Elenbaum notes, “I had the opportunity to look at a few models that are similar to mine and was able to pick out some ideas that I thought were really great ideas. I certainly had the occasion to view some of my competition and see some of the areas that were not as effective—so we knew what not to do.” Specifically, Elenbaum states that a company in Denver, Colo. called Rocky Mountain Forest Products was instrumental in helping guide him to the business model that works for him today.
He also credits a distribution company that he previously worked with for helping him understand the manufacturing and distribution parts of the business, a rare opportunity and very educational. Moreover, he attributes the fluidity of his day-to-day operations to the employees.
“We have a great staff and they wear a lot of different hats. It’s been a bit of a challenge on how to get everything done, but it’s a good problem to have,” he says. Other obstacles that DeckStore faces sporadically are timely deliveries from distributors. “We depend on our distributors greatly to deliver to us,” Elenbaum explains. “Most of them do a great job, but there is occasionally a hitch that makes it more difficult for us to perform at the service level we promise and our customers expect.”
On the other hand, small operational hindrances hardly detract from the company’s philosophy of being the go-to resource for outdoor living.
“The whole category [outside living] has been a huge opportunity,” Elenbaum says. “People are spending more money on outdoor living spaces than they ever have before. What we’re doing to take advantage is to create a business where we cater to these customers and meet their needs, and we do it in a way that they’ve become accustomed to learning and purchasing.”
A Wide Breadth of Options
One of the most profound differences that set the company apart is its breadth of product offerings. Some lumberyards offer one or two colors for composite decking and sometimes do not stock additional accessories at all, Elenbaum says.
In contrast, DeckStore offers 30 different colors stocked from seven manufacturers in four sizes, plus trim accessories, connectors and an array of railing options. The strategic thinking behind this tactic is to show customers that the company is serious about outdoor living—and to demonstrate just how much DeckStore is devoted to it. The stocking and sales mentality is far removed from the standard inventory turn practice currently used in the industry. The sales approach is a level playing field for contractors based on loyalty rather than commission structure.