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At Shepley, nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers, employees, and community. We are fully committed to serve our customers the best we can while taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone healthy & safe. We are keeping a close eye on reports concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to keep you updated with any changes. Please continue reading below for our latest updates.

Status Update: 7/21/20


Shepley Sales Staff for all of our locations are available to serve you via phone or email.
Click here to contact your Sales Team directly.

Hyannis
Monday-Friday 7AM-5PM open for pickups and deliveries
Saturday 7AM-12PM open for pickup

Wellfleet and Nantucket
Monday-Friday 7AM-5PM open for pickups and deliveries
We will be closed on Saturdays until further notice.

Shepley Showcase in Hyannis
Open Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM
We ask that all visitors please wear a mask and observe proper social distancing.

Send Payment By Mail
In an effort to maintain a safe and healthy working environment, we ask our Nantucket, Wellfleet, and Hyannis customers who usually drop off payments to mail them to our Hyannis office.

Shepley Wood Products
216 Thornton Drive, Hyannis MA 02601

 Shepley Updates

We are happy to announce that our Hyannis yard will re-open, starting tomorrow, on Saturday mornings from 7AM-12:00PM for pick up business.

While we are happy to re-open for customer pickups on Saturday mornings, we are still concentrating our deliveries from Monday–Friday. As we have discussed, we are not so much in a new normal as we are in the “Next Normal” of this pandemic progression. All evidence points to it being a while before a vaccine is developed and that appears to be the key to allowing phase 4 re-openings.

We are still asking everyone to maintain social distancing and to wear masks inside any of our facilities. Your health and well-being is our focus and we want to take every step to keep our customers and employees safe. We believe that safety doesn’t get a second chance. It’s our job to stay on the side of caution. Around other parts of the country we can clearly see the increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases and the alarming drop in the average age of patients contracting the virus. We have seen reports of the average age of people with new cases as low as 35 years old in Florida.

As much as we all would like to return to the way it was before the pandemic, it is important that we stay the course to limit the spread. This too shall pass, and it is up to us to take every step we can to help. Thanks for your patience and thank you for your business.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

July 4th, Independence Day, has been celebrated since the 1700’s but has only been an official Federal holiday in the US since 1941. I am not sure what took us so long!

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress gathered to vote for Independence from Great Britain. 2 days later on July 4th, all 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. The idea of 13 loosely organized colonies breaking away from England, the ruler of the most powerful empire in the world, must have seemed ludicrous at the time, a real David and Goliath situation. Against incredible odds and in defiance of the foremost military resources in the world, the colonies prevailed in their bid for independence. Our Declaration of Independence was an “all in” bet in which our forefathers literally pushed all their poker chips to the center of the table. This was a bet they could not afford to lose.

Today, we live in less of an all or nothing world. We are not in the situation of betting the farm on one all or nothing wager. We are still confronted with the COVID-19 challenges that have consumed our headlines for the past 3 ½ months, but we have choices as to how we conduct ourselves. As we start the long weekend, please remember that we still have the privilege of choosing how we act and the opportunity to set an example for others.

Please stay safe, stay diligent, and keep yourselves and your families healthy. From all of us at Shepley, enjoy your 4th of July!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

To a lot of us, navigating this pandemic has felt like flying a small plane in and out of the fog that so often covers Cape Cod and the Islands on summer days. Fog is essentially low flying clouds, formed when the difference between the air temperature and the dew point is less than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit. While fog itself can be disorienting, a pilot must learn to trust their instruments in order to control the pitch, yaw, and roll of their aircraft.

Our senses, though acute and accurate in a number of situations, are not what you should rely on under what pilots call “instrument conditions” where visibility is limited or nonexistent. In those conditions, you have to set your course based on known information and follow that course. Improvisation does not apply….instruments do. Limited visibility flying does not reward the adventurous, the daring, or those who like to push the limits to the edge. It favors those who follow the instruments, and override the desire to rely on their senses or their emotions instead.

An especially challenging condition for a pilot is flying in and out of intermittent clouds in which you can momentarily see a bit of sky or a piece of ground. The desire to find a visual reference point on the ground becomes somewhat irresistible, but looking for land marks through occasional holes in the clouds is not part of any pilot’s proper flight plan. Keeping that pilot’s attention on the known and reliable information provided by instruments is a much better recipe for success.

Just as pilots can become distracted by extra or extraneous information, they can also be overwhelmed by an oversupply of input. As they move from a state of “situational awareness” to “task overload”, additional information and duties lead to a breakdown of the pilot’s ability to prioritize and process information and tasks.

Watching the way we are navigating through the limited visibility and frequently turbulent conditions of pandemic life, we can see the same types of strains. People are on edge, shorter of patience, fearful of the impacts of COVID-19 on their lives, their finances, their jobs, and their families, and feel pushed into unfamiliar and uncomfortable circumstances. The feeling of trying to get our bearings through holes in the clouds is a lot like trying to understand where we are in this pandemic. Panic, anger, and frustration will not get us where we need to go. Keeping a cool head, trusting the information at hand, staying rational, and keeping others calm is what works both for pilots and us today. Sticking to our navigational basics of wearing masks, practicing hygiene, and staying focused on solutions rather than problems are what will get us to our destination. This too shall pass.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

As we approach the July 4th holiday, the Cape and Islands are seeing a surge of summer visitors. According to We Need A Vacation, a local summer rental broker, short term rentals in June on Cape Cod were up 140% this year vs last year. Cape Cod and the Islands are seen by many as a sanctuary, a familiar reliable place to go, and a destination that can be reached by car in relative safety. Inevitably, with crowds come risk of COVID-19.

Nantucket, which has ranked as the safest county in the Commonwealth, has had 4 new COVID-19 cases in the past few days after weeks and weeks of no new cases. You can see social distancing and mask wearing relax, as people want to get back to normal. We must remember that as of May 6th, Governor Baker issued an order requiring masks to be worn inside any business and when you are within 6’ of another person, even standing outside. In response to their new cases, Nantucket has raised the bar on this, now requiring masks anywhere downtown, either inside or out, and on all bike paths around the island.

Florida has been experiencing a wave of new cases and the median age of these new COVID-19 cases is now down to 35 years old. California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas have all surged ahead of Massachusetts in total COVID-19 cases, but Massachusetts still ranks third behind NY and NJ in COVID-19 fatalities. New CDC estimates suggest that as many as 20 million people in the US may have actually contracted COVID-19, which is almost 10 times the official count of 2,544,300, but have not been properly tested or exhibited severe enough symptoms to be officially included in the case count.

What experts do seem to agree on, whichever numbers you believe, is that the US appears to have about 25% of the world COVID cases and fatalities, which number 119,427 deaths in this country as of Monday. Those hopeful for “herd immunity” as a solution will not see those hopes realized anytime soon. It would require about 60% of the population or 200 million people in the US to have the proper antibodies for herd immunity.

Right now, our near term solution is to stay diligent with wearing masks, proper hygiene, and social distancing, while the virologists work on a vaccine due likely sometime next year. A bit of inconvenience is a small tradeoff for the safety of all. It’s not just about you or just about me, it’s about all of us.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Given the choice, which would you take first: the good news or the bad news? Author, Stuart Soroka, suggests that we are naturally predisposed both neurologically and psychologically, to focus on the bad news because the potential cost or danger of the negative weigh heavier on us than the potential benefit of the positive. Perhaps another way of looking at it is that we know all bad news doesn’t directly affect us and sometimes we allow someone else’s bad news to let them do the suffering for us.

The ancient Greeks famously used their dramatic tragedies to induce a state of catharsis in which the viewer could identify with the misfortunes of the actors but not directly suffer the pain. These days, we still prefer our suffering to be virtual too, and both in Ancient Greece and today, no one likes the suspense of waiting for our tragedies, we want them on demand! Do you remember when the news wasn’t 24/7 and you had to wait until the assigned hour to get your news fill? My kids don’t.

Bill Gates says, “Headlines in a way mislead you, because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not.”

“If it bleeds, it leads” was first coined by journalist, Eric Pooley, back in 1989, when he commented on our fascination with bad news.

Colin Powell said, “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.” We like our bad news fresh.

So while bad news has been used as a warning to others, it certainly also has been used in the cathartic sense to remind us that we may be a lot better off than someone else, less fortunate. Although we are well trained with the shock value of bad news and the visceral response it creates in us, it can also be a habit we choose to kick. Social media also allows us the opportunity to forward good news, inspiring news, and positive outcomes….if we choose.

Only you choose whether you are drinking from the glass that is half empty or half full. In these times of turmoil and over stimulation, you own that choice. Here’s a toast to our freedom to make it. Bottom’s up!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

We continue to cautiously re-open our company and are carefully observing the guidelines from state and federal authorities. We will re-open for pick up business on Saturdays, starting on July 11, at our Hyannis location only. Our Hyannis Showcase will also be open on Saturday mornings from 8-12AM, beginning Saturday, July 11.

We have seen that the impatience to rush back to re-open carries with it a risk and a heavy price. The median age for new COVID-19 cases in Florida is now down to 35 years old! Florida added 5,511 infections alone on Wednesday, bringing their state total to 109,041, as of 6/24/20. The charts below, from Johns Hopkins, shows new case trends across the country. Click here to view the interactive maps for all 50 states.

 

States that did not shut down or quarantine are now showing serious signs of outbreak. We still have a ways to go and must make every effort not to be casual with distancing and hygiene. Our health is up to all of us. We need to stay cautious and not waste the effort that all have put into containing COVID-19 to date. We ask that everyone wear masks when coming anywhere near each other and that proper handwashing and sanitizing protocols are followed for the protection of all.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to navigate uncharted waters.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

As pandemic life resumes next levels of normalcy, our family members come out of isolation and go back to work. Hopefully someday soon too, summer camp, then school in a few months, will also open. But there is one part of the family unit who will be in for a re-adjustment…our pets.

