Shelter from the Storm

Paradise Exteriors
Written by Claire Suttles

In Paradise we find shelter from life’s storms—literally in the case of the construction company Paradise Exteriors. The Boynton Beach, Florida based business specializes in premium windows, doors, and roofing to keep residents and their property safer during hurricanes.

Construction in Focus profiled Paradise Exteriors last year and has sat back down with COO Anthony Beckner this month to hear the latest news and developments. The team has had expansion on their mind and the company’s new Tampa branch is thriving. Opened in 2020, the new location is the first step toward ongoing growth.

“We were looking to expand our company and branch [out] to the rest of Florida,” Beckner says. “That is our overall long-term goal.” But the team doesn’t plan to stop there; they want “to be able to serve Florida and eventually Texas and all the places that require impact products to be protected from hurricanes. This was the first branch in that mission that we have.”

The new location expands the company’s service area from Port Charlotte in the south up to New Port Richey in the north and includes Sarasota County, Hillsborough County, and Charlotte County. “The branch is still fairly new so it takes a little time to build it,” Beckner says. “We’re still in the building stages of it, but so far it’s going very well and we enjoy being able to help and continue to grow our clientele in Florida and help them be protected from hurricanes.”

Running the new branch has come with challenges, however, primarily because the opening coincided with the pandemic. These challenges affected the entire business, and the impact continues to some extent to this day. “COVID has definitely put a strain on the home improvement industry,” Beckner says. One issue was the inability to interact with customers face-to-face, so the team had to learn how to reach customers in new ways. “The sales process during COVID, a lot of that turned into a virtual process where we were helping customers via Zoom calls to place an order for their project,” Beckner remembers.

A much more challenging problem has been the unreliable supply chain that coincided with the pandemic. “Typically we could get products within a few months, and then that was extended out to become six to eight months to get products, so that really changed the installation time for our projects,” Beckner says. “And the other big difference we’ve had since 2020 is the price increases from manufacturers. Some of our products have actually more than doubled in price since 2020, so there has really, really been a big change since COVID in our industry.”

Even though business slowed down considerably since 2020 and the company has been forced to operate with a smaller staff, the team remains optimistic. “We are seeing business start to pick up again,” Beckner says. “People are buying.” With housing prices and interests rates rising, homebuyers are eager to buy now and lock in a better deal and a lower rate, he explains. And, of course, these buyers want to protect their investment with protective windows, doors, and roofs, in case of hurricanes.

Another positive for Paradise Exteriors is that supplies have become more available after two years of shortages. “We’re definitely seeing that suppliers are starting to reduce their shipping times,” Beckner says. The team is also reaping the benefits of relationship building during the lean times. “One of the things that we have had to do through the COVID era and the price increases is to work with and create new relationships with the manufacturers in our area to be able to offer more product lines where we could get products faster and at a lower cost for consumers,” he explains.

The team continues to cultivate these relationships to help reduce shipping times and keep prices down in order to pass those savings on to customers. “We developed new relationships with manufacturers in our area that offer affordable options for consumers, [providing] premium product at an affordable cost, so it’s an economical solution during these times of inflation,” Beckner says.

Florida has been welcoming a steady stream of newcomers in recent years—and the construction industry stands to benefit. “Florida has been the number one state that people are moving to, so there has definitely been an influx of new homeowners,” says Beckner. Many of these newcomers are unprepared for the sky-high insurance premiums. “In Florida, insurance companies are continuing to raise their rates faster than any time in history, so we find that it’s very important to let these homeowners that are from out of state know how much they can reduce their insurance by protecting their home with impact windows and new roofs,” Beckner says. “It is very important to have your home protected with everything the insurance companies are looking for to protect their investment.”

With business on the rise, Paradise Exteriors is working to rebuild its staff. “We are finding that it’s becoming easier to hire talent than it was in the previous few years, so we are actively continuing to build our staff back up,” Beckner shares. The company prefers to promote from within, training, encouraging, and rewarding in-house talent. For example, the Sales Manager in the new Tampa office started out as a Sales Representative and worked his way up over the years.

As the team works to attract customers in today’s business landscape, they have learned that it takes a new approach to marketing. “We’ve found it has changed,” Beckner says. The company used to work with third parties who gathered customer data from online home improvement surveys and questionnaires. “But we found that their production has slowed, so we are working to build our internal resources and marketing team.”

One thing that has not changed is the team’s desire to give back. As a family company, Paradise Exteriors has deep roots in the community and the family is eager to make a difference. One way they do that is by providing Thanksgiving dinners with all the fixings for underprivileged members of the local community.

“Right now we’re in preparation for our fifth annual Turkey Drive,” Beckner says. The company is partnering with the local police department and community organizations to feed 150 families this year. Turkey Drive partners provide vouchers that are redeemed at Publix for a turkey and they compile 150 packages with side dishes to create a complete meal.

When considering the future, the team is eager to continue to rise above the challenges that have hit the industry in recent years. “For the business climate we’re in right now, we’re just focused on keeping our costs down with our suppliers and overall,” Beckner says. The team will continue to keep a close eye on rising interest rates and supply challenges. “We’re watching to see how everything works out, focused on these two offices now. And once everything starts picking up again, we look forward to moving forward with our mission and opening up our next office, which would be Orlando,” he says. “Once things start moving forward again where it looks like expansion makes sense, then that will be our move.”

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