Aaron Beasley’s eyes brighten when he talks about Palm Casual, the outdoor furniture store in Mount Pleasant. It’s obvious that the partner-owner is passionate about it.
No wonder. Established in 1979 in Orlando, Florida, as a small family business, Palm Casual began manufacturing outdoor furniture and selling it directly to the public, cutting out the middleman. The operation has grown from a 2,000-square-foot half-showroom-half manufacturing space to 16 additional factory showrooms throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, including the Mount Pleasant store, which opened in 2012.
The timing couldn’t have been better. As Palm Casual’s business has grown, so has the demand for outdoor furniture. In a July 2014 study, Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining as well as increasing their investment in entertaining spaces, outdoor eating spaces and outdoor living rooms. Charleston, with its temperate climate, is ideally suited to outdoor living, and homeowners have embraced the concept. Now that outdoor spaces are considered extensions of the home, furnishing them has become more important than ever.
“We have a huge advantage in that we manufacture and service the public directly,” says Beasley. “This enables us to give our customers a price advantage.”
And Beasley promises there’s something for everyone. “I would argue that the amount of collections and product we have is one of the largest in the area,” he says. That selection includes wicker, extruded or cast aluminum and pipe in myriad styles, colors and finishes.
“We have 19 different collections for the customer to actually see and sit in … and that’s not all of them,” Beasley says. “We do every Sunbrella fabric that’s made and at least 250 of them are in stock. We use the highest quality foam. My opinion is that we build the best cushions in the country.”
In fact, Palm Casual’s furniture is so well regarded they are one of the largest cushion manufacturers in the country and sell and supply their outdoor furniture to stores across the United States.
Palm Casual stands by its product with pride and total commitment.
“Nobody works on commission. We are educators,” Beasley says. “When you have our track record, it allows you to understand what your customer wants. We encourage people to shop. Everything can be customized for the same price, with the best of materials and the highest quality. We believe in it so much you will get your money back.”
The customer has a 30-day trial period to “live with” the purchase and can return anything. Fabrics and cushions can be changed out as well.
“One customer changed fabrics four times,” Beasley says, laughing. “You get 30 days each time to decide if you love it. There are no restocking fees, no gimmicks.”
“It was awesome,” says Kathy DeLuca, the aforementioned customer. “They did exactly what they said they would do.” They also take care of wellloved furniture purchased at Palm Casual.
“A couple drove all the way down from Columbia with a chair they had purchased from Palm 30 years ago,” Beasley says, laughing. “There was no receipt, no proof of purchase. We repaired it.” He adds that they will re-weave, re-stuff and rehabilitate Palm Casual furniture purchases … for free.
“We’re Charleston’s go-to source for outdoor furniture,” says Beasley. And the turnaround time for the furniture? Beasley smiles and says: “Let’s just say it is fast. I just want to be the best in the world of patio furniture.”
A QUICK GUIDE TO OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Wicker Formed by a weaving process, wicker furniture can be made of any natural or man-made material that is pliable and durable, like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) vinyl resin.
Extruded aluminum Very light weight while strong enough to withstand far more stress and strain than is required of typical outdoor patio furniture.
Cast aluminum Can be poured into a mold and broken out of a cast. Often used to replicate the look of wrought iron.
Pipe Furniture-grade PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that contains ultraviolet inhibitors to prevent yellowing and impact modifiers for durability.
Marylyn Haspel is a freelance writer based in Charleston.