Walter "Reds" Ferris and his wife Kelley didn't need a demographic study to decide where to put their new $2.57 million Ferris Home Improvement Store. They bought a lot next to a 5-year-old WaWa.
"WaWa is a tried and true proven company and for them to be 100 feet away means the traffic pattern is correct for them, which means it's correct for me," Ferris said. "I'm not reinventing the wheel."
The Ferrises moved up from a 400-square-foot showroom in Stanton to their new 8,000-square-foot one at Kirkwood Highway and North Harmony Road. The warehouses at both spots are 3,000 square feet, but the new showroom provides room to display several full-sized kitchens plus doors, windows, siding and gutters.
Dozens of roof tiles are displayed on an indoor roof overhang, and the newest siding choices like fiber cement board cover one interior wall. The displays had their roots in ideas from employees, from Reds Ferris and from his wife Kelley, a graphic artist who told him "your logo sucks" when they were dating.
"This has been a learn-as-you-go. We're just two regular people who work hard enough to stay ahead of the curve," Reds Ferris said. "Our employees are family here, and we take what they say to heart. They know our customers. We've steered our company by what they say."
"Making this move really gave us the flexibility to show off more high-end products," Kelley Ferris said. "Now you can actually touch and feel them and picture what they would look like in your house."
The move also gave the 13-year-old business space to order factory direct so they can go up against the local big boys like P.J. Fitzpatrick, G. Fedale and Power Windows and Siding. Ferris' gross sales were just over $7 million in 2016, he said, and he's hoping to bump that up to $10 million this year.
The Ferrises and their more than 100 employees and contractors didn't just move into the old Persian Carpets building. As you might expect from a home improvement company, they tore the aging building down to the walls and floors first.
"I pulled every piece of electric out of here. It was all in violation. They hadn't done anything in here in years," Reds Ferris said. "There's no windows and doors left. Every light bulb in here is LED. We put in new HVAC. Double-pane windows. This is set up to run for the next 40 years."
Ferris said he's hired so many people that he ran out of offices before the store opened on April 1. He had to take back 2,000 of the 32,000 square feet he leased to Pike Creek Mortgage so he wouldn't outgrow the store he hadn't opened yet.
Ferris cut his advertising budget to pay for the building, but he said his customer call volume has jumped since the move as passersby notice the new black and green building with the eye-catching oversized shamrock logo on the front. "Having a showroom on a major highway gives us a leg up on the competition," he said.
Having paid $1.82 million for the building and sunk just over $750,000 into renovations, Reds Ferris said he feels confident they've made a good move.
"The two of us are betting on ourselves," he said. "Anyone who starts a business, you're betting on yourself. I'm doubling down."