23 Apr Dealer Spotlight: Coastal Installations Thrived in 2020, Despite Pandemic
(This article first appeared in the April 2021 issue of Dealer E-News.) 3M recently announced that Coastal Installations is the Southeast Regional Dealer of the Year. Coastal Installations has been installing 3M™ Window Film in South Carolina and Georgia for more than 22 years. The company experienced record growth in 2020, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Coastal Installations owner Dennis Fusco attributes his business’ success in 2020 to being diligent with safety protocols and communication with the public. “You can’t be rigid. You’ve got to be flexible with a small business,” Fusco said.
While his company initially closed its doors for six weeks following the initial COVID-19 announcements, Fusco said he adapted quickly to require frequent temperature checks of his employees, sanitizing equipment and requiring protection gear (glasses, booties, masks and gloves) for his employees. He also strategically communicated this with customers. By April 2020, he noticed the phone began to ring more and people were starting to allow his crews back into their homes for installations.
“People were receptive,” he said. “We made sure to publish on our communication channels all of the safety protocols that we were doing to ensure the public knew.” His team also ensured six-foot distances while working within the home to further instill trust. “We were setting new records each month,” he said.
Fusco said that he looked at COVID-19 as though it was just another challenge. In the 22 years since he opened his doors in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Coastal Installations has survived the Sept. 11 attacks, wars and a large economic recession. “One of the things 3M recognized was that we did this in a small market geographically. We experienced the highest in-home penetration of any dealer in similar sized markets,” he said.
Coastal Installations has been installing 3M™ Window Film on homes and commercial businesses since opening its doors in 1999. Fusco first got the idea while walking on the beach with his wife shortly after moving to Hilton Head from Connecticut. “I remember seeing the large homes with big windows. I said to my wife, ‘I think there’s a market here,’” he said. As a semi-retired general contractor, Fusco had intimate knowledge of the construction industry. “I approached operating Coastal Installations as a big business, not just a mom-and-pop operation.”
He lined his company up with 3M, the global leader in adhesive technology. No one company has worked with window film longer than 3M, which received the first patent for sun control films in 1966. Fusco knew he wanted to only carry 3M™ Window Film. “I went with the brand leader and it has opened so many doors for us,” he said. “There’s a big trust factor there on the part of the public. 3M is financially stable and carries the best warranty in the business. They make great products and they put money and years into research and development.”
Fusco’s operations grew quickly from Hilton Head to Charleston to Savannah. The business culture he has created emphasizes showing up on time, working quickly and efficiently and providing high quality customer service. He trains all of his employees, both in the classroom and on the job, on proper installation techniques and business etiquette. All of his installers have had a background check and security screening. Each job includes a foreman, and everyone is wearing uniforms and driving vans with the 3M logo on them. “We’re known as the 3M Group,” he said. “I’ve never been too concerned about the name of our business as long as people know us as the 3M dealer.”
The culture he has created is working as it relates to employee satisfaction. Five of his employees have been with him for more than 20 years each. He has a total of 13 installers. “It’s been a great ride,” Fusco said. “Running Coastal Installations has been very rewarding. We get a lot of respect from our clients because they appreciate us.”
For more information about Coastal Installations, call (800) 952-2725 or visit www.coastalinstallationsinc.com.