Underneath the spectacular scenery of the Lowcountry marshes and waterfronts, the threat of violent storms buzzes like a current, always there to temper the beauty. Every year, hurricanes, strong winds and thunderstorms all threaten homes along the coast, making fortification not only advisable but necessary.
“The Lowcountry needs to be prepared for any hurricane season,” says JD Cooper, founder and owner of Lowcountry Hurricane Protection and Shutters. “It’s not if we will have a storm, but when we will have a storm.”
There are, of course, various methods of prepping a house for a storm. Windows are an especially vulnerable point of any home, making them an extremely important detail never to overlook. And while covering them with sheets of plywood may be effective, it’s hardly a simple task—both in the installation or removal. Shutters, however, provide both ease and functionality as well as aesthetics—something that plywood is undeniably lacking.
As a native Charlestonian, Cooper saw the potential of starting a business focused on providing high-quality, custom hurricane shutters, taking his expertise in the construction industry and his entrepreneurial drive to launch Lowcountry Hurricane Protection and Shutters in 2005. “I have always loved the water,” he says. “At the age of 15, I became a commercial fisherman. As our town grew, I wanted to get into the construction industry and found my niche with exterior shutters in 2004 as an installer. I’d always had a passion and drive to start my own business, so a year later, I took that ambition and started my own company. I have the benefit of helping people protect their property and making people happy by improving the look of their homes and businesses.”
Specializing in the manufacture of top-quality products and providing the best installation of hurricane-rated and decorative exterior shutters, the team at Lowcountry Hurricane Protection and Shutters prides itself on what it offers clients in both experience and excellence. “From our first interaction to our last, we strive for great customer service, ease of mind and comfort in knowing we will do our best to do it the right way the first time,” says Cooper. “We’re the only company in Charleston that is a full-service, turnkey company, with an in-house sales team; a manufacturing team building and painting or powder coating our own shutters; and a full-service installation team. We fully stand behind our products.”
Over the past 17 years, Cooper and his team have made Lowcountry Hurricane Protection and Shutters a trusted name and a go-to source for homeowners throughout Charleston. And though the ease of use and visual appeal may be strong selling points, there are a few other factors that make shutters an incredibly wise investment. Peace of mind is one, while the others are more financial. “Exterior shutters add value to your home or business, plus you reap the benefits of insurance discounts for installing hurricane-rated products to protect your home or business from damage,” says Cooper.
Naturally, the company offers various styles of shutters, but there is a definite standout in popularity. “Our operable louvered, hurricane-rated Bahama shutter is the most popular style,” says Cooper. “Customers love the ability to get the aesthetics of the Bahama shutter while also having the ability to adjust the louvers so the view is unobstructed and natural light is allowed in. These shutters can also withstand 150-mph hurricane-force winds.”
Color options are also in ready supply, as the wood or composite shutters can be painted any Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore color. The aluminum products, however, are powder coated rather than painted. “We have over 200 standard colors,” Cooper notes. “We also carry the ever-popular ‘Charleston Green,’ and if a client is looking for a specific color, we can do a custom color match.”
On average, installation requires only one or two days, making it a relatively short project. The deciding factor is how many openings need shutters. And, like any home project, it all starts with a consultation. “When a potential client is interested in our shutters, one of our knowledgeable sales team members will meet them at their home when it is convenient,” says Cooper. “They then discuss the openings that the client is interested in and determine what will make sense for each. From there, we take field measurements and present them with a free custom quote. Once we iron out the details, we go under contract. To make sure we do things right the first time, either our director of operations or I will complete the final engineering of the openings. We then manufacture and paint the shutters within the given lead time, and our installation crew installs the finished product on our client’s home. The hardest thing for our installation crews is making sure that the opening is structurally sound to apply our products. We take pride in the aesthetically pleasing look of our shutters, but we also want to make sure they are truly functional and will protect our clients’ biggest investments.” *
Liesel Schmidt lives in Navarre, Florida, and works as a freelance writer for local and regional magazines. She is also a web content writer and book editor. Follow her on Twitter at @laswrites or download her novels, Coming Home to You, The Secret of Us and Life Without You, at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.