Friday, July 22, 2016

Business spotlight - Tommy Docks - By Michelle Libby

The lake house is ready, the boat is in the water, but what about a dock? Waterfront living is better with Tommy Docks created to the design specifications of the homeowner. Tommy Docks is not only a reliable, 30-year-old company, but it is a leader in reasonable dock pricing. The company expanded into Maine in 2010. 

Tommy Docks is based out of central Wisconsin, started by Tom Southers, who was looking for a dock for his home. He created a bracketing system that has made designing a dock easier.
“Whatever you want to do and with minimal work,” was how Tommy Docks sales manager Owen Jones described the company. The system does not use back plates and it doesn’t have five or six parts to do a corner, he said. 

The bracketing system used by Tommy Docks does not put weight on screws which could sheer off. The weight is put on the brackets cradled under the actual frame. 

Tommy Docks offers a variety of material choices to build an L-shape, T-shape or U-shaped dock. The traditional Tommy Dock is kiln dried cedar with navy blue bumpers, but options like aluminum or PVC decking provide a maintenance free dock experience. 

With 30 to 40 percent growth each year over the last 8 years, the company has expanded to offer ladders, dock bumpers, cleats, and waterproof LED lights. 

The company is sold in all states and can be found at the Windham Home Depot, as well as area Ace Hardware, True Value and online. The online option offers free shipping to the closest store.“They can order a full dock at the pro desk at Home Depot,” said Jones. The pro desk can help design what the customer is looking for. “That sets us apart,” Jones added. “We have the dock they want and what they need for their location.”

The company asks many direct questions to make sure the dock that is ordered is the correct one for the location. The type of dock changes based on the depth of the water, the floor of the lake, waves and what it will be used for. 

“For many it’s sort of a foreign thing. They say, ‘where do I even start?’” Jones said. 

Once a dock is purchased, Tommy Docks tries to stay in contact with their customers through social media and asking them to send in pictures to receive chances at prizes. 

“We are trying to save the consumers money and encourage them to get out there and have fun,” said Jones. 

Tommy Docks stands out because of their customer service. “They can call us and we’ll help them every step of the way, even help with other dock systems. It’s those kinds of personal touches that are unparalleled,” said Jones. 

Floating docks are available. Every customer has a unique system. One man has a five piece gangway out to a large platform built for stability. He uses the dock to get over a marshy area. 

“Imagination is your limit when it comes to design,” Jones said. 

Price conscious consumers look for these docks as they are the most affordable dock system with the same or better quality as the more expensive brands.   

Tommy Docks does not do installs, but certain dealers they work with do have dock installers. “The whole point of our system is that within about five minutes of reading the literature you’ll know how to do it,” said Jones. 

Prices for T-shaped docks range depending on the type of materials used. They can be $1,000 for a basic cedar system or the sky is the limit with a more elaborate dock.  

Everyone is price conscious today. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need the Cadillac or can I get by with the Honda?’” Both are well made, but the bells and whistles might vary, said Jones. “It’s cost effective and easy to do yourself. It goes back to the whole mission,” he added. Use the money saved to have extra fun, buy fireworks, use for gas for the boat. Have fun. 

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