A cherry deal

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You may recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d found a good source of lumber far better than the big box stores. Incredibly, I just found another.

Because I live in a small town, I was surprised to find a second source that fit my needs. And as a testament to how “real” hardwood dealers work as compared to the big box stores, it was that first source I’d discovered a few weeks ago who recommended the second.

I needed to get about 30 bf of good cherry for a project and had gone to source #1 to get it, but I needed it in larger widths than what he carried. He checked his racks, but when he found that he didn’t have it he cheerfully recommended the name of the second source. He even gave me the phone number off the top of his head, which tells me this wasn’t the first time he’s sent customers to someone who is certainly a competitor of his.

My new source turned out to be a large, local custom cabinet shop that also deals in lumber. The manager greeted me and when I told him what I needed he personally took me through the stacks till we found one containing the boards I needed. They were buried, of course, but he didn’t hesitate to fire up the fork lift and dig it out. He then helped me sort through the stack to find the best boards for my needs. When it came time to pay up, he noted that because he’d noticed two of the boards had some undesirable checking on the ends, he knocked 10 bucks off the total.

Surely, I must be small potatoes for this guy, and yet he treated me like a big spender. He asked what my project was and about what other kinds of things I make and seemed genuinely interested. Then, once we had my car loaded up he walked me around to show me what else he had in the warehouse in case I saw anything I might want for future projects. Clearly, he was hoping that I’d become a regular customer. Just as clearly, I’m sure that I will. You just don’t get that kind of treatment at the big box stores.

I don’t mean for any of this to sound like I’m trashing the boxes because I’m not. They have their place in the economy and I’ll continue to shop at both the orange one and the blue ones in my area – in fact, I just dropped about $50 at one of the blue ones yesterday for some yard-care stuff. But when it comes to customer care and really finding exactly what you need, you just can’t beat the local retailers.

Till next time,

A.J.

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