They have had more of our undivided attention during the quarantine and offered an emotional anchor to windward for so many people isolated from normal social life. They have also come to enjoy 24/7 human assistance on call, more love and attention, more exercise, and their very own door people to open and close at will. For many pets, the extra attention, the better and more plentiful food, and the additional human companionship has been a nice change. For humans, pets have been a stabilizing and comforting link to regular life and a consistent emotional tie in to normalcy.

We owe them a lot for the comfort they have given us and we should think about easing them back to the new reality as easily as possible. Don’t forget what your pets may have done for you lately and hold on to the new bond you may have forged during isolation.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Years ago, back in the Recession of 1990, we had a builder client who went through some very difficult times. Many of us remember banks pulling lines of credits and calling mortgages out of fear for anything involving the construction industry. It was a very fearful time and our friend and client really suffered financially. He was pretty young at the time and was counselled by a much older friend who with the wisdom of many years, said helpfully, “I know things are very challenging for you right now, but you’re still young and thank God you have your health.”

Our friend thought about that for a minute and replied, “You know, I liked my health a lot better when there was a “W” in front of it!” I never forgot the story, we have laughed about it a few times over the past 30 years and now that he and I are both a lot older and somewhat wiser, we both look back on it with a different perspective. He now says, “Money alone won’t make you happy, but not having any money can certainly make you unhappy.” Part of what makes him really happy now is always looking to make things better for his family, his staff, his clients, and his friends. We both agree it’s a different type of “W” and one that sticks!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Yesterday, I wrote about the pressure treated lumber shortage and the problems that can result from an industry that shuts-off supply too early and then can’t keep up with demand. Two wonderful illustrations of the opposite effect are the auto industry and the petroleum industry. In both cases, production was difficult to slow down and demand fell off a cliff, resulting in massive price deflation. So while we may experience frustration over shortages and having to pay more for PT lumber in the short term, we tend to forget the situations in which it’s a buyer’s market and items are selling at hugely reduced prices compared to the old normal. If you are in the market for a car or truck, you are literally in the driver’s seat.

According to a recent article in Car and Driver magazine, auto inventories at the dealer averaged 58-days worth of sales as of January 1 , 2020. A 60-day supply or less is considered ideal in the industry. By April 1, 47 states had orders in place restricting travel and public gatherings. Dealership inventories ballooned to between a 164-day supply (Honda and Volvo) up to a 226-day supply (Genesis), with the other manufacturers falling in between.

Dealers have responded by slashing prices to get new vehicles sold and off the floorplan. One story recounted a customer being able to buy a new Jeep Gladiator for $8,500 off sticker in April, when last fall the dealer refused any offer under sticker price. If you take the plunge on a new vehicle, you will also do pretty well at the gas pump these days, filling up with $1.84/gal gas.

As my grandmother used to say, “When you are the hammer, strike, when you are the anvil, bear.” We forget the benefits, when we only concentrate on the detriments.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

What do pressure treated lumber and toilet paper have in common? Several things actually. Both are wood fiber products, although we recommend a species that is softer and less likely to splinter than Southern Yellow Pine for toilet paper.

Another similarity is the current PT shortage that is remarkably similar to the toilet paper shortage of 2-3 months ago. A sharp spike in demand, coupled with some consumer over-reaction can quickly drain supply inventories and create a panic. Mills anticipated less demand due to the pandemic and did not push production as hard as they would during a normal economy. Without a lot of warning, everyone started scrambling.

Many other companies are completely or substantially out of stock at present. It will likely take 6-8 weeks for production to catch up. We are in better shape than most in terms of inventory but ask that you:

• Look at upcoming jobs and let us know what you will need and when you will need it.
• Plan ahead with your Shepley sales team. We can pick and secure orders you have coming up in the near term.
• Remember that the most critical items currently are premium 5/4×6 decking, 4×4, and #1 grade 2×8 and 2×10.

We are taking care of our regular customers and not selling PT items to new customers. This will be a temporary situation (like the toilet paper shortage) and we’ll get through it better than most. We have supply rolling and on order and will be careful with how we sell it to keep you supplied. We may have substitutions in some cases. We appreciate your patience!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Good news is still not as easy as anyone would like to come by lately. So, we’d like to give you some with which to end your week.

The Mass Department of Health puts out a report each afternoon at 4 PM that is detailed enough to satisfy even the most data driven of us. Our good news is that every graph in that report is pointing in the right direction as far as COVID-19 results. Be it going down for categories like new cases, fatalities, or the graph shown below for hospitalizations (total number of those hospitalized in MA is under 1,000 for the first time in months). Or it be going up, which is good in the case of people being tested or showing anti-body signs. You will note that the data is delayed by a day or two, but Wednesday’s 998 hospitalized total was a significant mile marker on the low end of the graph in the direction we want and need to see it headed.

To view the latest report in full, click here. Please continue with hygiene and safety protocols to keep this trending as we see it.

Enjoy your weekend…from a safe distance!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Two wrongs really never make a right…except apparently in politics. In the Spring of 2018, the US Commerce Department added all Canadian White and Red Cedar shakes and shingles to the list of lumber items that had been included in the Softwood Lumber Duty. This effectively raised the price on all white and red cedar shingles overnight by 20.8% with no warning…and for no good reason. You could count the number of US mills producing red and white cedar shingles on pretty much one hand. The huge majority of cedar shingles and shakes are manufactured in Canada. So a duty designed to “protect” US mills from foreign (Canadian) competition, had virtually no US mills to protect. The inclusion of shakes and shingles in the duty simply drove up the price of shingles to US consumers, who buy the bulk of Canadian production and created a financial mess for Canadian mills by raising their costs the 20.8%.

For two years dealers, distributors, and producers have lobbied the Department of Commerce to no avail. We have pointed out that past duties were proven not to work and damaging to the economy and cost of housing. Now the Department of Commerce has decided (finally) to reverse their earlier inclusion of shakes and shingles under the softwood duty. Barring any last minute appeals, as of July 10th we may see shingles starting to ship over the border without the tariff. During the two years that it took to reverse the initial unsound decision, we have all paid more for no reason and we will get none of that duty back. Mills have suffered as the market softened because of higher prices and resulting drop in demand. Consumers bought other products. Mills have been forced to absorb the duty and shingle prices settled back to pre-duty levels, meaning that Canadian mills have been losing their shirts for the last year and a half. A lot of extra work, extra pain, and plenty of posturing and politics all for no good reason. It reminds me of the cartoon below that my son sent me.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

One of the most difficult parts of this pandemic has been to keep things in perspective. We have definitely been in a time warp and the past three months have felt like three years. Everyone gets regularly surprised by what day of the week it is, and generally, I think we suffer from a loss of familiar frame of reference. In times of high stress or extreme change, people don’t think or hear as clearly and may act more out of emotion than of rational thought.

People may be more easily offended and quick to take things personally. It is certainly much easier for misunderstandings to take place. We have to be careful to spell things out carefully and to make things as clear and understandable as possible.

As W. Edwards Deming said, “We get what we inspect, not what we expect.” Communicate carefully and maintain a sense of respectful humor. Remember the true definition of humor is something that everyone finds funny.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

We at Shepley have been working on a gradual re-opening plan that keeps the safety of our customers and employees alike in mind. We still have staff working remotely and are carefully having them re-enter the workforce at our branches. Of top concern is our ability to maintain distance and separation for everyone’s sake in our offices, sales areas, and warehouses. Though working remotely has been far more effective than we might have imagined, there is still no substitute for face-to-face contact in many situations.

As we bring people back into the office who have been working remotely for several months, we realize that it’s initially uncomfortable, a bit scary, and takes some real readjustment. No one has told us they felt completely comfortable the first day they came back into the office. But, everyone has said that after a few days, they really started to feel confident and were actually glad to be back in circulation. Many people have said that coming back felt like the first day of school. Likely, you will have the same concerns from people you work with returning to your office or workplace.

Our thoughts on pandemic re-entry to the workplace:

  • Make re-entry gradual, perhaps start off with a few days per week.
  • Be sensitive to those returning, it will feel like a whole new world.
  • Explain the different protocols that are being practiced in the workplace that they may not have been aware of due to being offsite.
  • Be patient, people come around, they just do it at different speeds.

 

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

This Saturday on Nantucket we were able to do a second act on our Class of 2020 Flyover and it couldn’t have felt better. Nantucket High School had a brief distanced commencement ceremony that was followed by a parade through the middle of town. And what a parade it was!

The spirit of the 2020 seniors was palpable and their enthusiasm was contagious. Students, parents, and families decorated all manner of vehicles from Vespas to antique fire trucks, and everything in between, to celebrate the graduates. Throngs of people gathered downtown and cheered on the parade participants. It was a one-hour window into what we are missing: the ability to gather, the energy we get from a crowd, and the joy of celebration.

People were generally observant of social distancing and wearing masks. It felt like the first real day of summer! Overhead, the trusty Piper Super Cub circled, carrying our banner you see in the photograph below. The rest of the day, I found myself reflexively looking up at the sky at any sound of a small aircraft just to check.

We will surely have a very different July 4th this year. We must remember that COVID-19 is still a very real risk and that states who have relaxed too fast have begun to pay the price in new cases. Our future is up to us in the measures we take. Stay diligent and stay safe!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

When life gets tough, stick to the simple path. I saw the following checklist on someone’s office wall:

10 things that can lead to success with no special effort

  • Be on time
  • Make your best effort
  • Take care of your health and safety, and your energy will follow
  • Make the choice to stay positive
  • Put passion and pride in what you do
  • Consider your body language and put out the welcome mat for others
  • Stay open to learning
  • Be prepared, think ahead
  • Be considerate, do things for others, and set an example

(Repeat Daily)

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Some of you may have had the chance to see economist Elliott Eisenberg in February when he spoke here in Hyannis to the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC), the Realtors Association and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Elliott puts out a daily commentary which I enjoy and you can sign up for it for free at www.econ70.com.

