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Design Store Enters Digital Marketing Era

Clarence Wallauer, who opened his paint store in 1921, was fueled by a strong work ethic inherited from his Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. With this year marking Wallauer’s Paint and Design Center’s 90th year, Debbie Duncan, Wallauer’s, great-grandchild, is turning to the digital realm to keep business thriving across Westchester County.

“We have a big push going on into social media,” Duncan says. “We are using Facebook , Twitte r and email blasts to stay connected to our customers.”

As the head of advertising and marketing for Wallauer's Paint and Design Centers , Duncan is testing what does and does not work for the store. An endeavor into mobile coupons, for example, didn't work out. Down the road she is investigating Groupon as an option.

Turning to new methods of promotion was not a sign of weakness for Wallauer's Design Centers. The Duncan family has grown Wallauer's from a single store to 10 locations: eight in Westchester County and two in Putnam County. “Opening our North White Plains location as our new headquarters was definitely a milestone for Wallauer's,” Duncan says.

The key to success, according to Duncan, is a reliance on trained staff. The company makes sure the professionals on the floor know the products, going so far as holding seminars for product lines when necessary.

“It's important to understand that we are not a big box store. We are very service oriented and want to give our customers that personal touch.  We want to help the customer find their decorating solutions." Duncan says.

For Debbie Duncan, more is at stake than simply increasing the market visibility. She's a fourth-generation Duncan and an owner that has worked in the stores most of her life. She is tuning the business model toward a digital marketplace, and that's a long way from her beginnings. “I started working here in high school. I'd come in and help put the wallpaper books away."

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