For the consumer, shopping for outdoor shade options has often meant choosing among inexpensive outdoor products that fail to perform or ultra-expensive, budget-busting pieces. There is no middle ground and customers have been left hanging as they search in vain for outdoor accessories that are built well but don’t require a meeting with their financial planner.
It is with this struggle in mind that Cover Valet of Long Beach, California, is launching its new SHaDE line. Matt McMillan, director of sales and marketing for Cover Valet, says he sees a shift in the industry, as customers are looking for a wide range of outdoor-living products rather than just the hot tub.
The SHaDE line started with a 10-foot cantilever umbrella, which is now available. It was followed by a pergola and gazebo, released in September.
“Backyard living is where the industry is headed,” McMillan explains. “No one can just sell hot tubs alone anymore. The customer wants the whole backyard experience in one store. Backyard products have become a greater and greater focus for everyone in our industry. Anyone who is still only selling hot tubs is missing out on a great potential for multiple category sales.”
The 10-foot cantilever shade’s look and function are high end without the luxury price tag. “[It] is a combination of price and quality,” McMillan says. “Other 10-foot cantilever umbrellas are very inexpensively made or are as expensive as a new car.”
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The SHaDE umbrella rotates 360 degrees and can be tilted in any direction to block sun. Constructed of heavy-duty aluminum, the oval frame and rivets are made to maintain a long-term elegant look. The umbrella also has a powder-coated finish and uses Sunbrella fabric. Cover Valet says it’s simple to assemble and that all parts of the umbrella are serviceable.
Casting aside the typical pop-rivet assembly, which can be fragile, the SHaDE umbrella incorporates stainless-steel nuts and bolts and other high-quality details. To prevent the tears that often occur with umbrellas, Cover Valet has also added additional fabric along the edges.
“One of them has built-in retractable wheels so it can be easily moved,” McMillan says. “Another feature is the tilting mechanism, which is very user friendly.”
And for eager customers, there is little lag time between ordering and receiving: Most 10-foot cantilever umbrellas require four- to six-week lead times, McMillan explains. “We have identified the eight most popular Sunbrella premium fabric colors and offer them only on an in-stock basis,” he says, adding that there is only 24 hours’ lead time. “If a dealer makes a sale, this can be shipped the next day. This makes a great add-on sale to the hot tub dealer. It can be done while the spa is filling on delivery day.”
With the SHaDE line, McMillan is confident Cover Valet has a hit on their hands. “It is a perfect fit for the spa-side accessories category,” he says, “as we continue to see retailers look to add innovative and quality products that compliment the backyard experience.”