Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 25

Today, Jamie is a part owner and QuadriButterfield's business partner. She is also
proud of the fact that she brought her
husband into the business after injuries
from a car accident forced him to dissolve
his contracting company.
"It's my family business," she says.
"It's who I am."
A COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMERS
A typical day at Al's Awning Shop begins
with Quadri-Butterfield greeting each
employee (the company has eight employees, plus additional summer installation
staff). "Every day is a business meeting.
And every day is about production, and
every day is about accomplishment."
After check-in, she moves on to
following up with customers, balancing
the books and marketing tasks. For
example, earlier this year, the company
released an advertising jingle that David
Quadri had always wanted.
"And then, I make sure that we're still
growing, and ask, what did we miss? I like
to read something new. Whether it's in the
government, the industry or just local, I
try to see what's happening in and around
my community all the time. Knowing
what's going on and staying focused.
And literally repeat that every day."
Having grown up attending Canvas
Products Association Zone 7 conventions
that felt more like family reunions,
Quadri-Butterfield appreciates the industry
connections through IFAI that allow her
to reach out to mentors. Thanks to advice
from other awning professionals, she has
made recent and significant changes to
Al's Awning showroom. For years, the
showroom was, in her words, "stuck."
"We had the same carpet in the
showroom for 25 years. So we tore the
carpet out," she says. "We put up awnings,
we put up things that go on people's
houses. Previously, we didn't actually have
awnings on display because our showroom
was our office space. You came in and

picked out a book and we showed you
photos, and that was it. Now we have a
50-inch TV. It shows a slideshow, it shows
testimonials, we can go to our YouTube
channel. That sounds so bizarre to me, but
I do have a YouTube channel. We have a
Sunbrella® showcase front and center. All
the products we have available are now
displayed in our showroom. We actually
showcase our product."
The equipment and technology have
changed, the showroom has changed, and
the generations have changed. But the core
lessons Quadri-Butterfield gleaned from
her father haven't changed.
"The number one thing that my father
did was make sure his customers were
taken care of," she says. "That's the same
thing that we want to do. We want to make
sure our customers are taken care of."

What do you wish your
customers understood
about your product?
The versatility of awnings.
That there's more out there than just a
retractable awning and an umbrella. That
awnings can do more than just provide
shade. They create a room, they create
a space, they create a staycation at your
home. I go home every night and I can't
wait to sit under my awning and have an
ice-cold beer, a glass of wine with my
family and friends, and relax under my
awning. This is my space. How can anyone
not have an awning on their back patio?
How can you have a patio and not have
it covered by Al's Awning Shop?

Jill C. Lafferty is associate editor of Specialty Fabrics
Review and senior editor of InTents magazine.

www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 25


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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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