Western Sales Company Newsletter

August | 2019 Issue

Hello and Happy August! We hope you are having a fantastic summer, staying cool, and getting some well-earned vacation.

In this issue we want to focus on what we like to call "product differentiators" – or the game-changing quality, performance, or features that make a product stand out from the competition. Here at Western Sales Company, we are absolutely smitten by high quality, high performing plumbing products – yes, that's right: we're unapologetic plumbing nerds. You'll notice from our line card that we don't like to sell the cheapest – we like to sell the best. And we know you feel the same way, you fellow plumbing nerd you.

Anyway, the sales story for "product differentiators" is that a high quality, top-performing product might cost more up front, but it's a better value in the long-run because you don't need to replace or fix it due to bad quality or poor performance. A sort of "buy once, buy right," philosophy. (Or from another point of view, "better margins, less hassle.")

We could go on (and on and on) about this philosophy – and we'll do that below! In this issue, we'll show off some of our favorite game-changing "product differentiators" that make these products a must-buy for the client who wants the best.

Let's get to it. Here are your "I don't have time for this" highlights:

  • Some of our favorite "Game Changers" from our brands
  • Video of the Month: GROHE Rapido SmartBox
  • Amber's Awesome August
  • Derek's Tech Tip: CalGreen & CEC codes explained

All of this and more, below.


GROHE Game-Changer: Rapido SmartBox | The GROHE Rapido SmartBox offers features that perfectly exemplify what we mean by "product differentiators." As you know, the SmartBox is the rough-in valve for the SmartControl and allows the operation of up to three shower outlets from a single valve. All outlets can run at the same time and this shower design will still be CALGreen compliant when the included flow restrictor is installed. The valve is thermostatic and each outlet can be volume controlled for optimal user comfort and convenience, which as far as we know is completely unique to this product. The SmartControl trim plate is stunning, minimalistic, and available square (chrome and moon white) or round (chrome, brushed nickel, and moon white). We've also heard that new finishes and new styles will be released for the SmartBox in September – so we're pretty jazzed.

Anyway, there you have it – SmartBox is not the cheapest shower valve solution, but we believe it is the best. Learn more from the brochure and/or watch Gray Uhl's famous Top 5 video.

American Standard

American Standard Game-Changer: Vormax UHET | The Vormax UHET offers a number of differentiating features that make it a must-buy for your client who wants the best performance with the lowest flush. At only 1 gallon-per-flush, the Vormax UHET is still rated with a 1000g MaP score and has been independently tested to leave the bowl two-times cleaner than standard toilets. For extra resistance to dirt, staining, and bacteria, this toilet also features American Standard's EverClean surface glazing technology. Vormax UHET is Comfort Height and optional left- or right-hand trip lever.

People outside of the plumbing world might find it strange for someone to have a "favorite toilet" – but that's just what makes our industry special! Read more about our game-changing favorite here and/or watch this fantastic video and see the Vormax in action.

American Standard Game-Changer: SpaLet Bidets | If you've ever used one, you know that any bidet is a "game-changer." But what differentiates the American Standard SpaLet game-changer among game-changers? So many things – but if you can only remember three, remember these: 1) Two wands for independent front and rear cleansing for increased comfort and hygiene, 2) MAP protected, and 3) Three-Year Warranty. (If you can remember more than three, also know that SpaLet products feature all of the ultra-comfort, ultra customizable features that your client will want and love from their bidet seat or toilet). Read all about these wonderful SpaLets here.

Americast – A Solution to Cast Iron | American Standard is famous for their cast-iron alternative, Americast. Americast is strong, offers consistent structural integrity, retains heat better, buffers more noise, and is much lighter. That's a BFD to anyone who has ever had to install a cast-iron tub. Read all about the advantages here.
Featured Training Video | GROHE Lineare Collection

This collection is gorgeous and your clients will love it – now here are the Top 5 things that will help you sell it.


MTI Game-Changer: Counter-Sinks | Now here's a product that typifies our love of "product differentiators." It's sort of difficult to compare MTI Counter-Sinks to the competition, because as far as we know no one offers anything like this collection, from a flexibility and customization standpoint alone. Counter-Sinks can be any size (up to 120"), can be made with a number of different bowl shapes, with or without backsplashes, and even custom edging. They are of course made with MTI's exclusive SculptureStone material, which is solid through-and-through without voids or coating, making it highly damage-resistant and easy to repair. And Counter-Sinks are simply gorgeous. Read more about this collection and let your design instincts go wild.

Updated Counter-Sinks Order Process | Speaking of Counter-Sinks – MTI recently updated their ordering procedure to a more simple and streamlined process. If you are in the habit of specifying these bad boys (it's a good habit), take a look at the official announcement for all of the juicy details.