I like his style and informative content, so I wanted to share this particular piece below from yesterday. We enjoy an incredible advantage as possessor of the world’s reserve currency as the majority of international transactions are done in dollars. Let’s hope he is right about the security of our position! Before us, Great Britain’s pound was the world reserve currency. Losing it to the dollar was a big blow to Britain and a great advantage to the United States. Our thanks to Elliott!

Delightful Dollar

With so much fiscal and monetary stimulus coming from DC, unfounded fears of the US dollar losing its position as the world’s reserve currency have cropped up. There is no real competitor. To use metaphors, Europe is a beautiful museum, Japan is an old age home, and China is moving quickly from being a jail to a prison. The dollar remains by far the most attractive and suitable currency.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

What could be better than a rousing encore after a successful performance? Word got around after last week’s Cape Cod 2020 Flyover and it was certainly gratifying to see the popularity of good news for a change. All week long we have been getting great feedback on how people enjoyed that the flyover helped students and families around the Cape make the best of a difficult situation.

This Saturday, June 13th, Nantucket High School is holding its 2020 Commencement Ceremonies, with a few twists on the normal routine. Nantucket has made great use of YouTube to keep their citizens up to date through the pandemic and will continue that on Saturday at 1:00pm. Following the graduation ceremony, there will be a parade on the island starting at 3:00pm on Main Street. We have have collaborated with Principle John Buckey and engaged our friends at New England Aerial Advertising to do a flyover of Nantucket towing our Congratulations Class of 2020 banner that proved such a hit on Cape last week.

Adding to the degree of difficulty is the 30 mile trip over Nantucket Sound to get there. Think of the fishermen, sailors, and commuters we will amuse on the way over. The weather forecast is good for Saturday and our emotional forecast is even better. Keep your eyes on the sky and share any photos you take with the hashtag #ClassOf2020Flyover. Share the Love!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Yesterday, Monday, June 8th, the staff, Board, and supporters of Calmer Choice organized a surprise parade to go the Cotuit home of Calmer Choice Founder and CEO, Fiona Jensen. It was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Calmer Choice. Though surprises are hard to keep, an impressive collection of cars, trucks, fire trucks, and police cars were staged at the Cotuit Kettleers baseball field nearby to begin an orderly procession by Fiona’s house. I would say from her expression it was the last thing she expected. And you could see that 10 years of inspiration, hard work, and organizing came to an emotional peak as the procession went by, honking, waving, and clapping. Passersby started to join in and the momentum built and carried. It was very heartfelt and uplifting.

You see, Calmer Choice was started 10 years ago in response to a crisis for the Barnstable School System after several teen suicides. What can be more devastating than losing a child? Tragedies of the type that we experienced then, and we are experiencing now, are incredibly personal and painful. As a society, we are measured by how we respond and work to find the lesson and the way back to equilibrium from each tragedy. Calmer Choice responded ten years ago by developing programs and techniques to give kids coping skills with which to make better life choices, and we salute them for doing so. They have helped thousands of kids better navigate life. Today’s world has its own tragedies and these same coping skills are no less important for everyone now. Don’t go it alone. Reach out for help from those around you. Tragedies give us the opportunity to come together, if we let them.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

As of Friday June 5th, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a total of 6,639,000 cases and 391,200 fatalities worldwide. The United States has reported a total of 1,872,482 cases and 108,192 fatalities, nationwide.

Massachusetts ranks third in the US behind New York and New Jersey with a statewide total of 102,063 cases and 7,201 fatalities. Massachusetts is still adding new cases to the total at a rate of around 900 per day statewide. Statistically speaking, in terms of COVID-19, the two safest counties out of 14 in the state, are Dukes and Nantucket, with Barnstable County ranking 8th in terms of cases.

With numbers as big as the ones we are experiencing in MA, it is no wonder we are lagging behind so many other states in re-opening. Our hearts go out to the businesses that remain locked down or severely limited in their ability to operate. This will be a summer different from any other we have ever experienced. Social distancing and hygiene protocols are still our best defense. Reminding others when they forget is key. We have to help each other and we need to reduce the chance for a second wave later in the year. Yes, we all crave normal life, but we have to be diligent in pursuing the course that will get us there.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Yesterday’s Class of 2020 Flyover was a resounding success. Boy, do I have a new found respect for banner plane pilots. We kidded the pilot, Alex, that the Piper Super Cub he was flying was more than twice his age, but it didn’t look it. A lot of TLC goes into maintaining an aircraft approaching 70 years old that has to work as hard as this one does, and it showed. It didn’t miss a beat. To see the banner pick up in the video clip, click here.

After a grass runway takeoff of no more than 400 feet, Alex put his highlift wings to work, circled around, and dove down to pick up the banner tow rope loop with his tail hook with apparent laser guided precision, a mere 6’ off the ground. He then pulled back to an almost vertical climb to get the banner up off the ground without dragging. As he strained towards the sky, you could hear his single engine working its magic, and in a matter of seconds, he was airborne. The banner straightened itself with a carefully arranged array of weights and adjustable rudders and off Alex, plane, and banner went on their carefully planned route of Cape Cod’s high schools.

The weather was perfect, the crowds were appreciative and enthusiastic, and we pulled a lot of people together for a few hours. Alex hit his points and did his school circling with timely precision. And by 2:30, it was Mission Accomplished with pilot, plane, and banner safely back on the ground in Marstons Mills.

Thanks Cape Cod for a few hours of pleasant diversion from COVID-19. Congratulations Class of 2020 and happy flying into each of your futures. We’re with you!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Today is the day and we are ready for liftoff!

We are so excited to be able to share this beautiful day with everyone and celebrate Cape Cod’s Class of 2020!

Be sure to keep your eyes to the sky, and remember to share your photos using #Classof2020Flyover. Tag a senior to show them your support!

Our thanks go out to everyone who has helped us make today happen. We could not have done this without the support and enthusiasm of the schools, media, and community.

From all of us at Shepley and the Cape Cod community, good luck to you Class of 2020. It’s time to celebrate!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Mission control is running the countdown with 1 day left until launch time for our Class of 2020 Flyover which will cover most of the Cape between 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM Thursday. A great idea is still only a bit of inspiration until you put some perspiration behind it and bring it life. Our Marketing Department has been working up a sweat with all the details and the flyover has truly taken on big dimensions and gained just the type of following we hoped it would. Our local high schools from Falmouth all the way to Nauset have all been great in their excitement and enthusiasm. Each has developed their own plan to share the experience with their seniors and community. Not only are we looking forward to helping bring together the graduates, we are also excited about putting the focus on these graduates to families and friends throughout the area.

Thanks to all who have been writing us in support of this event. You have helped make this a big deal. We ask that you keep your eyes to the sky on Thursday at around the time that the map below shows the flight in the vicinity of your area.

Share your photos of the banner or your graduates, using the hashtag #Classof2020Flyover and tag a senior to show them your support. Thanks, Cape Cod….you make it happen!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Any of us born in the second half of the 20th century remember the dramatic space launches of the 1960’s through 1980’s that included the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle missions. Those were thrilling times. The voice of Mission Control counting down the minutes and seconds to lift-off created a gravity and tension that stopped much of daily life, until we got to the final countdown. The last 10 seconds were individually counted with great drama and then lift-off!

T-minus was simply the time remaining before the pre-determined launch time. Opinions differ on whether the “T” stands for Test or “T” stands for Takeoff. In the case of this Thursday, the 4th, “T” will stand for Takeoff at 11 AM. Chris Siderwicz of New England Aerial Advertising, based at the Marstons Mills Airport, will be picking up a 100’ long by 15’ high banner from the field using a 300’ tow rope with a tail hook to grab the banner loop and launch the banner, congratulating all 2020 graduates on their achievements.

Towing the banner will be a souped-up 1960’s Super Cub with an extra 100HP over its original 60 HP motor. The banner weight is only about 100 pounds, but the drag of towing a 1500 sq. ft. banner is something else. Chris says the plane is well up to the task, and that once aloft, the plane settles into a 50% power cruise airspeed of between 45 and 55 mph. Specialized piloting skills are certainly put to use towing that size of rudder behind the plane. At flight’s end, the banner is ultimately released over the home field at low altitude before landing.

We can’t make up for all that these graduates have missed this Spring due to COVID-19, but we can help celebrate their alternative commencement and give them our support!

Please keep your eyes on the sky on Thursday and help us congratulate our Class of 2020.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Spring is usually a pretty brief event on the Cape and Islands, but this year set records for what we missed. School seniors missing the best semester of their academic career and the final term as a senior. No spring sports, spring plays, or chance to savor the past 4 years before setting out to start all over again as a freshman in the next stages of life. And perhaps worst of all, no graduation ceremony celebrated with family and friends, at least not in the conventional way.

Dan Whiting and Colleen Kiceluk of our Marketing Department proposed a graduation flyover of Cape Cod to bring together students, families, and friends and to recognize our 2020 graduates. Making this a successful reality meant getting our schools involved, students interested, and getting the word out through our local media. It meant promoting the positive and the good instead of dwelling on the negative and the missing.

In a matter of just two weeks, we have a day, Thursday June 4th, a route, a schedule (see the map below), and support from the schools and media, and a groundswell of enthusiasm from the public.

The purpose is to focus attention on our graduates and to help celebrate their success. The payback is the paying it forward. We are launching the class of 2020 into their next phase of their lives. They are not just our future, but a big part of our present.

