Interview by Sigrid Tornquist
Damage done to the New Jersey shoreline and the boats harbored there by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy have resulted in increased demand for marine canvas work. How have you handled the spike in work load?
I started doing a lot of quoting in the spring after the hurricane, and at the time I was down one employee. It was just me and one other worker, so the first thing I did was hire another sewer. We were telling customers we were eight to 12 weeks out for work—and customers don’t like to hear that. So I started offering partial work as an option. For instance, if a customer ordered a four-sided flybridge enclosure that might have taken eight weeks, I would offer to do a three-sided enclosure in four weeks.
I really just stumbled on that solution but it saved my business. If I had turned people away they might have gone somewhere else. This was a huge opportunity to get new clients through the door. There wasn’t one person who didn’t take me up on the offer.