DXV Game-Changer: Modulus | We are simply in love with this collection, from the gorgeous mid-century modern aesthetic to the unmatched flexibility and options. Modulus changes the game with what it offers the designer: an entire suite of faucets, sinks, toilets, furniture, accessories, mirrors, and even lighting, telling a single design story with integrity throughout the entire line and in every detail (it's a mouthful, but it's true) – and with enough flexibility to offer options for any space. If you love mid-century modern as much as we do, you simply must check out the details of the gorgeous Modulus.


Geberit Game-Changer: The UHET In-Wall Tank System & Carrier | As if saving 2-3 square feet of valuable real estate in the bathroom wasn't enough of a product differentiator – Geberit's 1.28 / 0.8 dual-flush carrier is an ultra-low-flush wall-hung tank system and carrier. But wait – there's more: What really sets this carrier apart is that since the "big flush" is so small, you can design a system with a single-flush CalGreen-Compliant 1.28 wall-hung system (when paired with a compatible toilet) for those clients who don't like dual-flush toilets. And yes, Geberit does offer some gorgeous single-flush actuators. Read all about it.

Amber's Awesome August | MTI Boutique Bench

If ever you find yourself with some free time (yeah, that was a joke) and you want to drown yourself in some gorgeous inspiration, might I suggest heading on over to the MTI website and perusing their image library? It’s how I was reminded of this baby, the SculptureStone Boutique Bench with waterfall legs…sigh. This beauty has been in the price book for some time now, and if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting the MTI Woodward Mill House, you know it sits in one of the guest baths upstairs. But it’s high time we mention it again. Made out of the signature MTI solid surface material, inlaid with teak planks in-house (or a patterned solid surface top if you so choose), this bench comes in five different sizes and with two different leg styles (parsons or waterfall). Just like you’ve come to know and love about the other solid surface products from MTI, this material is not only sturdy, but it is also repairable. Place it next to the tub, under a floating vanity, or inside the shower itself. 


Steamist Game-Changer: ShowerSense | There's a number of product differentiators in Steamist's generators and spa options – but the game-changer that we love, love, love is the Steamist Digital Shower, or ShowerSense. This system can be installed on its own or as part of a steam system, and allows the user to control up to three shower outlets from a single digital control. And because these shower outlets can only be run one at a time, the system is fully CALGreen-compliant (when paired with compliant shower heads). Read all about it here.

Trim to the Trade

Trim to the Trade Game-Changer: Same-Day Shipping | Crazy, right? Trim to the Trade offers hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of trim SKUs – anything you or your client could possibly need – and in a variety of finishes to boot. We've been told that if you (and/or your distributor) order your product before 2:30 PM, Trim to the Trade will ship out your product on the same day. Check out the catalog and if you're asking yourself, "Shouldn't I be using this brand for all of my trim needs?", our (biased) opinion is definitely, "Yes, you should."

Derek's Tech Tip: The CEC & CalGreen Story

Editor's Note: Special thanks to Derek (whom you may know from our projects side) who filled in for Tom's Tech Tip this month because he is our resident CALGreen/CEC expert and because Tom said, and I quote, "I don't want to."

By now, everyone in the plumbing industry has heard of CEC and CALGreen. While often spoken of together, they are separate rule-making groups, with different enforcement methods. (Note that they make rules about construction materials and methods beyond just plumbing – but we plumbing nerds only care about plumbing.) There’s a lot of backstory about how these rules came to be, but let’s skip that to discuss specifically how CALGreen and the CEC affect you and your customers. 

So who are the authorities behind these names? CEC is the California Energy Commission. The CEC has the legal authority to prohibit non-compliant plumbing products from being sold in California, and to penalize sellers (meaning showrooms, wholesalers, and plumbers) up to $7,500 per violation. In order for most plumbing fixtures to be legally sold in CA., they must be listed on the CEC’s plumbing products/appliance efficiency database. Note that the CEC has nothing to do with permits or inspections. The CEC regulates products by penalizing sellers who violate the rules.

CALGreen is formally known as the California Green Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 11, of the California Code of Regulations (catchy title). For us in the plumbing world, CALGreen governs what products can pass a final plumbing inspection. It is functionally enforced at the plan-check and final inspection stages of the permit process, which is a local authority. Enforcement can vary by city (and plumbers can speak to this variability) – but the efficiency requirements listed below are the mandatory ones in CALGreen for statewide installations.

Maintenance and repair is different from new installation, and both the CEC and CALGreen acknowledge this (permits are generally not required for maintenance work). CEC does not require commercial flush valves to be listed, and valves with bigger flush volumes (to service existing fixtures) are allowed.

Here is a table that shows the current rules from each body. As always, you can rely on Western Sales to supply current info on codes as they are updated. 

So there's the exciting story of CEC & CALGreen. As always, feel free to contact us if you want to know more.


Question: According to Derek's table linked above, what shower flow rate requirement does CALGreen stipulate that the CEC does not?

Send the correct answer to by August 25, 2019, and receive a $5 Starbucks card. 

Thanks for reading our newsletter!

Best regards,

Lauren Slankard
Western Sales Company
Copyright © 2019 Western Sales Co, All rights reserved.

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