Shutters Plus Thrives on a Clientele 10 Years in the Making
Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
With new home construction picking up, business activity is good at Shutters Plus, Inc., a custom shutter and cabinetry manufacturer based in Albany. Remodeling work, which kept the business going during the recession, also continues strong.
"We do about half our work directly with builders and the other half with homeowners," said Chad Warbington, founder and owner of Shutters Plus.
"I'm very hands-on and that means I am directly involved in every job. I listen to the needs of each customer, measure the job and talk through the design options. I think it's our customer service that sets us apart from other custom shutter and cabinetry providers."
Founded in 2005, Shutters Plus started with two employees in a 2,000 square-foot shop. Now the company has 14 full-time employees and a manufacturing facility with more than 30,000 square feet. Warbington says the company often acts as a one-stop shop for homeowners who are doing a small remodeling project.
"I'm not a general contractor but I've been in business for 10 years so I know reputable tile and stone contractors, plumbers and painters. Because cabinetry is usually the main product, we often coordinate the services of other contractors for our customers," Warbington said.
"That keeps them from having to deal with five or six different contractors on a job."
A repeat business
Because Warbington has been in business for 10 years, he has established a solid repeat clientele. He works with many builders on a monthly basis and individual homeowners on more of an annual basis.
"Homeowners tend to remodel every other year or so. They come back to install window treatments in other rooms or remodel another room. Or they may have sold their old home and are in the process of building a new home," Warbington said.
Warbington has travelled to St. Simons, Destin and Atlanta to help existing customers with new homes or second homes outside of Albany. Typically, though, Shutters Plus serves communities within a two-hour radius of Albany.
Fashion changes in the cabinetry business just as it does on the runways. This year, the trend is simplicity, according to Warbington.
"Craftsman is very popular as are white, gray and earth tones. It's been two years since we've done a job with full glazing on the cabinets. Now people are choosing very streamlined looks and if we do any glazing at all it is very small," Warbington said.
Loyal to Albany
Warbington serves on the Albany Water Gas & Light Commission Board, a position that appeals to his background as a mechanical engineer. He is in his fourth year as a board member, a period that saw the consolidation of several administrative functions across the city and utility.
"As a citizen, consolidating the utility and city administration under combined department heads is one of the best moves we've made. It's driven out inefficiencies and I sense a big change in employees with much greater energy and excitement going forward," Warbington said.
Albany WG&L is one of the largest utilities in the state, behind only Marietta, according to Warbington. Before joining the utility board, Warbington had served on the board of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the board of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.
"I've lived here 20 years, my wife was born here and we are raising our children here. We are definitely loyal to the city of Albany," Warbington said.
More information on Shutters Plus is available at http://s91636257.onlinehome.us/shuttersplus.