May 16, 2024 6:42 PM

Standard of Quality

Posted May 16, 2024 6:42 PM
Photo by John Lovretta
Photo by John Lovretta

By William Smith

Carhartt is catching on again.

The most popular pieces have been in the brand’s production line for years: the chore coat, the double knee pants, the watch hat beanie, and the K87 pocket tee. 

Recently, those designs have seen Carhartt move beyond a street wear-adjacent brand into one of the bestselling brands.

Nichole Pieper, Carhartt manager for Standard of Beaverdale, has seen the evidence.

“It has now become a big trend for the younger generation. Things from the 1980s are making a comeback, and Carhartt was really big in the 80s,” she said.

Carhartt was founded in 1889, supplying work wear to railroad workers.

“Since then, it has evolved so much,” Pieper said. “Obviously, it’s well known for bib overalls and coats. But they have worked really hard to renovate their line to fit more with the youth while maintaining the durability and sustainability that Carhartt is always known for,” Pieper said.

One of the newest innovations that impresses Pieper is the Sun Defender long-sleeve shirt that can be worn in the summertime.

“It actually has more sun protection than most of your sun lotion that you put on,” Pieper said.

The cool kids in New York City started wearing domestic Carhartt products around 2020, and it has had a hip-hop connection since the 1990s.

Photo by John Lovretta
Photo by John Lovretta

Tommy Boy Records bought 800 Carhartt jackets, added its logo, and gave them to acts, including House of Pain who wore them in their video for “Jump Around.”

“It’s actually beautiful to see all these young kids coming in, and it’s nice to show them all the different products and even show them things that they didn’t even know were out here,” she said.

The Pandemic

Rachel Neil, lead designer and manager of Standard of Beaverdale’s kitchen and bath department, said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Standard of Beaverdale.

It made the store busier than ever. It seemed like everybody who was stuck in their home wanted to remodel it. And that’s exactly what Standard of Beaverdale specializes in.

“It was overwhelming. But it’s nice to be busy. We have four designers here, three full-time, and we’re all just extremely busy,” Neil said.

There were plenty of material shortages, but it didn’t impede business.

“It worked out, and it was great for us. I mean, nobody enjoyed the pandemic, but it was great for business,” Neil said.

Neil said sage green and blues are really popular in kitchen design right now. Ten years ago, Standard of Beaverdale expanded the shop with a second story dedicated entirely to kitchen and bath design.

As far as fixtures and hardware colors, the black matte is where it’s at. 

“I don’t feel like it’s trending, I feel like it’s going to be popular forever,” Neil said. “The older generations are still drawn to honey oak.”

Neil said the second floor is just one stop on a complete home renovation that can be completely done in-store.

“We keep everything here, as far as any type of material that you would need. We’ve got many contractors that we can recommend to clients. We pride ourselves on customer service,” she said. “We’re there from the beginning to the end.”

Service Since 1970

Standard of Beaverdale opened its doors in 1970. Since then, the locally-owned lumberyard and construction material dealer has offered custom building and home design services.

“You can literally walk in here with a piece of land and, you know, buy everything you need to build the house, furnish the house,” said Ben Dobson, appliance store manager for Standard of Beaverdale.

Dobson said the latest trend for washing machines and other appliances is “smart appliances.” Those would be appliances you can run from your smartphone, such as setting the oven to preheat for a pizza you can scan at a grocery store.

Dobson said they are nice, but not all rural customers have fast internet access. He stands behind sturdier and more trusted brands — such as Speed Queen washing machines — that are sold in the store.

“Speed Queen is the tried-and-true good product, and that’s something we have tried to kind of change the mentality. We want stuff that is going to work for the customer. Stuff that is going to last,” Dobson said.

That doesn’t just apply to washing machines. It’s a store-wide standard of excellence.

“We employ our delivery guys, and our service guys work for the store. We’re not bringing outside people into your home. If you have a delivery issue, you can call me and I can sit down with the guys and say, ‘Why did this happen?’ A lot of box stores are going to third-party contractors now,” Dobson said.