NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS

BY M. LUKE YODER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

There are dozens of outdoor furniture companies scattered throughout the Charleston area. After all, who doesn’t want to spend time outdoors in the heady air of a gorgeous Lowcountry spring? But here’s an honest guarantee: You’ll never find an outdoor furniture company as unique as Palm Casual in Mount Pleasant.

From its business philosophy to its manufacturing process to its refreshing take on sales, Palm Casual is unlike any outdoor furniture showroom you’ve ever visited.

And that’s exactly the way owner Aaron Beasley and his staff want it to be.

Since joining Palm Casual in 2006, Beasley has embraced the company concept and elevated the showroom on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard to a true customer service experience. He’s amiable and knowledgeable, and the only thing he and his staff care about is making you happy. “We don’t want to sell anything to the customer they may not want or need,” says Beasley. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

On the surface, that seems an odd concept. No upselling? No salesperson trying to talk you into an ottoman when all you need is a chair? No steering you toward the high-priced areas of the showroom, away from the furniture set that fits your budget?

No way. Not at Palm Casual.

Beasley wants to ensure customers get the furniture they want, even if it means showing a lower-priced model or set. He calls this refreshing sales concept “down-selling.” And thanks to the way Palm Casual has grown since 1979, he and his staff can down-sell in good conscience, as long as the customer leaves with the best outdoor furniture for them.

This works for two reasons.

First, Palm Casual employees do not work on commission. They receive no bonus for selling you a higher-priced product. Their wages are the same whether you buy a single sofa or a sectional set with all of the accoutrements. Their sole focus is to help you find the outdoor furniture that fits your needs and budget. They see themselves as non-commissioned educators who help customers make the best, most prudent decisions. When customers get what they need and no more, Beasley sees that as a win for Palm Casual.

“Most companies will try to get you to buy items that you may not need,” says Beasley. “This may look good on the bottom line, but for us, making the customer happy is more important. We hope they have a great experience and tell people about us. That’s what helps our bottom line.”

The second—and most important— reason Palm Casual’s selling philosophy works is because the company manufactures its own furniture. While the Mount Pleasant location is a showroom only, should you visit many of its other 17 locations throughout the Southeast, you would see employees sewing Sunbrella fabrics, weaving resin wicker and shaping aluminum frames right there behind the showroom.

By controlling the manufacturing process, Palm Casual can offer the best quality in any price range. The only difference between the most expensive and the lowest priced item is style and design. Each is made from the same durable materials, which allows you to base your choice on what looks good and fits your space and budget. There’s no need to worry that a lower-priced piece won’t hold up in the Lowcountry climate.

And if those two unique sales concepts aren’t enough, Palm Casual offers a 30-day money- back guarantee, no questions asked. Beasley likes to say you can throw 29 parties in a row with the furniture and return it on the 30th day for a full refund. “We are confident customers will love the furniture we help them find, so we’re the only company to offer such a great guarantee,” says Beasley.

With such a fresh take on sales and quality, it’s no wonder the company has been in business for 40 years. Palm Casual gives customers what they want. Nothing more, nothing less.

M. Luke Yoder is a freelance writer based in Charleston.