With a 7,000-square-foot showroom dedicated to outdoor living products, Seashore Ace Home & Outdoor Living is the go-to store for outdoor furniture, accessories, grills and more on the Jersey Shore. Located in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, Seashore Ace services customers with beach houses, vacation rentals and inland homes. Owner Jim Fisher says nearly 30 percent of his store’s sales are in outdoor living and barbecue. He shares his best practices for finding success in this category and navigating current supply chain issues.
Plan ahead and buy early. Seashore Ace has not escaped the supply issues most retailers are facing, with products taking five to six months to come in instead of the typical four to six weeks. To stay stocked during the busy season, Fisher orders early.
“A big part of our outdoor living department is special orders, so the supply chain issues are making it tough for us to serve our customers,” he says. “When we were preparing for the season, we bought more than twice during the early-buy period than we’ve done in the past because we want to make sure we’re going to have products available.”
For special orders, Fisher says employees have customers choose their fabric but also pick one or two backup fabric choices just in case their first choice is unavailable.
“Thankfully our customers are patient when we tell them there will be delays or we can’t get exactly what they’re asking for,” he says.
Provide plenty of options. The manufacturers Seashore Ace buys from offer a broad selection of product options to fit a variety of budgets, styles and needs.
“We have a lot of customers with homes right on the beach, so we look for products that are sturdy and can hold up in high winds,” Fisher says. “A lot of our customers also like the composite wood products for their look and durability.”
Most of the outdoor living furniture sold at Seashore Ace are a la carte pieces rather than sets because customers like to be able to create their own seating arrangements with different pieces.
Offer delivery and assembly. Fisher says delivery is crucial to his operation’s success.
“We own three trucks we use just for outdoor furniture, and they can do 20 to 25 deliveries in a day,” he says.
For best practices on merchandising and displaying outdoor living products, click here.