Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Successful awning manufacturer opens Chesapeake facility

by Cristi Sanchez

Mike McDonald, owner of A&A Awnings

Mike McDonald, owner of A&A Awnings

Big changes are in store for A&A Awnings as it prepares for a move to Chesapeake. After more than 22 years in Virginia Beach, owner Mike McDonald is relocating his retractable awning manufacturing business to his newly purchased 12,000 square foot facility in the heart of Greenbrier. No longer bound by the limits on expansion posed by a rental property, Mike is excited about the positive impact the new facility will have on serving his customers.

"This is the first commercial property I've ever owned," he says with a smile. "Owning our space allows us to shape it to make it work for us. It's a wide-open, blank slate for me. I'll be able to put all my departments in the best spot possible to facilitate efficiency and productiveness. Redesigning the flow of our manufacturing department will make it more streamlined and expeditious, which will cut down on turnaround time to our customers. Now we'll have room to grow and, more importantly, design and build retractable awnings on a much larger and more affordable scale. That will keep costs down while still creating a high-quality product."

 Mike firmly believes that the high-quality of A&A Awning products stems from the fact that they are manufactured on-site using the finest materials. These include Sunbrella® acrylic canvases, which come with a 10-year warranty against fade, dry rot, and mildew, and an extra-strong Gore-Tex based thread.

"I believe that is what sets us apart," Mike points out. "Other companies might not have the benefit of being able to manufacture their own awnings on-site. They may have to rely on ordering them from a supplier. Manufacturing on-site as we do gives us the advantage of quality control over our product. We get to choose and select the materials we use. By overseeing the production of our awnings, we can ensure that our customers are always getting a high-quality product they'll be happy with."

"By overseeing the production of our awnings,
we can ensure that our customers are always getting
a high-quality product they'll be happy with."

 - Mike McDonald

Happy customers are at the center of Mike's business philosophy. Their satisfaction, not the bottom line, is his focus. "It's not about the money to me; it's about having happy customers and doing the right thing," he emphasizes. "I'd rather lose out on money, if necessary, and have someone walk away feeling good about their experience than the opposite. Customer trust is essential, and I'm proud to say that our customers can and do trust us."

A people-person by nature, Mike works very hard to make sure that he and his entire staff develop solid relationships with clients that inspire trust. He insists on providing prompt, friendly, personalized service from the first phone call to the final installation. "With my team, I emphasize that we should always be as professional as possible. I've worked so hard to be successful, and I don't want anyone on my team to project a lackadaisical attitude. We return our phone calls as promptly as possible, and when we tell customers that we will be there, we will be there. Valuing other people's time is a sign of personal respect," Mike states with conviction.

Each job, whether large or small, is tailored and customized to customers' needs for a truly personalized experience. "I always stress with my sales reps that we're there to solve a problem for our customers and understand them so we can build a product to suit their needs," Mike points out. "We zero in on what a customer wants to accomplish, and I want to be of service for whatever they want to accomplish."

Retractable awnings provide shade when it’s wanted and sun when it’s not.

Retractable awnings provide shade when it’s wanted and sun when it’s not.

A&A Awnings service extends to both commercial and residential clients. Surprisingly, over 90 percent of Mike's clients are residential clients seeking the benefits of retractable awnings for their windows, patios, and boat docks. Retractable awnings are versatile, providing residents with sun protection, UV protection, glare reduction, and even rain protection. They also offer the added benefits of lower cooling costs and extension of outdoor living space. "A lot of customers use our awnings over their patios as a less expensive alternative to sunrooms or fixed covered porch structures," Mike explains.

Whatever the reason a customer chooses to inquire about retractable awnings, Mike wants them to know they can call to inquire without the fear of high-pressure sales tactics. "I'm the anti-salesman," he laughs. "I don't like pressuring anybody. I like educating my clients about the industry, our products, and specifics on them. That same philosophy translates to my sales reps. They'll go out to a customer's home, measure, and provide an estimate and thenleave them alone," he adds with a chuckle. "We keep the estimate on file, so should they choose to call us back and move forward, we'll be ready."

And clients are clearly happy with A&A's quality product, service, and no-pressure sales, as evidenced by their 4.9-star rating on Google. "I always encourage prospective clients to check out our Google reviews. They're the highest ratings for a local awning company, and I feel the reviews speak for themselves," Mike states.

Not only is A&A Awnings a small local business with great reviews, but it is also now becoming a small family-owned business. Mike purchased the company from his retiring boss 12 years ago after working his way up from sales rep. Now Mike's son, Sean, is learning the ropes and being groomed to one day take over the business and continue Mike's legacy of excellence. "Sean's been with me for six years now. To make sure he knows this business inside and out, I started him at installation. He's mastered that and just got promoted to sales rep. He's doing a fantastic job!" Mike smiles proudly. "He's a people person and wants to make customers happy. He's doing great!"

Although location is changing for A&A Awnings, Mike McDonald's commitment to excellence, quality, and satisfied customers will never change. His commitment to the investment in his new facility reflects his commitment to his customers. "We're in this for the long haul," he affirms. "Our customers can count on us."

A&A Awnings

544 Central Drive
Va Beach, VA 23454

757-463-1446, Cell 757-285-5575