Gotcha Covered settles into new home
Located upstairs at 39 Reid Street, Katherine Fisher just wasn’t getting the foot traffic she wanted in her Gotcha Covered Outdoor Store.
This summer’s heat didn’t help things.
“No one would come east of Burnaby Street when it was hot, and it’s hot five or six months of the year these days,” Ms Fisher said.
So in August, she moved her furniture showroom to 5 Serpentine Road in Pembroke to the same complex as PVC Windows and Doors.
“We moved here because there was no parking on Reid Street and,” she said. “Now we share spots with PVC, and we are at ground level, which makes a difference. It means there is a visual presence. The new shop is smaller, but we have made it work. And the rent is a little less money, which in this economy is very helpful.”
So far, things have been quiet since opening the new showroom.
“Everyone is away the month of August,” she said. “Then they come back and their focus is getting their children to school. Then Hurricane Humberto hit. But we are going to be all right. I think we will be doing a grand opening shortly.”
She said February is the time when people start to buy outdoor furniture in Bermuda.
“We also have a lot of people coming in at Christmas,” she said. “They might have moved or just arrived and something has happened and they need outdoor dining furniture. Our accessories, pillows and carpets can all be used indoors or outdoors.”
Ms Fisher has found that customers are looking for outdoor furniture that will last more than a year.
“Some of my competitors’ price points are great, but the furniture doesn’t last two years because they use powder-coated metal,” she said. “In the quality products they use aluminium. Our under frames are guaranteed for ten years, and some of the woven furniture, three to five years.”
But one of her struggles selling outdoor furniture is competition from the internet.
“The challenge is getting people to understand that shopping locally is important and my prices are very competitive,” she said. “Maybe a larger heavier item might be 5 per cent more. We are always evolving. We now carry a new line called Nardi which is a better price point.”
She first started selling outdoor furniture in 2016, three years after opening Gotcha Covered, a custom textile business. She’d been working in an IT job for a few years, but had some experience in upholstery from working in Canada years ago.
She opened Gotcha Covered looking for a way to combine her interests in technology and upholstery.
“The first three years was just cutting and sewing doing boats and custom covers and cushions and shade solutions,” she said.
She’s particularly passionate about the shade side of her business and believes the sun is “killing people”.
“This summer was the worst summer ever, I think,” she said. “Skin cancer is prevalent. I’ve had some on my own face.”
Shade solution clients include The Birdcage Lounge in Hamilton, WindReach Recreational Village and Saltus Grammar School, among others.
“Here in Bermuda, we are windy all the time, so you need a solution that is going to be good in the wind,” she said. “Our shade solutions don’t have to come down until the wind reaches 50 knots. Most times that’s maybe twice a year that it needs to come down.”
Ms Fisher also sells wind-abatement screens made from specially woven fabric that can block 95 per cent of wind.
“Whether it is Bermuda stone or block, the pressure is reduced,” she said. “That’s how these things are measured, not in knots or categories, but in the amount of pressure it can withstand. We can get up to 100lbs per square foot of pressure.”
Gotcha Covered has installed the screens in over 200 homes and apartments on the island.
When Hurricane Humberto lashed Bermuda with 120 miles per hour winds last month, her hurricane protectors were really put to the test.
“A number of people sent us Facebook messages, and referrals after the storm,” she said. “We had great success with hurricane protection we had installed at the Queen’s Cove Apartments in Pembroke, to the point where I am going to quote three more condos in there.”
Before Humberto, one client had Gotcha Covered protect four of his critical doors and windows. Things worked so well, he came back after Humberto and asked if Gotcha Covered would do all his windows and doors.
• For more information see www.gotchacovered.bm. Call 238-2628 for the outdoor living showroom or 232-2628 for their custom textiles shop
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