DC-area locals love to shop at farmer’s markets. We have our suits tailored at a locally-owned shop in Georgetown, savor our wings at Duffy’s, and we chill out at Politics and Prose. We’re local to the core. Why, then, do so many insist on going with major nationally-owned franchises for their custom closet systems? The loudest voice in the marketplace may often be the vendor that receives the most business—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best product and benefits to offer their customers.
And of course, the benefits of buying local are less obvious if you’re not already a locavore. But from making a real connection with your design company to reducing your cost and carbon footprint, buying local is definitely your best choice. When you could have the best sausage in the world from Ben’s or Meats and Foods, you’ll never want to settle for a generic Sonic hot dog again—and the same goes for your closets.
Local Closet Companies Make a Personal Connection
The truth of the matter is, customer service is usually better at local, independently-owned companies. Studies have shown again and again that customers prefer working with businesses that have a small-town feel—choosing Ace Hardware locations or Logan Hardware over a Lowe’s or Home Depot, for example—and locally-owned companies have the best shot at this atmosphere. The custom closet industry is no different.
When you choose a local closet company, you enter a working relationship with someone who lives in your area, understands your local concerns, and who isn’t trying to keep up with national sales quotas. You actually have a chance to build a relationship with the person who designs your closet, the person who owns the company, and the person who installs your finished product. Having a relationship with your local closet company allows you to:
Call their personal phone number. If you need advice for a new project, want to reschedule your design appointment, or have another business inquiry, you’ll easily be able to reach the person you need. You’ll dial a local number and speak with a real human, instead of sitting through an impersonal (and seemingly endless) automated phone menu.
Ask for help. Later on in the lifetime of your closet system, you’ll still be able to interact with the same staff that you met in the beginning. Let’s say you need repairs or alterations to your closet system at some point in the future. With a local company, you will be far more likely to work with the same management team.
Have their full attention. Nothing is worse than wandering around a big-box store and being totally unable to find an employee to help you. When staff members genuinely strive for excellent customer service and aren’t burdened with national protocol, they can devote as much time as your project requires. Local closet companies will have the time to answer all of your questions and create a product that’s right for you.
When you choose an independently-owned company, you’ll be in the room with a real DC-area local. Also in that room (and around your city) are real-life examples of the work that they do every day.
See Results in Person with a DC-Area Company
If you’ve been working with a big franchise, you’re probably used to seeing their marketing materials. Their website is plastered with pictures of unbelievably chic closets, the biggest pantries you’ve ever seen, and master closets built into second bedrooms. It’s all very impressive, of course, but if you’re actually looking to invest in a custom closet, you want to see some real examples of the company’s work.
Not all of these big franchises have a showroom in your area—and if they do, they tend to be on the smaller side and with the same kind of displays you could find at your local big-box store. When you go with a local company, you actually get to see their work in person. A local showroom is the first place to go if you want to see a big selection of the designs that a company has created. And ideally, that location will be within less than an hour’s drive from your home (avoiding all traffic on I-495, of course).
You also get the benefit of seeing examples of the company’s work in your everyday life. Maybe your neighbor got their master closet remodeled by this company last month, and you got to walk through the finished product. You may have seen the company vehicles around town, renovating spaces in homes that look like yours. Maybe you’ve even had friends who are loyal customers of the brand.
Don’t rely on Pinterest boards and a big franchise website any longer. When you choose to partner with a local closet company, you get to see their work in person—and you also get to save a bit of cash on your finished closet.
Local Companies Can Keep Prices Low
Big franchises have an advantage when it comes to publicity. But national recognition costs a pretty penny—which tends to increase your cost as a consumer. DC-area professionals in particular are very aware of how costs tend to shift as far away from the center as possible. Additionally, there are plenty of other costs that factor into the final check you might write to a major custom closet franchise:
A big franchise comes with big bills. But when you buy local, most of your money goes toward a really high-quality product that you will live with in your home for years to come. Better yet, if your local company of choice does all of their work in-house, you also save a bundle on manufacturing and contracting fees. Your local area will also benefit from the jobs you’re supporting and from the environmental savings you’re helping to secure.
Support Your Local Community and Environment
If you need one more reason to buy local, it really helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Just like “food miles,” when you buy locally, your closet travels far fewer miles to get to you, and rests in far fewer air conditioned warehouses. From start to finish, buying local saves a lot of fossil fuels—even when you’re buying a custom organization system.
With a smaller, independently-owned company, you also have the opportunity to support an organization that believes in creating a more sustainable future. You can find out a lot more about an independently-owned company’s policy on environmental waste than you can from a large franchise that’s legally bound to not disclose any “political” beliefs.
At the same time, you actually get to see what your local company is doing in your area as far as service is concerned. If giving back to your community is important to you, then you have the ability to choose a company that’s doing their part. Unlike with the larger franchises, you will be able to see exactly which causes they’re supporting with their time and donations.
Buying your closet from a locally-owned vendor may be the best decision you can make for your home. Not only do you have a shot at getting a superior product and excellent customer service, you may also get a lower price and a more sustainable business partnership.
Looking for a local closet company in the DC-Baltimore metro area? Closet America can provide you with the high-quality customer service experience of a small town, independently-owned company. In fact, we’ve been winning awards for years for exactly that. We’d love to show you the difference a local company can make. Sign up for your free design consultation with one of Closet America’s design experts to get your custom organization project off the ground.
Lead image source: Unsplash user Brandon Mowinkel
Second image source: Flickr user perzon seo