DERRY — A showroom and sales center for Tuff Shed in Derry recently celebrated its grand opening, enabling the company to sell directly to consumers out of the main Northeast hub facility.
Since the spring, the facility has been producing sheds for Home Depot stores, and installing the sheds through about seven independent two-man contractor teams.
“The factory has been in production, producing sheds and installing sheds since March (or) April,” Tuff Shed General Manager Jeff Sawyer told the Union Leader.
The Derry facility supplies 93 Home Depots in five New England states with sheds, and has produced and installed more than 500 since it started. (Connecticut is supplied by a production facility in Long Island, N.Y.)
The new showroom features six indoor displays and a sales center. Right now, the business is planning on installing a large outdoor display with 15 different varieties of sheds.
Sawyer said he’s already seen an uptick in sales from local residents in the community visiting the facility at 56 Kendall Pond Road.
“It’s been steady,” Sawyer said. “The business has been great really, better than expected.”
Sawyer said the business currently has over 15 production staff members, eight area sales managers, six office staff members, two delivery and warranty technicians and three field managers in Derry. Next spring, the business plans on expanding further and may be looking to hire between 12 to 20 more people.
“Our business is going to explode next season,” said Regional Manager Mike Fritz.
The team is also still working to bring on more independent contractors for the installation work.
Tuff Shed provides all the Home Depot sheds in the country after the acquisition of USA Sheds last year, which made possible the company’s recent expansion into the Northeast.
A Tuff Shed call center in Portsmouth recently moved to a new location in Greenland, and some of the office staff originally located in Portsmouth were consolidated at the new hub facility in Derry, according to Fritz.
He said the call center, which currently serves the whole East Coast, has a staff of about 14 people and can accommodate up to about 25. It will grow commensurate to sales growth, he said.
A second call center in Dallas serves the whole Midwest and West Coast, Fritz said.
In New England, the company is building a new showroom facility in Portland, Maine, and is looking for retail locations on the New Hampshire Seacoast and in Massachusetts south of Boston, according to Fritz. It also wants to replace a distribution center in Connecticut with a retail and distribution combo facility.
Production facilities have also been set up in Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, Fritz said.
Sawyer said he was hired by Tuff Shed in February, after working for Home Depot for the last 16 years, most recently as store manager in the Greater Boston region.
He said he brings with him experience with customer service and partnering with independent contractors, but he said the close relationship between Tuff Shed and Home Depot doesn’t necessarily lead to a lot of employees to move from one company to the other.
Sawyer said about 50 people attended the ribbon cutting ceremony last month, including state Sen. Regina Birdsell. He said it was a great event and a good opportunity to get connected with the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.