The Deck Store Biography: Building an Industry Leader
The 1980s: Humble Beginnings
The legacy of The Deck Store began with its founder, Terry Fangrad. An analytical thinker with a salesman’s mentality, Terry began installing quality custom decks in and around the GTA in the mid-1980s and hasn’t looked back since. Through hard work and perseverance, he quickly became a leader in the industry and was instrumental in bringing composite decking materials to the Canadian market. Pressured by his customers for better quality, lower maintenance materials, Terry purchased a product called Trex from Mobil (yes, the oil company) and brought it to a jobsite in Mississauga in the summer of 1985; thus becoming the first decking contractor to build with composite materials in the country. Through seasons of weathering and use, this deck is still standing 28 years later, a testament to his quality construction and the longevity of the composite decking materials he used. Since then, Terry has gone on to build thousands of decks in Ontario and has been instrumental in raising the bar of both quality workmanship and durable materials in the decking industry. His philosophy of always “doing the right thing” has resulted in numerous repeat customers, referrals and positive reviews.
The early 2000s: Mississauga, Phase I:
In 2008, Terry opened The Deck Store’s first showroom in Mississauga, ON, the result of an industry-wide demand by customers looking to view and educate themselves on various styles of decking, railing materials and accessories all in one location. The concept was an instant success, and it wasn’t long before its notoriety spread among both consumers and builders alike. The Deck Store quickly gained a reputation for being the only place in Ontario where you could go to see samples of almost every material in the market, as well as get solid, helpful and honest advice from both Terry and his team. It was not unusual for potential customers to come in and literally spend hours browsing and chatting about products and designs, and Terry took great pride in making sure all prospects were well informed, prepared and comfortable before making any decisions related to their outdoor projects.
As the business progressed however, the showroom began to exhibit a couple of obvious drawbacks: location and exposure. Though the area it was in was sound, the ability to maximize its exposure to gain drive-by interest was lacking. Business was booming, and as The Deck Store’s customers increased, its room to house them shrank. Parking was becoming a challenge (as the building was shared with other tenants and businesses) and having the space to host delivery trucks and house merchandise was turning into an ongoing battle. Terry knew a solution had to be found…and quick!
2010: Oakville, Phase II:
In the fall of 2010, Terry and his Vice President Stan Weiland were driving along the QEW and spotted something that immediately piqued their interest. A realtor sign had been placed in front of a building overlooking this busy stretch of highway, easily visible to anybody passing by. Their curiosity prompted them to compulsively pull off the road for a closer look, and it was love at first site. The building was going to need a lot of work (which didn’t faze them because they were contractors), but the location couldn’t be any better and the potential was seemingly unlimited. Within minutes a call was made to the realtor to inquire about this perceived diamond in the rough, and not long after, the decision was made to make 454 South Service Rd W. in Oakville, ON the new, permanent home of The Deck Store.
Along with this move in location came a shift in the focus of the business. The Deck Store was already building amazing decks and providing great projects to their clients, but the market was becoming increasingly saturated with more and more companies quoting inflated pricing on inferior products and workmanship. Decking was a labor of love for Terry, and witnessing competitors taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers was frustrating. The expectations of his customers were starting to increase as a result, and fair pricing to temper these expectations was challenging. The Deck Store now had to consider an entirely new project budgeting strategy, and needed to stand out from local area builders using its fundamental principles.
While the company pondered this new direction, they also began to notice an increasing trend in customer purchasing; builders, contractors, landscapers and even homeowners themselves were gradually started to frequent The Deck Store for material purchases, choosing to do the work themselves rather than pay for labor costs. Most opted for this route because The Deck Store offered them a product selection they could not find anywhere else, but there was also demand not only for the materials themselves, but for qualified professionals who knew them inside and out. For competing decking companies, getting their hands on a customer’s material of choice wasn’t particularly difficult. But knowing what to do with it was another matter entirely. In fact, it was not uncommon for direct competitors to show up at The Deck Store with their pride in their hands, sheepishly admitting that they didn’t know how to work with the products their customers had selected. Taking all this into account, The Deck Store’s next plan of attack with an obvious one: turning themselves into Ontario’s premier retail outlet supplier.
Present Day: The start of an empire
Suffice it to say, this new business approach paid off for Terry and his crew, and with their increased retail presence came an increase in the distance customers and builders were willing to travel to buy supplies. The Deck Store was now starting to host interested parties from Niagara, Guelph, Toronto, Barrie and Milton, and business was at an all-time high. Always having his eye on the customer experience, Terry soon started thinking of new ways to appease the masses. He knew they were willing to travel to buy materials and gain industry knowledge…but should they have to? This idea soon gave way to several different opportunities, with the easiest solution ultimately being the best: it was time to expand operations.
Keeping his pilot store in Oakville fully operational, Terry decided that having a physical presence in other areas was key. The Deck Store now currently boasts locations in Oakville, Milton, Oshawa, Toronto, Stoney Creek and Ottawa. His Oakville headquarters is still be the hub of The Deck Store brand (and ultimately converted to assume both showroom and stockyard duties), but Terry could now also branch out into surrounding cities and exciting new territory.
What will the future hold for The Deck Store? Even Terry doesn’t know that for certain. But what he does know is that his home-grown brand will continue to churn out quality projects, new and innovative decking materials and industry knowledge for customers across Ontario for the foreseeable future.