November/December 2002

     Secret Shopper

Good-Looking Doors
Dealer Offers Wooden Doors Only
by Samantha Carpenter

SECRET SHOP In the last several secret-shopper articles, we’ve focused on window distributors. This month, I thought we should have a change of pace, so I decided to visit a door dealer in Memphis whose shop I’ve driven by many times.

This door dealership is about a 20-minute drive from my house. The shop is located in a two-story house, and being located close to the University of Memphis, it’s on an extremely busy street.

1. Were you greeted as you entered the store? 

I arrived at the shop at 10 a.m., and that was good timing because, according to the sign on the door, that’s the time the store opens. As I entered the building, a bell rang to notify the shop personnel that someone had come into the store. I was met instantly by the shop owner, and I told him I was interested in looking at his door collection.

2. On a scale of one to five, five being excellent and one unacceptable, rate the cleanliness of the store. 

A four. The showroom was set up in two rooms, was very clean and had a homey feeling, but was a bit crowded. The owner said I was welcome to take a look at the doors. I asked if he had any brochures, and he said that he had so many doors that he didn’t have time to put one 

To make sure that I wasn’t wasting my time, I asked what types of customers bought from him, and he said that he sells to builders, contractors and homeowners.

In the showroom, I only saw wooden doors, so I asked, “Do you just sell wooden doors?” He said, “Yes, I don’t get into fiberglass or steel. We do stain our wooden doors if that’s what a person wants and we have many choices of beveled glass. Most people like the beveled glass because they appreciate the light coming through; it’s not so dark.”

The owner then asked me what kind of doors I liked. I said, “I like the wooden doors; that’s what I have in my house now. I’m just looking for something different.” He asked me where I had shopped already, and I said, “I’ve only looked at Lowe’s and Home Depot, so I wanted to see what this shop carried. I haven’t been to any distributors, but I know that sometimes they don’t want to sell directly to the homeowner, only to contractors.” 

“Yes, a lot of lumberyards around town don’t want to deal with the onesies,” the owner replied.

3. On a scale of one to five, five being excellent and one unacceptable, how satisfied were you with the service you received from store employees? 

A four. I thought the owner of the door dealership was very likeable. The only funny thing about the experience was that I felt like he didn’t trust me to look around by myself. I felt as if he was really busy and needed to get back to making doors but wanted to service my needs at the same time.

4. Based on this experience, would you return to this store?

Based on this experience, and the other experiences I and other SHELTER staff have had, I would probably go back to this shop if I were serious about buying a wooden door, especially with beveled glass. I thought the doors on display were absolutely gorgeous. I could tell by all the catalogues and the fact that I didn’t see any name brands on the doors that the shop deals mainly with custom orders, so they would work with whatever style a customer liked. 

It was nice to have a good experience with a building materials professional, especially after Penny Beverage’s August secret shopper experience (see the September 2002 issue of SHELTER, page 16).

How Would Your Company Stack Up? Contact
and we’ll come secret shop your company.



Samantha Carpenter is the editor of SHELTER magazine.




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