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A century-old family business wins design award for Midtown showroom

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A showroom showstopper

Photos courtesy of Design Core Detroit

Design Core Detroit recently hosted a design award to acknowledge the best in commerce design in the city. How can design help a neighborhood business and what makes one stand out from the rest? Advance Plumbing and Heating—a 100-year-old family business—won the People’s Choice for their new showroom in Midtown. Josh Moss, Vice President of Advance Plumbing and Heating, had the chance to discuss the showroom’s future and past.

D MET Studio served as architects and designers on the project.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit

“We opened a showroom in Midtown because we want to be an active part of Detroit’s resurgence,” says Moss. “Amazingly enough, when we opened the showroom, Advance Heating and Plumbing became Detroit’s first ever decorative plumbing showroom. My father opened his first showroom at age 26 and he challenged me to do the same.”

Today, Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply can proudly say they are a fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated. “Since 1920, Detroit has been our headquarters. We were more of a hardware store during the Roaring ‘20s. Nonetheless, my grandfather survived The Great Depression, survived everyone leaving the city, and survived the riots. My father came into the business in the late ‘80s and worked in Detroit with my grandfather. For me, leaving Detroit was never an option.”

In search for the perfect space, Moss and family decided to set up shop in Midtown. “We were extremely fortunate to get the building,” he says. Detroit-based design group D MET Studio served as both architect and designers for the buildout.

During the renovation, the boarded windows were uncovered to reveal the building’s historical facade. “Our neighbors were delighted!,” says Moss. “Every so often, they bring us treats and say thank you for making the block look nice. People come in and their jaws drop. It’s like, people can’t believe something this beautiful and functional exists here.”

Additionally, Moss points out that neither Home Depot or Lowes has a location close to downtown Detroit. For this reason, the local community is grateful for such access. “In the end, our family didn’t want to create just another showroom. We wanted to cater unparalleled experiences. The goal is to offer what other contract plumbers can’t. The Advance Heating and Plumbing showroom was built to be a destination showroom—not only within Michigan but for neighboring states and Canada.”

The Midtown showroom has five working tubs, 50 working shower heads, two working steam generators, five working toilets, and 20 bath & kitchen faucets. “We’ve created a totally hands-on experience and hope to encourage clients to support local business and to ultimately stay offline.”

Given the showroom’s location, Advance Heating and Plumbing is able to easily collaborate with businesses downtown. “We’ve worked with Ducharme Place, buildings on Selden Street, twelve units above She Wolf (the Selden), Little Caesars Arena, and we’re about to do work on the new Hudson building. In truth, the city of Detroit enabled our business to be successful. We saw a continued opportunity downtown and Detroit is a part of this business’s heritage. The city built our family and now we feel it’s our time to give back.”