Although the slowdown in the general housing market has effectively dried up sales in many parts of the country for the window covering industry, sales of shutters have not been feeling the same affects as most other window products. Those consumers who are interested in putting long-term, value-enhancing investments into their home are, for the most part, still focused on buying shutters as their window covering of choice over cheaper alternatives. In fact, the message that I often receive from our Sunland Shutters’ dealer network is that sales of other hard window coverings are down in greater proportions versus that of shutters.
Despite the severe slump we are seeing in new home sales, there are still plenty of consumers who did not speculate during the housing boom and are currently well positioned with cash-in-hand to invest in their properties. There are a number of consumers who have recently decided to upgrade their homes to better position them for resell down the road while others are looking to remodel in order to simply bring their homes up to modern standards. Dealers who have targeted this upgrade/remodel market have seen their sales grow this year to exceed that of last year.
Sunland believes this is the perfect niche for our dealer partners to get into if they have not done so already. To remain successful in the shutter market in a depressed housing environment, dealers will have to offer a top-quality, custom-built shutter program that includes the ability to craft all specialties shapes in a reasonable amount of time. More than ever, dealers must also offer products at a price point that would allow the broadest spectrum of consumers the ability to afford such a versatile and fashionable investment for their windows and homes.
In addition, today’s consumers have also become increasingly attracted to green (health and environmentally friendly) products. Sunland Shutters is fully committed to protecting Mother Nature and protecting the health of our valued consumers. Sunland only uses technologically advanced water-based paints developed in Europe in all of its import and domestic products. The water-based paint coating not only provides a smooth flawless finish, but also contains absolutely no lead additives, no volatile organic compounds, and exceeds all U.S. regulatory health and environmental standards.
KING OF THE HILL
Besides needing a superior product to market to highly demanding consumers, many of window fashion dealers these days also want a full turnkey program that includes professional measuring and installation services so they can focus their efforts on maximizing sales while having better visibility on their true operational costs. Sunland Shutters has the unique position of not only being a vendor of custom shutters with global production capabilities, but also a vendor with the capability to service and support its dealer network with dedicated local sales managers and in-house installation crews.
Shutters are currently poised as the king-of-the-hill when it comes to hard window treatments and they will continue to hold this place of prominence for many years to come as long as dealers can partner with suppliers who have comprehensive product and service programs that enable them to adjust to changing market demands. Dry market? Not for shutters.
Wayne Garrick, Sunland Shutters, Long Beach, CA; www.sunlandshutters.com.