This week will be all about giving our community a rallying point and supporting our 2020 graduates. Let’s make their day! Each day this week we will share the details of how this event unfolds.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Every crisis has its opportunities along with its losses. Despite the incredible hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for so many and the isolation it has created, it has also brought us together in some interesting ways too. Daily, I have had replies to our update emails. There are two themes that come through clearly. The first is the level to which we understand that we are in this together. Second is the fact that we have seen many parts of what we are experiencing before, but just may not have known what we were looking at.

John Fallon sent us a great clip from an old Cheers episode, in response to the photo of the “New Norm” (Norm from the TV show Cheers wearing a surgical mask) that had been shared with us by Bob Howes and was published in this column last week. Please give the clip, click here.

Thanks, John! Who’d have thought? The take-away is that even in very challenging times, we still can reach out to others to share, to comfort, and soon, to entertain. Pay it forward with a gesture, a call, an email, or a text. It’s the best form of contagion.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

It is fascinating to look at the financial markets as indicators of future confidence in business and our economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq are all exhibiting bullish attitudes. This is leading many money managers to predict the potential for these indices to surpass the record highs they hit just this past March.

This is not inconsistent with a close parallel that we can find to today’s COVID-19 Pandemic. That parallel is the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919. Both caused financial retraction of similar strength and depth in a sharp decline over just a couple of months, as contrasted with the Great Recession of 2008, which took a full two years to hit bottom. The sharpness of our recent market decline, is a factor that many experts now say can create a bounce back to propel the market to new heights, in a similar way to the remarkable market recovery in 1920’s.

For all the recent talk of U shaped and hockey stick shaped recovery patterns, the new graphic being offered is the check mark recovery. That would go nicely with our new found summer weather!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

With the peak of the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 behind us, it is interesting to look back at why it happened. Why toilet paper, of all things? When people are faced with a big loss of control, we tend to look for ways to rebuild our security. Hoarding may feel like a way to bolster that sense of security by taking action to address our feeling of risk. Toilet paper presents an inexpensive and easy way to take that action. Production didn’t fall domestically and the shortage was not the result of reduced imports. 90% of the US toilet paper supply is produced domestically and the other 10% comes from Canada and Mexico. Actual usage likely didn’t change but may have shifted from the office to home for those working remotely. Funny to feel better looking at a closet full of toilet paper, but that is how it happened. And now the shelves are filling back up.

A similar situation happened in the US in 1973 and in Venezuela in 2013, where the situation got so tense that the Venezuelan government nationalized a toilet paper factory to better control and boost production. Late night talk show legend, Johnny Carson, fueled the 1973 US situation by joking about it on his show to an estimated 20 million viewers, and the now familiar bare shelf scenario became a common sight throughout America. Mr. Carson apologized on his program afterwards for helping create the panic and it wasn’t his last run in with the bathroom industry. He ended up in court with a Porta-Potty company whose slogan “Here’s Johnny” apparently rubbed Mr. Carson the wrong way.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay focused on what we can do to help bring COVID-19 to an end.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

This Memorial Day weekend will break a tradition. It is the first time an Indianapolis 500 will be postponed. While during the years of WW1 and WW2, the event was not held six times, this will be the first time ever that it will take place outside the month of May. This year, it has been postponed from May 24th until August 23rd, 2020. Officials made the call and are confident the event can be successfully held in three months.

Memorial Day started to be observed after the Civil War but it did not become an observed federal holiday until 1971. On Memorial Day at 3 PM a National Moment of Remembrance will take place. Please honor the men and women of our armed forced who have served, especially those who have given their lives for our country. Also, please think of the 94,000 people who have lost their lives over the past three months to COVID-19.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

After yesterday’s commentary on the new normal versus the next normal, we got some good feedback. Pictured below, courtesy of our friend, Bob Howes at Eastward Companies in Chatham, is what he called the new NORM. Great image!

While towns and state government have not yet taken an income cut like most of the rest of the world has, they are now feeling the delayed effects, starting with reduced sales tax, meals tax, rooms tax, and short term rentals tax. Then moving to reduced fees, revenues from permitting and application fees, and then on to lower income tax receipts. All these items will be reduced by the shutdowns and slow downs of the pandemic.

Add to this the deficit coverage from reduced revenue at state or local run entities from the Steamship Authority, to bus and train terminals, to the airports, and you can imagine that the public sector will feel the same type of pains as the private sector has. The Next Normal is a multilayered onion with new layers peeled back daily.

The good news, according to Washington DC Economist Elliot Eisenberg, is that a recession in which the economy drops so fast and steeply for reasons other than financial ones, has the ability to rebound much more quickly than an economic meltdown, such as 2008. Our recent economy was fine until COVID-19 arrived and has good reason to go back to being fine, once confidence is restored. Lastly, Eisenberg pointed out that MA is the superstar of all New England in terms of population gain, a key economic driver. Keep the steering wheel straight and don’t back off the throttle!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

I titled today’s comment “The New Normal”, because it would prompt me to tell you that I don’t like or even agree with the term “New Normal”. The New Normal implies something that will stay that way for quite a while to come. It’s inaccurate. Normal isn’t static, it is evolutionary. Therefore, I’d rather embrace the idea of “Next Normal”, with the understanding that it’s just a step rather than a state.

Most of us will not spend the rest of our careers working remotely, but a lot of us have recently. Most of us who own small businesses will not see ourselves put out of businesses overnight by government order, but in the past two months, a lot of us have. That is heartbreaking, but it’s not a new permanent state of what will be. Most of us have a new real appreciation for what childcare providers do, but likely you won’t be baby sitting the kids every day until they grow up to get out on their own.

Right now, we’ve had to make huge adjustments to our lives as part of this current “next normal”. These conditions may be with us longer than we thought or want them to be. We will adjust and adapt, and these too shall pass, as they always do. They will become our old normal and we will move into the next normal. I’m looking forward to it! Stay focused on where you want to go and not just on where we’ve been.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Over the weekend, I asked one of the smartest people I know what he would unveil on Monday 5/18/20 for Phase 1 Re-Opening Protocols if were he sitting in the Governor’s seat. He had an interesting take on the situation. He said, “One size never fits all.” And if you look at the real “at risk” part of our population (see page 11 at the Mass Gov COVID Dashboard, which is a treasure trove of COVID-19 statistics) people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are definitely at a significantly higher risk.

His theory is rather than shut down the economy, isn’t it more effective to protect this vulnerable group? Of all people testing positive for COVID-19, less than 3% end up being hospitalized. So most people can get it, do not die from it, and get over it. His point was that instead of protecting everyone from everybody else, you would do better protecting the people most at risk from the rest of us. Another big determining factor is where you live. Middlesex and Suffolk Counties are absolutely the riskiest places to live. Barnstable or Berkshire Counties are at the other end of the scale (see page 12 of the COVID-19 Dashboard).

What I learned from the charts is that those who are under 60 years old (younger is better), male (slightly better odds), residents of Nantucket (lowest case incidence and death toll in the state), with no previous hospitalizations (your odds go up significantly), and no underlying conditions (obesity, lung, heart, or immune system deficiencies really work against you with COVID-19) are in the lowest risk group.

So if my highly intelligent friend were Governor, he would say that three more weeks of social isolation will probably have less effect on our health than those three weeks of shutdown will have on our economy. His approach would be that you protect your high risk residents at a much lower cost than shutting down the economy for any longer than necessary. Interesting to consider! Besides our own health, we must keep the country’s economic health in mind too.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

I use March 15th as my beginning date of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the date at which I remember the closures of schools, restaurants, and public facilities started happening in widespread earnest. It was the date that our lives began to undergo serious change. We are now ending our second month from that date. Even a month ago, a lot of us likely figured it would be back to business as usual in the month of May. We can see now that 1) no one really had a very clear picture of where this was headed and this will be a much longer haul than anyone could have imagined, 2) some people may have over reacted out of fear and 3) some people have definitely under-reacted and not taken the threat seriously enough.

The chart below is from a disaster management firm called Early Alert. Our friend, Peter Quinlan of the Fred C. Church Insurance Agency, has sent us this and more daily in a very detailed report. As Massachusetts ranks third in the nation in confirmed cases and fatalities, I highlighted our numbers and those of NY and NJ who are worse off. To put things in perspective, these three states NY, NY, and MA, have a total of 579,302 confirmed COVID-19 cases or 40.5% of the national total and 42,854 total deaths which is 50% of the national death toll. If our measures have felt severe, there is good reason they should be. We are in the three sickest places in the country. It’s not a surprise that NY, NJ, and MA license plates are not welcome in other states.

We visit a lot of jobsites where people are serious about safety protocols but are still seeing some where people are not. That is morally wrong. Our safety responsibility is greater than just for ourselves. We are still adding 1658 new cases to MA each day! We have to change and get this under control in order to get the parts of our economy who are still shut down, back to work. It is not business as usual for some 30 million unemployed people in this country. Please help your economy, your community, and your country by taking safety seriously until we have COVID-19 under control!

As of Friday, May 15, 2020 here are the COVID-19 figures:

  • There are now 4,443,900+ cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with over 303,400+ confirmed deaths, which is a fatality ratio of 6.8%.
  • The United States is now reporting 1,429,971+ cases of COVID-19 with 85,686+ confirmed deaths which is a fatality ratio of 5.9%. This is an increase of 27,221+ cases and 1,739+ deaths in the past 24 hours.
  • No new countries have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours according to the WHO.

 

Click here for the breakdown state by state for total confirmed cases/ new cases in last 24 hours/deaths (as of 5/15/20).

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

I have gotten a number of e-mails and phone comments about the piece I did a few days ago on the Liberty Mutual ads that features LiMu Emu and Doug. I even got contacted by two of our insurance brokers saying they enjoyed the read and that they could understand my pain. It made me think a bit deeper on the subject.

