,” she said.

Not only was the new Hyannis location completed on time, but it also exceeded everyone’s expectations. Rob Balzano, director of merchandising for N.E.A.G., was awestruck. “This has to be one of the most impressive stores in the entire United States,” he said. “All the kitchens are live and there is a massive outdoor kitchen area where all grills are also hooked up live. They did an amazing job.”

Guests gathered to celebrate the opening of KAM’s new Cape Cod store. From left: Oliver Alva, LG Appliances; Helder Dos Santos, Whirlpool; KAM co-owner Kassie Gralton; Jeff Cooksey, GE Appliances;  store manager Sarah Richardson; Heather Guerriero Dans, GE Appliances; Rob Balzano, N.E.A.G.; and GE’s Andrea Oriola.

In addition to the seven live kitchens, there is an additional one that serves a unique purpose, reflecting KAM’s commitment to give back to the community they are so connected to. “We heard about a non-profit group looking for a commercial kitchen to give people looking to start food businesses a place to work out of,” Richardson said. “It was a good fit for us.”

KAM’s new kitchen partner is Cape Cod Culinary Incubator (CCCI), which works with aspiring caterers, food truck operators, packaged food marketers and other mealtime entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. The products they cook up must be prepped in a state-approved commercial kitchen, which is often cost-prohibitive for those trying to launch a food-related business from scratch.

The fully equipped CCCI kitchen will employ a manager to oversee operations and provide on-site support to participants, along with an additional assists for education and licensing.

KAM Appliances has been a long-time supporter of CCCI and is proud to provide support. “We are excited to help those looking to launch a food business and put their dream in motion,” Richardson said. “It is our way of saying thank you to the community for all the patronage and support they have shown us over the years.”

Serendipity indeed, when one road closes another one opens. None of this might have come about for KAM and CCCI had their previous store not been sacrificed for that roadway.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.