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Draper At Home’s Outdoor Shades Business Keeps Clients Cool & Protected for Entertaining

Suburban Atlanta-based GHT has been around since 1989 and in recent years expanded its footprint to include Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala. The company was founded as LaserDisc Industries, to give you an idea of how long GHT has seen the industry evolve.

These days, one of GHT’s hottest categories is outdoor shades. The company relies on Draper At Home for its specialty in exterior shades. With GHT’s latest evolution featuring outdoor window treatments, CE Pro asked GHT’s Eric Joy how Draper At Home’s outdoor shade solutions have helped his business grow as outdoor technology continues to be a strong opportunity.

How did you become a Draper dealer?

We tried another manufacturer [after an initial one didn’t work out] and we just kept on having issues. We were about to throw in the towel on the category just because going through two outdoor shade manufacturers not to satisfactory results.

And then we got invited to go visit the Draper facility up in Spiceland, Indiana — it was myself and another one from our team, a project manager that specifically handles all our interior shade projects, because that part of our business has exploded.

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We did a tour and were part of a hands-on — how to make these products work, how to install them, how they shipped, how they arrived. You could tell that it was important to their company how stuff arrives that it’s as straightforward for the installer as possible. Now, we’re many, many projects in.

Why did the outdoor shade category appeal to GHT?

Well, down here you can spend time outdoors pretty much year-round. We’ve been doing outdoor audio for a long time. The quality continues to expand. Beyond that, the outdoor TVs have gotten significantly better in performance, they’ve come down significantly in price.

A lot of those TVs are going on patios where we are putting in-ceiling speakers. We’ve got a lot of technology in this patio area and then another company is coming over to put in some motorized outdoor shades, but we’re expected to integrate that with our control system. So if we’re going to take the responsibility of what someone else is doing… well we’ve taken on the shades inside of the house, [outdoor shades] is probably something we should offer in-house.

What are the outdoor shade applications you typically address using Draper At Home solutions?

You want to think about what are the reasons you’d want outdoor shades. One would be just by dropping those shades, just like you can for the inside shades, it can drop the temperature by a matter of a handful of degrees almost immediately.

Cut down on the glare of the sun to make it comfortable in the summertime. Then there’s the times of the year where pests are more prone — if I don’t have a piece of material to keep them out, they’re going to be all over my back patio.

The fall season here in Georgia — most of our clients have wooded back lots, so once those leaves start to go falling, being able to keep the leaves out it turns into useful space for so much more time of the year. Even in the coldest months, you do a combined shade system with patio heaters.

Do you include Draper At Home shades on resimercial/commercial projects?

Particularly down in Florida, on the restaurant side you want to eat outside with the view of the bay or the oceanfront. But then those sporadic rainstorms come in — and you never know when — rather than what they typically do now rolling down those cheap, plastic/vinyl coverings now you just hit a button and boom, you’ve got shades that come down and protect the entire area.

How does Draper at Home support you in closing a sale or completing a project?

They have been there to answer questions when our team was on site, tech support is very easy to get a hold of. They have been onsite with us for installs — our first couple of projects just to make sure our guys know what they’re doing, Not to come in and do it for us but top make sure that this team is capable with all of the steps.

Shades has gone from a category where we used to do zero and now it’s brought up in the discussion to everybody. We’ve also brought it up with our service technicians because we have thousands of clients and when you go to do a service call, remind us of what your patio’s like in the backyard and maybe there’s a place for some shades.

Learn more about Draper At Home at www.draperathome.com.

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