Volume 46, Issue 6 - July/August 2007

Secret Shopper
Shelter Goes Undercover 
by Penny Stacey, a contributing writer for Shelter magazine.

Rising Above
Solutions to Stair Parts Stocking Challenges

When I pulled into the parking lot of Stock Building Supply in Fredericksburg, Va., on June 20, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a little off the beaten path. Fortunately, when I called to make sure they were open, the person I spoke with said, “It’s near the mulch plant,” and, as I made my way toward the general area, there were tons of signs that said “Mulch plant this way,” which made it easy enough.

As I entered the lumberyard though, suddenly, the direction wasn’t so clear. I had set out to locate a decorative glass exterior door, and, while there were tons of doors on the showroom floor, there didn’t seem to be lots of rhyme or reason to where they were placed. Likewise, I couldn’t find anyone to help me right away.

I circled the facility about ten times, noticing several offices around the perimeter of the store and an empty desk at the front of the store, but no one offered to help. There were a couple different groups of people talking around the store, but I couldn’t tell who worked there and who didn’t. Finally, I stepped into a random office around the perimeter and asked the lady sitting at the desk if there was someone who could help me find a glass door. She told me to visit the front desk. I told her there was no one there, and she said, “There should be,” and went back to work. I went to the front desk, this time somewhat frustrated, and waited, until finally one of the previous groups broke up and a gentleman, whose name I later learned was Tony (he didn’t have any type of badge or uniform), approached. Tony asked what he could help me with and I told him I needed a glass door, preferably decorative, for the exterior of my home. He pointed out one door made by Portrait and said, “There it is.” He then pulled out a Portrait catalog and advised that I could take it home and look through it and come back to tell him which one I wanted and he would order it. He also advised that the door has a ten-year warranty. I asked about the glass, and he said he wasn’t sure, but began to scan the catalog for an answer.

Any Options?
“Are there any other options?” I asked, wondering with such a variety scattered around the store why he’d only offer this one. “What about JELD-WEN or Andersen? I see those there and understand Andersen is a pretty well-known brand.”

“Well,” he said, “There’s KLM by Andersen, and I don’t know what your price range is, but those get pretty expensive.”

I asked what type of price range we were looking at, and he said that KLM by Andersen doors normally cost $3,000 and up. Still not having a good comparison, I replied “And what about Portrait? What’s its price range?”“$3,000 and down,” he replied, not offering any information other than that for which I specifically asked.

He didn’t speak to the JELD-WEN option and at this point I figured out that this was about all of the information I was going to obtain. I thanked Tony for the catalog, and asked a few more questions.

Special Delivery
Did they deliver? Yes, they did.

He also reminded me I’d need to stain or paint the door myself once it arrived. This is when Tony started to open up a bit, though. He then showed me a product that he would recommend I purchase with the door, FrameSaver® by Endura®. He explained that wood doors often endure a lot of water damage over time, especially as an exterior door. Tony said the product just costs maybe $10 to $20 over the cost of the door and is certainly worth it in the end.

At this point, my opinion of the shop really changed in an instant; Tony had gone from offering very little information to supplying me with an add-on option he thought would truly be worth it. I thanked him for his help, asked him for his name (at which point he gave me a business card) and went on my way, thanking him for his assistance. It turns out, he was just busy—but he really was helpful in the end, and for this reason, as you’ll see to the left, I give Stock Building Supply a B. 


Stock Building Supply
FACILITY TYPE: Building Supply
LOCATION: Fredericksburg, VA.

Store was Easy to Find A
Parking Lot was Clean A
Windows were Clean A
Greeted Upon Entering F
Store Aisles were Clear of Debris C
Neatness of Displays C
Employee Politeness A
Employee Appearance C
Employee Product Knowledge A
Store Experience Satisfaction C
Overall Grade B

A Excellent B Above Average C Average 
D Below Average F Unsatisfactory


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