During their 30 years in business, the owners of Fence & Deck Connection have witnessed plenty of ups and downs within their industry. Those shifts, though, have only made the business stronger and the staff more devoted to customer service.
The business started in 1991, pairing the skills of Ben Wolod and Jim Rubush. Much of their early business concentrated on highway fencing, with their first big job being a 32,000-foot fence along Route 50. By 1999, the business had experienced its first growth period — in addition to their thriving commercial work in the mid-Atlantic region, the small team made the leap into the residential fence and deck market throughout Maryland.
Operations were moved from Annapolis to Severna Park and later to the current Millersville property in 1999 when Wolod and Rubush purchased an old, abandoned gas station.
“We originally worked out of an office trailer with an outhouse, so it was a huge move to acquire the property,” said Rubush, a Cape St. Claire native and Severna Park High School graduate.
Not only did their physical presence grow but so did the staff. Jeffrey Wall, who now serves as managing partner, joined the team in 2006. A year later, the business was at a crossroads.
“We started in 1991, which was during a recession, and in 2007, we were hit with another recession, leaving us with some pretty big decisions to make,” Rubush said. “Either we had to get real small or we had to expand and grow our business out of the recession.”
They chose to grow. To accomplish that goal, Rubush said he and Wolod had to “sharpen our spear” and become even better salesmen.
“Jim and Ben started to set the bar in customer service,” Wall said. “Those years in 2007 and 2008, they started to home in on how to take that to another level.”
Word of mouth generated new customers. With evolving technology and increasingly diverse customer touchpoints, the marketing team became more creative in promoting the business — especially on social media. The company also invested in the best customer relationship management (CRM) systems, putting culture above profits and keeping their mission simple.
“We have stayed focused on what we do best: fences, decks and screened-in porches,” Wall said. “We know what we’re good at.”
But it’s not only about business at Fence & Deck Connection. Rubush, Wolod and Wall have looked at the company’s growth as a reason to keep doing more for the community they serve. They support Annapolis-based nonprofit Warrior Events, the Anne Arundel County Food Bank, the Blue Ribbon Project, the SPCA of Anne Arundel County, and several other organizations. Whenever possible, they participate in charity activities to see the impact firsthand.
“When you get involved with charity organizations and see what they do, it gives you a different perspective than writing a check,” Wall said.
Rubush recalled a November 2020 trip in which eight members of Warrior Events were sent to South Carolina and taught how to surf and do yoga as part of a therapy exercise.
“It’s pretty enlightening physically and to be able to get to hear [the veterans’] stories,” Rubush said.
Currently, there are supply chain issues because of the pandemic, but Fence & Deck Connection is selling as many stock products as possible to keep customers from experiencing delays. The team has also doubled its production staff to establish closer contact with customers. Those commitments helped them grow 20 percent over the last year, but their focus has not swayed.
Just as they have done for the last 30 years, Fence & Deck Connection will withstand any challenges to best meet customer needs.
“We’re excited during this year to be staying closer to home to be in tune with our target market of Anne Arundel County,” Rubush said.
Fence & Deck Connection has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has won consecutive readers’ choice awards from the Severna Park Voice, Capital Gazette and What’s Up? Annapolis. The company has also won consecutive awards from Angi (formerly Angie’s List) and Houzz.
The company has an Annapolis indoor showroom open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm and by appointment only on Saturdays from May through June 5, at which time the showroom will open completely on Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Anyone is welcome to view the outdoor displays at the Millersville location at 8057 Veterans Highway. To learn more about Fence & Deck Connection, call 410-757-5511 or visit www.fenceanddeckconnection.com.