“If I had given them concrete numbers” on a project offer, he said: “I would have lost my shirt,” he said – one that bears the name of his company.
Scanlan said the push intensified last fall, shortly after he, Ray Kegley and Scanlan’s son-in-law, Dustin Gray, began rehabilitating the Fountain Avenue building that now houses the Firefly boutique and the Pretzel company.
“Within the next month (coronavirus) broke out…trying to get our hands on anything” seemed impossible, he said. “On a construction site, I waited 18 weeks on a garage door.”
The black metal framing of the display cases “took 13 or 14 weeks” to arrive, and “we couldn’t get windows because a lot of (store workers) were away (with Covid) and help from office would arrive at night” to build them.
Then, the waiting time for subcontractors joined the trend.
“We deal with many small entrepreneurs (with) 5-7 people in their group,” he said. “We couldn’t find plumbers for 10 days. The same thing happened with our electrician.
And when there was wood to knock, it seemed horribly expensive.
Plywood, once $13 a sheet, mounted a SpaceX rocket at $65 a sheet. The two-by-fours, which cost $2.35 before the pandemic, have soared to $8.99.
“And I got a letter on Monday saying the concrete is going up $8 a yard” for a total of $175, Scanlan said.
Amidst it all, he called the Paycheck Protection Plan a “godsend.” “Two-thirds of our employees caught Covid, and we paid them for the two weeks they were away. Longer than that sometimes.
Despite a 10-day shutdown and erratic wait times, Scanlan crews finished their Fountain Avenue project just a month later than planned – but with some mental wear and tear along the way.
“In our profession, we always try to get ourselves out of a job; we’re trying to get things done,” Scanlan said. “And when we’re just sitting there, it’s nerve-wracking.”
Costs are now moderating, he said, but “the world is different”.
His feeling is that “we are way too dependent on China” and “need to start producing things in the United States again so they don’t just sit on a boat in the ocean.”
And the arrival of spring introduced a new fly into the company’s ointment: some of its equipment had been ordered from Russia.
This kind of issue “is just going to become the new norm,” he said. “Things are going to go wrong. »
Thankfully, there was some good news on Tuesday as our interview ended with Scanlan announcing that “I do I have to meet a plumber here shortly.
This significated :
1. He was able to locate a plumber.
2. That he had not been in a hospital.