Since Neanderthal times, we have used animal images to express ourselves. Animals help express capability, strength, loyalty, beauty, and power. Iconic brands using animal images that quickly come to mind are Lacoste (alligator), Jaguar (sleek and powerful), Spiderman (sticky and nimble), Playboy’s bunny (‘nuf said), Red Bull (adventure), MGM’s lion (power), Ferrari’s prancing horse (speed and glamour) and of course, Budweiser’s Clydesdales (what an image!). Insurance companies using spokes animals, just to name a few, include Aflac (the duck), Pacific Life (the whale), Geiko (the Gecko) and now the one that still gives me the hives, the Liberty Mutual LiMu Emu with Doug the human sidekick.

Why animals for insurance companies? Well consider the subject material…. insurance. Insurance is viewed by most of us as dry, somewhat boring, very detailed, and generally incomprehensible. In a national study done in 2016, 50% of US respondents could not properly define what a deductible was. To take the edge off the very dry qualities of insurance, the industry has resorted to humor using characters like the Mayhem Man (Allstate), Flo (Progressive), Jake who wears kahkis at 3 AM (State Farm), and the dynamic duo of Shaquille O’Neal and the General (The General). The thought is to make the topic palatable and memorable.

The key for any of us in promoting our businesses is to make our image sticky enough to remember, tempting enough to swallow, but digestible enough to stay down. Sorry Liberty Mutual, I am still reaching for the Pepto-Bismol and wishing I were listening to Peyton Manning singing “Nationwide is on your side!”

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Self-quarantine and stay at home orders don’t just apply to us, they apply to everyone including hackers, phishers, and all the bad guys of the computer underworld. They have more time on their hands than usual and are putting that time to nefarious use, trying to get into your server(s) and hold you up. According to our IT wizard, John Howell, instructions for how to set up Crypto Locker and other similar ransomware packages are available on the dark web for purchase. These programs, in the hands of a hacker, can lock your computer files by encrypting them to deny you access until you pay a ransom. If you’re thinking this can’t happen to you…it can and it is happening with greater frequency to businesses of all sizes. Larger corporations and institutions may look like juicier targets but are more likely to have counter measures in place to prevent outside access, so smaller businesses become more and more likely targets. Ransomware is being compared more and more to a human viral disease, as both are hard to track and both can be highly contagious. Can you imagine the effect of a data pandemic? The image is chilling in light of what we know about the impact of COVID-19 on our world.

We hear of more and more cases of smaller businesses being hit and the hackers are getting increasingly sophisticated. The first known ransomware event took place in 1989, put out on floppy discs (remember those?) to 20,000 researchers in the medical community. While crude by today’s standards, it was effective, embedding itself in each user’s system and progressively making higher ransom demands for data release. At Shepley, we get a large amount of email, about 80% of which is filtered out as spam and malicious looking. The rest of the traffic is up to us to stay diligent and aware of. Any email from outside your system should be reviewed. If there is the slightest question of whether an email is legitimate, don’t open it, call the sender first to see if they sent it. Just this week, we have had several customers get hacked. The hackers then hijack their address to send out emails appearing to be from the real account holder with files attached, hoping that we’ll open them and let them gain entry. These can look very real and legitimate. None of us can afford to be casual, right now we have several customers who have had data locked and held for ransom. Who is to say that if ransom is paid, that the data will be released?

Cyber insurance is available from various insurance companies and that can help in two ways: 1) Insurers often offer training and education on cyber risk to try to help prevent cyber theft and 2) insurers can (for a fee) connect you with cybersecurity consultants who can review your system and user protocols. The real answer is creating internal security disciplines and evolving them as the world evolves. What used to come in as crudely written emails, loaded with English as a second language and grammatical or spelling errors, now arrives as professional looking emails, properly researched so the hackers know enough about you or your company to sound legitimate. You have a lot on your plate right now, it is critical to be careful not to move from one pandemic to another. Please keep your data safe, and keep the cyber criminals at bay. They throw out a thousand hooks looking for the easy catch…don’t be the one to bite!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

What mellows with age even better than a 25 year old whiskey, a pungent European cheese, or a fine bottle of wine? I say people. Now, not every bottle turns into a classic. Some never get better than the day they were bottled but others put age and experience to work and develop a complex character and combination of flavors that come together in symphonic unison to make a classic. I feel that way about people. Over time we get to learn, understand, and enjoy their character. It adds a depth to our experience.

40 years ago, Jay Gould came to Shepley. He had some experience in the industry and I remember joking that we wouldn’t hold that against him. We weren’t looking for experience as much as we were looking for intelligence, attitude, and aptitude. I saw all of these in Jay. It was a different world in those days. A twelve hour work day was considered getting out early, people brought their dogs to work, and Jay more often than not, had long hair and a headband. Everyone did every function, as we were a small group and there was lots to do. Jay put up with a lot of our crazy start up ideas and innovations that kept coming in a steady flow. We were after all, out to change the world of lumber and building materials. As new equipment came on line, Jay would often be the first to take on the new challenge. In 1988, when our first boom truck arrived. It was by far the most expensive purchase of our young careers. I remember sitting down with Jay, saying, “I can teach you the basics, but you’ll have to figure out all the refinements.” And, of course, he did! I could trust him to make it work and master the learning curve safely and successfully. I could also trust his judgement in working out a new challenge. Whether it be mastering the art of delivering huge lumber loads with our hydraulically operated slide back allowing lumber bodies to land effortlessly on the ground instead of being dropped off the back of a conventional flatbed or rigging up a way to make a successful delivery around obstacles such as wires, tree branches, and all the other challenges that a job site can present. Jay is a creative thinker who always humbly dismisses his inventive approach by saying he was “just taking the lazy man’s way out”. I disagree….he takes the smart way and the safe way out. Jay has a forty year career of doing things intelligently and successfully. I know he’ll say I am jinxing him by putting the spotlight on him, but again, I trust him, so I’ll take that risk. Thanks for 40 years so far, Jay. We’re not done yet. By the way, I have a crazy challenge I need your help with and as I have said so many times over the years, “It’ll only take a few minutes and we’ll have fun figuring this out!” Jay will smile at that and then get down to getting it done! When you see him please tell him you know that he is a very special vintage, carefully matured and developed with time. Happy 40th Anniversary, Jay!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Hospital workers and first responders have gotten a lot of well-deserved acclaim for putting themselves in harm’s way in their dealing with COVID-19 victims. They truly have been on the frontlines of this pandemic as they are confronted daily with those who are very sick and those who have succumbed to the virus. Our hats are off in admiration and gratitude for the selfless courage they have shown. These people have cared for so many affected by the virus, while risking their own health to save others. Our Marketing Director, Dan Whiting, got us involved with a neighboring restaurant, Spoon and Seed, to help them fund, prepare, and deliver meals to healthcare workers. After working long hours under great pressure, they need the support and kind gestures from their community. Spoon and Seed’s program started as a way to pay-it-forward to healthcare workers, and has since grown to help countless individuals, families, and organizations in-need such as Cape Abilities, Independence House, Barnstable Fire Department, and more. We have been happy to help!

Another group of workers who are on a different type of frontline are our grocery store workers. Think of the volume of customers they have helped through this pandemic, with a lot less protection in the beginning than has been organized now. For many weeks, they worked without the current safety protocols of customer limits, directional aisles, plexiglass barriers, masks, and social distancing. While the world was learning how to adapt, our supermarket heroes had to carry-on regardless. They have kept the shelves stocked (not counting the great toilet paper shortage, which still is a puzzle I’d like to understand) and have really done a remarkable job on the second battle front of essential supplies and food.

Working with KAM Appliances of Hyannis, Hanover, and Nantucket, we have teamed up to help feed supermarket workers at Shaw’s in Hyannis who are often working extra long shifts to meet the public demand. KAM is doing the cooking with their own in-house executive chef, and Shepley is helping with financial support and delivery services. Two local companies helping other essential businesses through the pandemic. The worst of times still offers us the opportunity to find the best in ourselves! Please pay it forward by thanking the supermarket workers who have been keeping everyone going through this crisis.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Two weeks ago we mentioned the Housing Assistance Corporation’s (HAC) Workforce Housing Relief Fund. This was a perfect match for an idea started by Brian Dacey of Bayside Building Inc. in Centerville. He asked, “What are we doing to protect our local workforce, and how do we keep people in their homes?” Tough times breed innovative ideas, and Brian is someone who puts his money into action. He put down the first $10,000 to get the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) involved. Home Builders Executive Officer, Chris Flanagan, jumped in with both feet, hooked up with Anne VanVleck, Chief Development Officer of HAC, and a new alliance was born.

The best part of this joint effort was that it can leverage the infrastructure that HAC already has in place: the non-profit 501(c)(3) status to allow tax deductibility for donors, the fundraising infrastructure to collect and handle the funds, and the experience and staff to receive applications from those in need and to quickly and efficiently evaluate that need and how best to help.

In times like these two great organizations working together effectively to help local workforce families stay in their homes. With all that this pandemic brings, the thought of losing housing can literally be the last straw for many.
To date, HBRACC has raised $70,000. This is a wonderful start for just a few weeks in, but we need many more of you to help in whatever size donation you can. Pulling together is key, and this is the time to help those who really need it. Including HBRACC donations, HAC has raised $750,000 towards its goal of $1.5 million. We all need to pitch in.

Donations can be made online directly through the Workforce Housing Relief Fund GoFundMe page. Please show your industry pride by noting “HBRACC” or making a comment to indicate your industry affiliation. For more information on the fund, please click here. This link gives you background on the Workforce Housing Relief Fund and also is something you may share with someone who could benefit from it.

