The big-box retail experience can leave much to be desired.
The feel, for starters, is like you’ve stepped foot into a massive cave.
The nearest employee who can provide help is located half a city block away.
And it’s very likely not owned by anyone local to your community, let alone local to British Columbia or Canada.
Windsor Plywood on Marine Drive is the antithesis to those big-box shortcomings.
“The catchphrase we like to use is ‘No customer leaves our store without us knowing what their project is, big or small,’” explains store owner Thane Pipes. “We greet you with a hello and wish you well on your project as you leave.”
The store was a long-time fixture in the Fairview Slopes/Kitsilano neighbourhood for decades, but has recently moved to 1098 Southwest Marine Dr., between the Oak Street and Granville Street bridges.
Locally owned, locally staffed and equipped with local knowledge – this is the Windsor Plywood way.
So, whether you’re looking for slight updates or want to totally transform your home, here’s how the Windsor team stands apart as the experts you need to know to get the job done right.
There is a personal touch that helps set Windsor Plywood on Marine Drive apart from a sea of competitors.
For starters, all staff members are trained on quite literally every in-store task, whether it’s driving the forklift or answering phone calls. These staff members represent decades of institutional knowledge that simply can’t be gleaned overnight – what’s between the ears is as important as the product itself.
“We take great pride in helping our customers because we’re a knowledge resource as well as being a business,” Pipes says. “I enjoy hearing about all the different projects people are working on and I’m always excited to see pictures and hear about finished projects from our customers.”
Variety of products
Known primarily as an interior finishing store, the Windsor Plywood on Marine Drive location has numerous options to make your project sing: lumber, renovation materials, interior, exterior and glass doors, moldings, flooring, hardwood lumber, live edge and more.
“We have a full basket of goods to do all the interior finishing with the buying power of over 65 stores to make our prices competitive for all interior finishing needs,” Pipes says. “We try to bring in the most recent, cutting-edge product as possible.”
Windsor’s new location has abundantly more space, which is used to show and display the higher-end finishing materials available to the consumer: interior and exterior doors, flooring, hardwood lumber, hardwood plywood and moulding.
The new space also accommodates Windsor’s custom door shop—which provides everything you could need to install a new door, as well as all the necessary gear, including lock sets, hinges, shims and door stops— and offers a new Idea Centre, where customers can come to see and touch the products.
If you’d rather not take on the DIY project, that’s okay, too. Windsor Plywood offers installation and complete door shop services, including pre-hanging, drilling and mortising for hinges and knobs, as well as installing glass. If you need help installing the door, their team is happy to recommend a trusted local contractor.
Custom sizing is also available, with the team at Windsor able to help you by machining a new door to fit your existing door jamb.
Exceptional customer service
Windsor Plywood’s customer base runs the full gamut, from contractors to homeowners to hobbyists and everyone in between.
The hobbyists in particular came out of the woodwork – pun intended – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These are people who are new to building and new to the experience of creating something with their hands. They’re after turning blocks, epoxy inlays and determining which type of wood works best to fill out their vision.
Admittedly, it can be a bit intimidating for some who’ve never been the DIY types in the past.
“For us, it comes down to empathy and understanding with the newer hobbyists,” Pipes says. “We’re locally owned and operated and we are empathetic to the community. That means we hire people who have a mindset that is interested in the community that they live in.”
Spring is an ideal time to take advantage of timely offerings and MOSO bamboo products are a an excellent decking option this season.
“That’s something we’re very excited about this spring in terms of bamboo decking,” he says. “This is a decking that’s as hard as any wood, more stable than most woods, and it’s environmentally sound, renewable and sustainable. It makes for fantastic decking material for the spring.”
For all of your finishing and renovation needs, visit Windsor Plywood.