With May knocking on our doors and the promise of consistently warmer weather, homeowners thoughts are turning to that project they have been waiting to begin in and around their property.
Words of caution: Don’t wait! Businesses are eager to supply your home improvement needs, but planning in advance is advisable.
Dave Hornberger, owner of East End Lumber Co., 544 E. Third St., said anyone looking at a project this year should begin now. Because of the pandemic, there could be some supply chain difficulties and it may take longer to get certain products in stock, he said.
Although it presents challenges for East End’s retail and contracting business, Hornberger said consumers need to realize that “it’s not us.”
“It’s supply and demand. It’s lower production rates because of the factories being at lower capacity with employees. It’s just a snowball effect. The lead times for everything are stretched way out,” he said.
Even with the slower times, Hornberger wanted people to know that the important thing to remember is to think ahead and be patient, the product will be coming.
“People think, ‘Well, maybe in the fall I’ll put windows in the house.’ Now is the time to get them ordered so that they’re here and ready for the fall,” he said.
Likewise, Sonnette Harris, who along with Dwight Harris owns Bill’s Appliance Center, 2098 Lycoming Creek Road, said availability has become an issue that all businesses have struggled with over the past year.
“It’s getting a little better at times,” she said, adding that Bill’s will work with the customer to see that the order is fulfilled.
“We order and then if it’s a partial order that comes in, we can always warehouse. If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, like appliances, maybe some come quickly and some have to be backordered. We work with them in the warehouse until the order is complete,” she said.
Family-owned for 50 years, Bill’s offers major appliances for the homeowner and attributes their success to the service they offer.
“Top of the list is the service we do after the sale,” Sonnette Harris said. “And then, our people are knowledgeable about the products. If you need help with what you want, such as if it’s going to fit, if it’s going to do what you want, we do our best to help.”
Like other businesses, Elery W. Nau Inc., 917 Broad St., Montoursville, has seen an interest in customers seeking to improve their properties, particularly in the lawn and garden side, according to owner Gary Oechler.
“We have seen a big jump of people with interests because they’re staying home, or people planting and taking care of what they have,” he said, adding that Nau’s is ready and has stocked up to meet customers’ needs this spring.
“We offer a good variety of products, but probably the biggest thing we’re known for is the depth of our inventory, finding that hard-to-find item, and also our knowledgeable sales staff,” Oechler said.
“We have a very good plumbing department, an electrical department, hardware, paint and lawn and garden,” he said. “Those are our strengths.”
Another long-time community business, Overhead Door, 633 W. Third St., has been around since 1965. In 1985, they added Schrader Architectural Services to the business, according to Jack Schrader, who along with his wife Cindy owns the business.
Spring is normally a busy time on the residential side of Overhead Door, but Schrader admitted that there has been an uptick this year.
“The increased volume I attribute to people not being able to go on vacations or go out to dinners. I think they’re probably looking at each other and saying, ‘Well, we’ve been wanting to put new garage doors in for years and now that we have the money, let’s…do it,’” he said.
Schrader said he is very involved in the business, coming in every day, sometimes on weekends, insisting that he’ll do everything to make sure the customer is satisfied.
“Whatever it takes to make it right, that’s what we do,” he said.
For the homeowner looking to enhance their curb appeal, Mike Dewalt of Dewalt’s Greenhouse has stocked a vast array of perennial and bedding plants, hanging baskets, lawn ornaments and planters to meet the home gardener’s needs. And, of course the staff at Dewalt’s is always available to answer questions that clients might have about what types of plants to buy.
Established in 1983, Dewalt’s was originally in Elimsport, but relocated to Route 44 at Collomsville. Dewalt and his partner Rob Campbell run the business. A familiar face at the greenhouse, Dewalt’s mother, Margaret has been instrumental in planting, greeting customers and running the checkout and interacting with customers through the years.
With the shutdown last year and people spending more time at home, many turned to gardening to get outdoors and spend time outside their homes.
“Last year, in 38 years I have never sold out of tomatoes and peppers,” Dewalt said. “It was just a phenomenal year as far as people wanting to plant, to get back to gardening type things.”
With a few days of warm weather earlier this month, customers were anxious to visit Dewalt’s and see what was available.
“It was like a breath of fresh air,” Dewalt said.
“People just want to get out and basically kind of get back to what would be a semi-new normal for lack of a better word,” he added.
People keep coming back for that personal service that Dewalt’s offers.
“It’s the personal touch. Also it’s grown right here. We have 10 greenhouses. Almost all, 99 percent of the annuals and 70 percent of the preliminaries are grown in our greenhouses,” he said.
Anticipating another year like last year, Dewalt’s has added another greenhouse, increased their line of the growing in popularity succulents and cacti and stocked more pottery and crockery.
“I think we’re ready. They say plant it and they will come and last year they did,” he said.