Why Buying Local on Cape Cod Really Makes a Difference

Mid-Cape’s Orleans location in the 1940s

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Looking to renovate, redecorate or make changes to your home? The entire process can be overwhelming, but buying locally ensures you’re in good hands. From the initial conversation, you’ll find that locals have a deeper level of knowledge than you’ll see at big box stores. 


If you’re shopping for items you’re using in the homebuilding process, it’s not a great idea to value price over quality. Inexpensive websites or big chains often don’t provide the same guarantees or offer effective customer service.


By buying locally, you’re not only supporting local businesses whose owners and employees live and work on the Cape, but you’re also interacting with people who have a vested interest and an expansive knowledge of Cape Cod our coastal environment.


Jim Baker, Lumber and building materials buyer, began working at Mid-Cape Home Centers in 1969, joining 6 other family members who were employees. Now his son, Jon, is a third generation employee. Baker says throughout his career at Mid-Cape he’s seen a lot of changes.


“As is the case today, the local lumber yards then were family owned, independent businesses often generations old. The old-time yards, usually located in the center of town with rail road sidings (now known as bike paths), supplied not only lumber but coal, feed, grain, and cement as well as any other product the community needed. As product needs and the needs of the community evolved so has Mid-Cape Home Centers. From shipping freight cars of dog houses to helping support the military during World War 2; to one of the first New England suppliers of western spruce framing material in the 1960’s; to always be at the forefront of innovative new building products, Mid-Cape continues to strive to be the supplier that builders, architects, and home-owners as well as our community can count on,” said Baker.


That deeper product knowledge is essential when you’re buying home building supplies for houses on Cape Cod. Many of the houses are older historic homes, not cookie cutter models. The folks at Mid-Cape Home Centers know Cape Cod homebuilding inside and out. “We have worked with suppliers developing specific exterior trim and sidewall options to withstand the harsh climate of southeastern Massachusetts. We have established long-term relationships with top-quality lumber and plywood manufacturers who know the quality we require,” said Baker.


That high level of expertise combined with a custom millwork shop means that specialty lumber and windows needed for historic homes on 6A won’t be a problem.  Have you ever phoned a customer service call center and spent the first 5 minutes explaining your situation and account history to the representative? Buying local takes away impersonal faceless communication. Local businesses are often smaller businesses. It’s not surprising to learn that many owners of local businesses on Cape Cod are on a first name basis with regular customers.


At Mid-Cape Home Centers, contractors are assigned a team of representatives. It makes a big difference to speak to someone who knows your business and understands your project. Jeff Baroni of Custom Crafted Homes said, “Everyone at Mid-Cape is trying to help you do better. They stand by you. Some employees know pretty much everyone that comes in by name. You just can’t buy that. It’s personal.”


With a majority of its revenue coming from contractors, both big and small, many of whom have been loyal customers for decades, Mid-Cape Home Centers remains indebted to its professional building clients. With this gratitude in mind, the company has continued to dedicate itself to maintaining strong working relationships with its contractors, and a key part of this is finding agreeable solutions when things don’t go as planned.


The relationship Mid-Cape Home Centers has with contractors goes beyond that of simply being another customer. Mid-Cape constantly looks to tailor their inventory based on feedback received from contractors. “Shopping at Mid-Cape has a sense of fellowship as our employee’s share in its customer’s interests and community. Massive aisles can be overwhelming, so one of our goals is to offer brands of products that are known for their high quality, performance and value. We can build a rapport with our customers by educating them on good, better and best qualities for their needs,” said Bruce Clark, Hardware and Paint Buyer for Mid-Cape Home Centers.”


Rene Lessard-Reiss previously worked in customer service at Sears and Best Buy. She now requires a greater level of commitment from her service team at Mid-Cape in Orleans. “I don’t want someone that’s just going to ring up a sale or put something in the computer—they have to be able to build a relationship and make customers feel welcome, because that’s what keeps people coming back,” said Lessard-Reiss. “Relationships and customer service are two of our core values and its important that our team members share these values and demonstrate them to enhance the customer experience.”


The personal service you receive at a local business takes place at every level from employees on the showroom floor all the way up through management.  Jack Stevenson is the President of Mid-Cape Home Centers. He prides himself on forming personal relationships with customers. He regularly reaches out to contractors directly for feedback. He’s also heavily involved in the community. Mr. Stevenson can be seen supporting Cape Cod charities and at the many events where Mid-Cape is involved. Buying from a website or a big box store rarely gives you this type of opportunity to interact with the head of the company.


The most important aspect of buying at a local company is that your money stays in the community. If you buy from a national chain on the Cape that doesn’t mean your money stays on Cape. Mid-Cape Home Centers consistently supports local charities and creates opportunities for the people of Cape Cod. Your purchase helps keep a local person in a local job which means they spend their money locally. It keeps our community afloat creating a circle where everyone prospers.


Shopping at Mid-Cape means you’re speaking to people who are from Cape Cod and want the best for Cape Cod.  People like Materials Handler Joe Arone, who has been with Mid-Cape Home Centers for thirty-eight years and counting. It’s clear that the customers feel the same way. “Mid-Cape goes to bat for us. They understand what we’re up against and want to see us succeed. Their service is consistent and that’s why they feel like part of our team,” said Larry Brutti of Fore & Aft Inc.


The next time you’re weighing up whether to buy local or from a big box store make sure you take these things into consideration. Will you still be getting the same level of customer service, on-going project support, expert knowledge, and access to those in power? All this combined with the fact that buying local provides you with the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting the community, makes choosing locally owned businesses a no brainer. Mid-Cape Home Centers is available to help you with any products, services or questions you have for home building or remodeling and they’ll do it all on a first name basis.



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About Rebecca Romo

Rebecca Romo hosts Feel Good Mornings weekday mornings from 6-10 am on 99.9 The Q. Originally from New Orleans, she moved to Cape to be with her husband a second generation Cape Codder.

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