These are the times when we must stand together….even if we’re 6’ apart! Please considering making a donation today. Stay safe, stay healthy stay involved!Never before have advertisers had such access to us as an audience. Sequestered as we are in home quarantine, we are easy to find, now often glued to the TV or computer screen. Normally, I am not a big TV watcher, so the past two months have been an education. My wife is a counter and she has figured out that the average bundle of TV ads runs between 9-11 consecutive ads before returning you to the program you actually tuned in to watch. We know that a typical 1 hour show runs about 42 actual minutes, leaving 18 minutes for advertisers, so 30% of the time you are tuned in, you are in the hands of advertisers. Sitting through a presentation by the cable advertising salespeople a few months ago, I was amazed to learn of the data gathering collaboration between the cables companies and the credit rating agencies. Your cable box is collecting data on what you watch and how long you watch it for, and cross referencing that information to your household credit information from the credit rating agencies, which provide information tied to your address such as credit scores and median household income. They didn’t say so, but I might suspect they even pull in registered voter information for your address too. It makes you wonder what other part of our digital finger prints are available to advertisers to precisely target advertising to our age group, ethnic group, gender group etc. All this brings me to one specific advertiser that is lobbing lots of expensive ads that aren’t working, at least for me. By now, every member of my family has learned that one more Liberty Mutual Lemu Emu ad may just send dad running out the front door like a crazy man. Sorry Liberty Mutual, but I am not going to buy insurance from a second cousin to an Ostrich and a seedy looking human side kick. I opened myself up for torment by letting my family members know these ads really got to me in the wrong way. Now, they’ll call me into the room, as if I’m missing something vital, only to subject me to the next torturous Liberty Mutual bad ad. Three lessons learned…1) other people, even those you love, will have fun with your frustration if you let them, especially when quarantined together 2) Dad still controls the remote, but only if he’s in the room, and 3) I’m very happy with our current insurance company, thank you!

Tony Shepley

Two weeks ago we mentioned the Housing Assistance Corporation’s (HAC) Workforce Housing Relief Fund. This was a perfect match for an idea started by Brian Dacey of Bayside Building Inc. in Centerville. He asked, “What are we doing to protect our local workforce, and how do we keep people in their homes?” Tough times breed innovative ideas, and Brian is someone who puts his money into action. He put down the first $10,000 to get the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) involved. Home Builders Executive Officer, Chris Flanagan, jumped in with both feet, hooked up with Anne VanVleck, Chief Development Officer of HAC, and a new alliance was born.

The best part of this joint effort was that it can leverage the infrastructure that HAC already has in place: the non-profit 501(c)(3) status to allow tax deductibility for donors, the fundraising infrastructure to collect and handle the funds, and the experience and staff to receive applications from those in need and to quickly and efficiently evaluate that need and how best to help.

In times like these two great organizations working together effectively to help local workforce families stay in their homes. With all that this pandemic brings, the thought of losing housing can literally be the last straw for many.
To date, HBRACC has raised $70,000. This is a wonderful start for just a few weeks in, but we need many more of you to help in whatever size donation you can. Pulling together is key, and this is the time to help those who really need it. Including HBRACC donations, HAC has raised $750,000 towards its goal of $1.5 million. We all need to pitch in.

Donations can be made online directly through the Workforce Housing Relief Fund GoFundMe page. Please show your industry pride by noting “HBRACC” or making a comment to indicate your industry affiliation. For more information on the fund, please click here. This link gives you background on the Workforce Housing Relief Fund and also is something you may share with someone who could benefit from it.

These are the times when we must stand together….even if we’re 6’ apart! Please considering making a donation today. Stay safe, stay healthy stay involved!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

There is no one who has not felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of us have been impacted financially, socially, and emotionally. Though we can’t control the virus yet, we still can control a lot of elements around the virus. Time is now starting to work for us instead of against us. Here is a link to the COVID-19 Tracking Project’s calculator that shows updated probability of new transmission of the virus by state and shows the historical trending. Here are my take-aways: 1) the states that did not shut down are now among those with the highest probability for new cases, and 2) MA really appears to be trending in the right direction. The probability index for new cases is in a definite downward trend with things looking much better by the end of May. This is good news, because we are coming from a bad place, ranking 4th in the country for number of cases and 5th in fatalities.

The chart is interactive so you can look at history by state and you can filter by largest states, different areas of the country, those states re-opened, and those who never sheltered. Draw your own conclusions. What we have all experienced is some fear, a lot of displacement with our lives turned on end, and an increased sense of isolation, which only heightens the level of fear and feeling of displacement.

What we crave and don’t get enough of is normal and familiar routine. That is where we have some control. You remember the old sage answer to the question “How do you eat an elephant?…One bite at a time.” It’s up to us to break down the flood of feelings and the torrent of “to do’s” that can paralyze us and find the place to take the first bite, and then the second. Even a nibble is better than no bite at all, then you need to turn that nibble into a chew. Find your rhythm to start making progress and make that rhythm your new familiar routine. You’ll really start to get somewhere…one bite at a time!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

With all the partisan politics in play these days, I heard a great comment the other day from our HR Manager, Maria Jones, who said, “Let’s fight the virus, not other people” Well put, Maria! I’ve had it up to here…or at least to here, with the fighting, the back biting, and the accusations laced with misinformation. If words could kill, we’d be in trouble and likely low on ammunition! But that’s the politics and the self interest side, along with the media frenzy and the pig pile of partisan news mongering.

Matthew Continetti, writing in the National Review, had a refreshing take on things, saying “The press is filled with heartwarming stories of people looking out for one another, formulating innovative ways to communicate and connect, sharing the surreal experiences of pandemic life.”

David Brooks, in the NY Times, said “We had to be set apart, to feel together.” I’ve been reading of neighborhoods looking like neighborhoods again with people strolling, enjoying the beginning of Spring weather. I’ve noticed beach parking lots quite full of cars, and their drivers out walking on the sand, on the sunny days and evenings. We’ve learned a lot in the past two months. Now the trick is not to forget. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive, and remember Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, the 10th.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

What will our post COVID world look like? We will have an enormous amount of economic damage to repair and a mountain of debt to pay off? Will any return to “normal” will be a return to a whole new normal? Working from home, once the dream of many, has not turned out to be everything that people thought it would be. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…but we still have to mow it. I hear many people talk about missing the social interaction of working with others, the opportunity for face to face collaboration, and the chance for socialization at the water cooler or the lunch table.

More subtle is most people’s need for structure. Lack of structure can lead to a feeling of some disorientation. If you’ve noticed recently that you aren’t sure what day it is and you felt like it was Thursday only to find out it was still Monday, or you have been surprised by looking at the clock and finding a vastly different time of day than you felt it was, you might be experiencing some of that disorientation. Perhaps you have felt like demoting the family pet or furloughing the kids, those are sure signs of telecommuter disorientation. It seems that we humans mostly do better with a defined structure, with organization and a work place that is removed from home. I actually hear people saying they can’t wait to get back to work. It turns out that most of us need separation of work and the rest of our lives to keep a balance. This pandemic has scrambled a lot of that of that balance. 30 million people in this country are out of work, and some of the rest of us may not appreciate our good fortune to be able to work, even if it is under different circumstances.

Perhaps the future will look a fair amount different. A lot of business traveling may get pushed to video meetings. We are getting pretty good at those. Many, but not all, office workers may do some amount of working from home to try to find the proper balance. We may drive less, and likely will fly less, for quite some time. This pandemic has been a hard re-set for a lot of parts of our lives. As we get to our new normal, and get back to more regular routines, we certainly will appreciate our families more. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. That could even lead to reinstating the family dog and giving the kids their old jobs back!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

On Friday, May 1st, Governor Baker put out his face mask order requiring everyone to wear masks unless proper social distancing may be maintained in public places, including all retail stores, and outdoors. It will take effect on Wednesday May 6th. Click here to view the Executive Order.

This is probably a good thing as it takes the debate of masks or no masks off the table for now. As a state, MA is still nationally ranked 4th in COVID-19 cases and 5th in COVID fatalities. Any form of prevention that helps us level and lower our pandemic case number is likely good. Our projection is looking encouraging, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Their chart shows the COVID-19 deaths tailing off to a virtual zero number by the end of the month for the country, as well as for MA. We have to remember that while MA is in the top 5 states as far as COVID-19 statistics, our neighbors to the north have numbers that are a fraction of ours. The entire state of Maine has 1,152 cases and 56 fatalities, while MA has 66,263 cases and 3,846 fatalities as of May 1st.

Mainers are getting restless. Last Thursday a local Bethel Maine restaurant owner, Rick Savage, went on national TV protesting the Governor’s order in Maine that forces his Sunday River Brew Pub to remain closed. He challenged the Governor to come down to Bethel, and announced that he was opening the next day, May 1st, in defiance of the closure order. And open he did to a crowd of several hundred people whose cars jammed the parking lot and spilled out onto the road shoulders. News media cameras were in attendance and recorded the lack of social distancing outside for those waiting in line. Inside tables were spaced 6’ apart and some employees were reported to be wearing masks. The combination of a good Spring day and a prolonged shutdown made for a boisterous protest, with people traveling from two hours and more away to attend. However, not everyone was in support, even in a state with one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 and a county (Oxford, ME) with total of just 15 cases and no deaths so far. Passers-by, with Maine license plates, were heard to yell out their open windows “Make America Well Again” to express their disapproval of the gathering.

We are headed for better times but polarized on the how and when we’ll get there. A lot of people are out of work and really hurting financially. Let’s fight COVID-19 and not each other. Please respect people’s right to distance and to protect themselves. This too shall pass.

Stay safe, stay aware, and stay healthy!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Of all the markets that we cover, Nantucket has been the hardest hit by COVID-19, not in terms of number of cases or fatalities, but in economic impact. In comments released yesterday, April 30th, by Gary Shaw, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, COVID-19 cases have been remarkably well-contained on Nantucket with only 12 confirmed cases on island as of April 29, and 23 days with no new cases.

