North Spas Go West
When North Spas won the inaugural Arbordeck Awards back in 2018, the company’s prize included a four-day trip for two people to the US capital, Washington DC – complete with a visit to the Trex University in Virginia.
North Spas directors Davy and Heather Mason have recently returned from their trip and we asked Davy to talk us through his highlights!
Arbordeck Awards take off
When we found out that we’d won the Arbordeck Awards ‘Deck of the Year’ award in 2018, I was so honoured to have our work recognised as being the best Trex installation in the UK. There were so many top-quality projects in the running that when our name was called out I couldn’t believe it!
Having the recognition was fantastic, so to then find out that, as well as topping up our trophy cabinet, we were headed to Washington DC, was the icing on the cake. We jumped straight on TripAdvisor and started planning everything we wanted to do while we were over there and we certainly managed to pack a lot in.
From the moment we set foot in the airport we were taken under the wing of the Trex team, and we enjoyed a meet and greet and welcome drinks courtesy of the company.
Back to school at Trex University
On our first day, it was soon clear that we were in for a true VIP experience: Trex collected us from our hotel in a big black vehicle and took us to the Trex factory for a tour of the facility, which gave us a glimpse behind the scenes of how Trex transforms recycled plastic and wood fibres into beautiful decking boards.
The main thing that struck me was the scale of the factory, which is huge! As an installer it’s reassuring to know that Trex is investing so much in its product and to feel like we’re part of something massive and global.
Next up on our whistle-stop tour was the Trex University, where we learned more about the product and the marketing around it – including how Trex displays its products to customers – something we take great pride in at North Spas.
We have invested in a Trex display at our showroom, and it was reassuring to see the similarities in how we have put our showroom together and how Trex showcases its products in the US. Trex understands that people’s downtime is worth a lot to them, and is all about helping us to tap into that feeling and give people a luxurious haven in their own garden.
But best of all was when we met one of the Trex directors and he knew all about North Spas and our business. The impression I was left with was that Trex truly cares about its customers, wherever they are in the world.
Taking on America
With the Trex University trip complete, we started looking at what else we could do and see while we were in the US. With our last day completely at leisure, we were able to visit all the major landmarks, including the United States Capitol on Capitol Hill, and the Washington Monument.
Being in Washington in December was very special – while we were there we were lucky enough to catch one of the Christmas parades, which passed right outside out hotel, and we even saw the White House Christmas lights switch-on, which felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, the highlight of the trip for me was going to an NBA basketball game! We saw the Washington Wizards play – we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it. I’ve never seen a live game before, but I’m a full convert now and I’ve brought back lots of merchandise to give to friends and family as gifts.
I came back from the trip brimming with ideas and inspired to share what we ‘d learned from the Trex University.
I was on the phone to Alan Hodkinson, Trex’s UK sales and marketing manager, and Lee Heitzman of Arbor Forest Products, immediately to arrange a training session for our team and our key supplier JT Dove. We wanted to get everyone around the table to share best practice and tell them more about what we’d learned – not just about Trex products, but about the whole lifestyle the brand is promoting.
I really believe that our customers will benefit from the knowledge we have gained and I can’t wait to get back out there and start fitting decks.
We’re very grateful to the Arbordeck Awards for choosing our project as the first ever ‘Deck of the Year’ winner and for giving us the opportunity to be part of this trip – and we’ll definitely be entering again this year!