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Mission: Make A Lot of Saw Dust

 
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Stepping out on the front landing of Mast Store’s worldwide headquarters, you’ll hear what sounds like millions of bees droning away in their hives. On occasion, there’s a decidedly metal sound amongst the whirring, and then it might be followed by a loud crack or two. That’s the sound of a new “old” location coming together. This week we’re taking a look behind the scenes at preparations for opening our store in Roanoke.

Maintenance TeamJust down the hill from the main office is an unassuming Quonset hut. That’s where all of those sounds are coming from and where a very talented team is at work building, repairing, and rebuilding fixtures for Roanoke. Terry, the maintenance supervisor, has his hands full coordinating the construction of the pieces needed to set the floor and the tone in a new location, as well as overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of 12 operating locations (those numbers include the home office and Rivercross, our sister store in Valle Crucis). He says that the members in his department have to be nimble “because, day to day, you just don’t know what’s going to happen when most of your buildings are at least 50 years old.” **Scotty is not pictured.

The Mast Store Maintenance Team is made up of six members, and they take care of everything from repairing loose boards in the floors to restoring antique display cases. Their goal is ensuring our guests have a safe and memorable visit at each of our locations.

This Becomes ThatSo, what does it take to bring a location back to a point where it will welcome guests? That also involves our “store whisperer,” Jeff. He’s done a little bit of everything at the store – worked as a sales associate and a department manager; he did paste-up for the catalog way back in the 80s; he’s designed, redesigned, and reworked fixture models; and now he listens and interprets the stories that buildings are sharing with us. Jeff has the innate ability to walk into a building that the rest of us question as “is that safe?” and come out with a grand plan that brings it back to its heyday. Working closely with the maintenance and buying teams, they carefully determine the number of wall cabinets, hurdles, four-ways, spinners, jewelry displays, wrap stands, and register covers needed to tell the next story for our newest family member.

StainingIn Jeff’s mind, Roanoke is already mostly complete. That’s where Bobby and James come in – they spend most of their time in the shop. With James moving into his new position of shop foreman just three months ago and Bobby joining the team only two months ago, there’s some “newness” to the woodshop. James said, “Our main job is to make a lot of noise and sawdust.” They are doing a great job of it! Between the two of them, they build, paint, stain, refurbish, repair, develop, test, and produce all of the display and wall units in the stores.

As foreman, James is in charge of ordering all materials to build or repair fixtures, wall units, sign holders, etc. He works closely with Jeff and Linda, who is in charge of visual merchandising for the stores, on needed store displays and with Terry for overall maintenance needs. James and Bobby's days often include lots of unscheduled needs, but their primary focus right now is building wall units and displays for Roanoke. A local high school student, Lane, has been helping with sanding, staining, painting, etc. before heading back to school in a few days.

To give you an idea of the scope of the project, check out this partial list of what is needed for the Roanoke opening: 90 fashion wall units, 45 mercantile wall cabinets, 85 fashion/outdoor hurdles, 20 wire grid hurdles, 38 sets mercantile hurdles, 120 sign holders, 10 cash register covers, 8 cash wrap stands, 15 sets nesting tables, plus rock and incline boards for shoes, shoe-fitting benches, preparing the candy barrels, etc. This is a partial list of the build out, and, as James added, "We have to keep up with our current store needs, too."

The remaining members of the Maintenance team – Scotty, Rick, and another James – are integral to a smooth-running operation. You might see Scotty and Rick when you come in to shop, but they do their best to stay out of your way while they, as Scotty said, “tear something out so we can build something back.” As the opening date for Roanoke gets closer, Scotty and Rick will spend four days a week installing cabinetry, painting, and positioning wrap stands.

Our second James is the lead maintenance tech, and his focus is on preventative maintenance. With his regular trips to store locations and the home office, he checks fire extinguishers to make sure they are in proper working order, changes AC filters, and fixes small things that could become big problems from a safety perspective. He’s also on call for problems that happen after hours when emergencies might arise. For instance, he was first on the scene to help mitigate flood waters at the Annex during a recent heavy rainstorm. Oh, and did we tell you that he’s also Terry’s brother?

As the opening date gets closer, we’ll share more about the Heironimus Building and all the interesting and fun things to see and do around Roanoke. We truly believe that our new location will be a shining star that you’ll enjoy visiting.