While Nantucket has done extremely well health-wise, islanders have been hit hardest economically with a 5 week moratorium on all construction. Only two weeks ago was it modified to allow 4 workers maximum on any site, and only on sites specifically approved by the building department as being appropriately limited to exterior work.

We, as an industry, are extremely fortunate to be recognized by the State as an “essential industry” and to be allowed to work. Our industry lends itself naturally to social distancing. We are extremely fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to work when so many other sectors such as restaurants, hospitality, and entertainment cannot. We still have a long haul in front of us, and waiting for things to get better is not a workable strategy.

It is incumbent upon us to run our jobsites responsibly. The forms below show the lengths that we should be prepared to go to keep our workers and the general public safe. We are not in “business as usual” times, this is a complete paradigm shift that we must adapt to. Failure to do so carries two potential consequences: 1) spread of the virus or 2) legal enforcement or shut down.

Below are links to some of the best forms we have seen. They come from the Nantucket Builders Association (NBA), which has done an outstanding job dealing with the COVID-19 situation on Nantucket. We strongly urge you to review these documents and to use them as the basis of your COVID-19 preparedness program for your jobsite.

Establish your protocols and clearly spell them out with posted signage on site. Keep your records using the type of forms shown below in the Jobsite Forms Templates, and clearly spell out your COVID-19 preparedness plans for everyone on your jobsite. Hold regular tool box COVID-19 safety talks to make sure everyone is on board with your plan, and clearly state the consequences for failure to comply. For example, measures such as taking and recording employee’s temperatures before the start of work can help keep someone who is contagious off the job. It’s important that we think outside the box.

Our industry is known for creative problem solving. Safety is now, more than ever, a critical part of our business. Please show your business as one who takes public safety seriously.

Jobsite Form Templates
 
Covid-19 Preparedness Plans for Jobsites
 
 

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

OK, you’re going crazy sitting at home. Just the other day I told my wife something was driving me crazy. She replied “too late”, as if she suspected we might already be there. You miss your friends, you miss your freedom, and you really miss the chance to give someone you don’t live with a great big bear hug. I feel your pain, and so does most of the rest of the world.

We have a family game we called, “take the other side of the debate”. If you are arguing for one point of view, then you have to switch and argue the opposite. It helps you practice looking at things from another side and forces you to come up with new answers. In between the extremes we find invention and evolution.

Two months ago, who would have thought of Zoom cocktail parties? The Maine version of this is starting a big outdoor camp fire and parking pick-up trucks around it, properly distanced from each other, with beach chairs in the back all facing in, and letting the party start. “Wicked good fun”, as they say in Maine, but not something we’d likely have done before March 2020.

I have been impressed by how clever people are when we need to be. Who’d have ever thought we’d have almost 50 people at Shepley working from home to help maintain social distancing? Our hats go off to our IT Manager, John Howell, for pulling that off literally overnight. I am still impressed and in awe of that and how smoothly such a big change worked. I am also impressed by the patience our customers have shown with changing protocols, the way our suppliers have kept at it and maintained the supply chain with surprisingly little interruption, and I am impressed and grateful for how our Shepley staff have stayed hard at it with courage and grace to minimize interruptions in our service. Tough times truly show us for who we are. Thank you. We’re grateful to have the chance to serve you.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Many are describing the current COVID-19 situation as feelings of fear, death, loss, and disruption. Some people have even compared this pandemic to war. In a way, they’re right. We have an invisible enemy that we don’t fully understand. But, most of us have never been in conventional military combat. For those who have, we thank you for your service. This is a different type of combat. It is one that we are fighting from our living rooms, home offices, and dining room tables, while surrounded by family, pets, and the occasional in-law or two. Yes, it’s close combat, but in what other battle is your Internet connection or phone service a real concern or issue?

For a whole lot of people this is a battle of fear, anticipation, boredom, disruption, and loneliness. We are trying to remember what day of the week it is and overcome feelings of social dislocation. For a smaller number, it certainly is a very serious battle of physical loss of friends, family, jobs, businesses, and of purpose. If I start to feel sorry for myself, I need to think of those who really are suffering. Times like these are such wrenching paradigm shifts that they create tremendous opportunity for change, whether we want it or not. As self-quarantine and stay-at-home orders tend to narrow our view, it’s up to us to look at the bigger picture, think of others who really need our help, and start to pay it forward. My Aunt Nancy had a philosophy on life that can serve us well today. Every day, she said, do one thing for yourself and do at least one thing for someone else. Let’s get doing!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

If you want to understand the depth of the COVID-19 threat you need go no further than Hingham, MA to find the limits of human endurance. 49-year old Jim Bello, a very fit and athletic attorney, husband, and father of three, went for a hike in the White Mountains and developed a high fever that ultimately sent him to a local emergency room. This, in early March was before most of could have understood the threat of COVID-19, but the local ER doctors could see Jim’s situation was beyond their control and got him to Mass General Hospital. There despite his superior physical conditioning, the bicyclist, runner, and skier began to physically shut down. On a ventilator, as Mass General’s first intubated COVID-19 patient, his condition spiraled into Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

His lungs became so inflamed and flooded with fluid that they couldn’t transfer oxygen to his blood. He was sedated and given paralytic drugs to prevent him from trying to breathe on his own and do more damage. A respirator took over to breathe for him. Then began the rollercoaster ride of some improvement followed by significant worsening of his condition. The team of doctors tried all manner of medications and techniques but nothing seemed to help. Finally after looking at what one of the specialists called ‘the worst chest x-rays I have ever seen”, they resorted to a machine process called EMCO, in which blood is cycled from the patient through an oxygenator and pumped back in the patient. This is a very rare and extremely risky therapy with the potential for many bad risks of bleeding, stroke, or blood vessel collapse. EMCO doesn’t fix the patient, it only allows them to stay alive, at great risk, while other solutions are sought.

With all the measures being taken, days and weeks went by with no gain, and the doctors had to level with Jim’s wife, Kim, that his chances were worse than slim and that one small event might be more than his weakened system could handle. The doctors finally told Kim that she could visit her husband for 15 minutes, only the second time in a month she had been allowed to see him and perhaps in the doctor’s minds, the last. She stayed with him for three hours, touching him, squeezing his hand, telling him that his family needed him, asking him to fight through, and begging him not to leave them. Miraculously, three days later, he began to show small signs of improvement that he hadn’t shown in weeks.

He finally started to make real gains, came off the EMCO, then off the ventilator. His doctors said you can’t underestimate what a difference his wife’s visit must have made, because nothing else had worked. His progress continued to the point where he was wheeled out of ICU and back to a regular room, a miracle man. The hospital staff applauded him as he traveled down the hall. And not long after, he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital and then finally home. 32 days on a ventilator, brushes with death as close as a person can get, every procedure and medication in the Mass General ICU black bag tried, and yet love was what seemed to break death’s grip.

If someone you know doesn’t take COVID-19 seriously, and doesn’t understand what’s at stake for themselves or others they come in contact with, tell them they need to read about Jim. To find the full story, click here.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

What’s in a name? We all know that coronavirus has no relation to the Corona beer brand. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the sales of Corona beer, it has done so for reasons other than a similar sounding name. InBev, the Belgian brewing giant who leads the world in beer production and is the owner of not only the Corona brand, but also the Budweiser and Stella Artois brands, has seen first quarter earnings off by about 10% with a sales decline of over $300 million for that period. Significant drop-offs in demand for beer in China during the first two months of the year, brought on by the COVID-19 spread, have now been followed by a greater reduction throughout the rest of the world, regardless of brand. It’s a myth that the coronavirus just reduced the sale of Corona beer, it has reduced the sales of all brands. 

So what else is in the name? Coronavirus, when seen under a microscope at great magnification, appears to have a spiky crown (or Corona in Latin) on its surface. Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. Other members of the family with familiar names are the MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) virus, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus, and the newest SARS-COV2, which was named in February of 2019. So while we have been using coronavirus and COVID-19 as synonyms, coronavirus is the general virus family name, and SARS-COV2 is the specific virus name for this new virus. But the actual disease caused by this specific virus is called COVID-19. CO=Corona, VI=Virus, D= Disease, and 19 is the year it was named. 

An article by Lauren Krouse in Women’s Health recently described the World Health Organization (WHO) as having an actual manual called Best Practices in Naming New Diseases, to “minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare and to avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, regional, professional, or ethnic groups”. Nice to know we won’t risk offending anyone with an insulting name for a deadly disease. I just hope we spend our time developing the vaccine and not worrying about what to name it.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay aware!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

In our lives, up until now, none of us have attached the importance given to toilet paper, gloves, and face masks. Ok, I’ve gotten past the toilet paper, and gloves seem to be fairly easily available. But facemasks are still mostly a back-order item, and a pretty expensive one at that. You may have the chance to solve two problems at once with face masks; you can make your own masks, and clean out a dresser drawer or two. My formula is that if I haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the past two years, I’m guessing the chances are quite small that that garment will ever meet the public again. So dive into that t-shirt drawer, pull out some old favorites that you haven’t see in some time, and think about putting them back to work. Time Magazine, in their April 20th edition, had an article on homemade masks. They even included instructions on how you make one (shown below).

The CDC has changed its original recommendation from not wearing a mask unless the wearer was sick themselves or caring for someone sick, to now saying that all people should wear medical or non-medical masks when they leave home. Scientists now know that many people may be infected but not exhibit symptoms, and masks reduce the possibility of transmission. I think masks do something else too, they remind us of the threat and give us a visual cue to pay attention. Anyone over the age of 45 somehow survived childhood without wearing ski helmets or bicycle helmets, and may have actually been embarrassed had they been seen wearing one. Now they’d look odd without one. Seatbelts are part of the same evolution. And aren’t we much safer now that we all wear them? Ah, but I date myself to any younger readers.

The bottom line is that there is no proven downside risk to wearing a mask, surgical or not. The CDC maintains that something is better than nothing at all. Just remember that masks are only one part of PPE and that social distancing is another highly important part of hygiene protocol. So go ahead, bring those old Journey or Queen t-shirts back into style and put them to a whole new use. Me? I’m more of a bandana guy myself. Each to his or her own. But stay safe, stay aware, and stay healthy.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

 

Communication in times like these is key. We have the handicap of social distancing. Since so much of our communication is now digital not verbal, we have the further challenge of missing social cues, facial expressions, and inflections that make conversation the art that it can be. Sound and tone can speak as loudly and eloquently as the words that make up the message. Today, we’re missing a lot of that. 

Last week, for our company “Safety Stand Down” message about maintaining jobsite and workplace safety protocols, I didn’t send an e-mail. Instead I made a video and sent it to our Shepley staff. Making our message personal is key in times when we are socially distanced. An e-mail, or a text, doesn’t exactly give much of yourself to the recipient. A video message is a bigger impact with a lot richer content. These days it can be as simple as using your smart phone camera or one of the many teleconferencing apps.

The same goes for keeping communication two-way instead of one-way. How do we command behavior? We make a policy. Frankly, I think lately we have all had enough policies thrown at us to last for quite some time. Rules and policies are necessary, but we all must try not to turn policies into a one-way communication blanket that just smothers the situation. Good policies should have ears and we should be able to listen to feedback from the people to whom these policies are given. And good policies should retain the ability to change and improve. 

At Shepley, we work hard to listen and learn and we always have room for improvement. We want your feedback, and we want to hear your concerns. We know these are very challenging times with a lot of anxiety. Don’t isolate, open up. Simply hit reply to the message for a start. Instead of my way or your way, let’s do our best to make it “our “way! We’re in this together.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

In past 5 or 6 weeks, we’ve seen the COVID-19 pandemic not only change our lives, but other things around us too. Just like the small green sprouts have pushed through the end of winter on their way to becoming daffodils, it starts with something small and can grow to be something significant. The stay-at-home orders around the country and the world have reduced gasoline consumption by an estimated 55% for March and April as people drive significantly less. Gas prices have plummeted as well because of lower demand. Auto insurance rates have dropped some 25% in many states for the period between March 1 and May 31 due to much lower auto usage. Pollution levels have fallen significantly because of the lower vehicle and factory emissions outputs. You might not recognize the LA skyline these days without its belt of smog! We are teleconferencing for everything from work meetings to Yoga sessions to Zoom cocktail parties. The other day I even had a doctor’s visit by video chat. Jigsaw puzzles and good old-fashioned reading seem to be newly popular again.

Our world has been truly turned upside down in so many ways, some absolutely terrible, while other disruptions have actually been beneficial. Once we get used to the new, we may be able to see the old for what it was or what it wasn’t. We will be forced out of some of our old habits. You may fight for what’s worth fighting for, but also learn what to embrace. Times like this make for a brave new world.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

If you’ve ever wondered why all of our sweatshirts, t-shirts, and other wearables always have the phrase “Attitude is Everything” on the left chest area, now is the moment it becomes clear. We cannot control a lot of what happens to us, sometimes we can only control how we react to what happens. We are able to choose our attitude and our reaction. That choice can sometimes be the lifeline which we cling to when times get very tough.

Choice is a privilege, and an earned one at that. An easy choice is one that anyone might make, the harder choices are the ones reserved for those who have worked and trained for them. If we choose only to see what’s wrong around us, then we may have deprived ourselves of the opportunity to work a little harder to find what’s good around us. With all that is sad and painful around us today, it’s still our choice as to how we react and what we take away from each experience.

Attitude is Everything!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

During times of change, it is natural to struggle to get our bearings. Unfamiliar conditions, the stress of the unknown, and the barrage of new information that we must sort out and store can be intimidating and feel overwhelming. The COVID-19 pandemic has served up a huge amount of fear and unknown. Besides being a true test for all, it may also be likely to change the way things are done in the future. That is a lot to take in.

I have been thinking about the way this all feels as it unfolds and I have noticed several things. Time has slowed down for everyone. The last month has felt like 6 months for most of us. People frequently say they have trouble remembering which day of the week it is and have often said they thought it felt like Thursday, when it was still just Monday afternoon.

The Doppler Effect is what makes a train sound different as it approaches you, than when it passes you and speeds off. As it approaches, sound waves are compressed and hit your ears at a faster rate with a higher pitch. Then as it passes you and heads away, the sound waves become uncompressed and hit your ear at a slower rate, causing the sound to take on a lower pitch. Same train, same sound, but different relative vantage point for the listener and therefore the sound appears to change.

I believe we experience an emotional Doppler Effect when our lives feel in crisis. The urgency in which conditions come at us is initially compressed, higher pitched, and very intense. As time passes and the situation plays out, we gain experience and understanding. Our fear begins to diminish and we can more rationally process the individual elements instead of feeling. The pitch drops lower and the feeling of danger diminishes.

That is what we have to remember as we work through this and try to help others. One size does not fit all. Have patience, have faith, and work on understanding what others hear. Like the train…this too shall pass.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

The Workforce Housing Relief Fund has developed great momentum this week, raising just under $45,000 in the past few days! As you will likely remember from an update sent earlier this week, this effort is a partnership between the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) and Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC). The synergy of the two organizations is perfect. HAC is already set up to receive the funds, manage the need evaluation, and disburse the money in a monitored way to make sure that maximum effect is achieved. 

HAC is accepting applications right now and applicants may contact their intake counselors at hac@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400. HAC puts their experience to use in evaluating each application, ranking and scoring the need, and managing the payments to make sure they reach the right place, including making payments directly to landlords. This is Housing Assistance Corporation’s business focus, area of expertise, and a part of what HAC already does for our community.

Our HBRACC mission in this, is to drive awareness and raise money. The service industries, including construction and related trades, are the backbone of our local Cape and Islands economy. Our workers need our support through this pandemic. Their lives are disrupted enough by the financial challenges of the COVID-19 situation. It is critical that we keep people in their homes, as that is the foundation of their families and their lives. We have a real opportunity to show our community leadership, by banding together as an industry to help finance this Workforce Housing Relief Fund. Housing Assistance Corporation will be using our donations to further leverage State and local Town money to help multiply the efforts of our donations.

To donate to the Workforce Housing Relief Fund, please contact HAC Chief Development Officer, Anne VanVleck, at avanvleck@haconcapecod.org or 508-737-6146. Checks may be sent to Anne’s attention at Housing Assistance Corp, 460 West Main St., Hyannis MA 02601. Please mark “HBRACC contribution” in the memo line of the check to make sure your industry affiliation is recognized.

For more information, please visit www.haconcapecod.org .The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod will be sending out e-mail notifications recognizing those who contribute.

Thank you for showing your support and paying it forward!

Tony Shepley

As we finally begin the Spring that none of us shall soon forget, we should remember that with the season also comes allergies. Doctors say that allergies tend to be head-related, with nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat. COVID-19 symptoms are more chest-related, with difficulty breathing and coughing. These days, anything that feels out of the ordinary gives us cause for concern. If you feel sick, don’t leave your house, and consult with your doctor. It is always best to play it safe.

If you do have tendencies to spring allergies, don’t forget that we are now entering prime-time for allergens and pollen. Click here to easily check the pollen level online.

Local well-known Cape Cod landscaper, Tim Acton, says this is the time of year when the oaks are producing their invisible pollen, whereas the pines, with their much more visible yellow pollen don’t show until late May or June. Sunny days will show a higher pollen count, whereas rainy days will have a lower count. So if you are prone to allergies, you may want to consider trying your preferred allergy medications.

The Cape and Islands are known to be quite high in allergens compared to other areas of the country. What you are experiencing might just be part of the normal seasonal cycle, but the appearance of these or any other symptoms in the middle of today’s pandemic can be unsettling. Think about calming your body’s reaction to pollen and other allergens.

These pollens and allergens are also another good reason to think about wearing your mask, which can help reduce the amount of these irritants that you inhale. The same goes for dust, saw dust, concrete dust, and other elements commonly found on job sites. The more you keep these out of your system, the better you will feel! 

Stay safe, stay focused, stay aware, and stay healthy!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

As the wheels of government turn, we also know they turn slowly, government assistance can be a great help, but help that doesn’t show up as quickly as it is needed. The concept of a Workforce Housing Relief Fund is something that the Housing Assistance Corporation in Hyannis had already been working on. Brian’s idea appealed to the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) and that brought the two organizations together and lead to HBRACC partnering with HAC to support their Workforce Housing Relief Fund.

Right out of the gate, in just the first couple of days, HBRACC members have raised over $33,000 towards an immediate goal of $100,000 but are certainly not stopping there. Alisa Magnotta, President of Housing Assistance Corporation, says this money is so very important as it gives her good leverage to pursue additional government and grant funds, which are available. She says the power of having significant seed money already in hand acts as what former Secretary of State and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Colin Powell, called a “force multiplier” that truly magnifies the effect of the fund and increases our ability to attract more contributions to it. This is the Housing Assistance Corporation’s area of expertise – raising grant and government money and distributing it to the right people in need.

Funds donated by members of our industry will be prioritized to go to recipients from within our industry. To learn more about the Workforce Housing Relief Fund, please click here.

But more importantly, to support our local economy, and to contribute in order to help members of our industry stay in housing while they are in need, please get in touch with HBRACC or HAC directly:

Home Builders and Remodelors Association of Cape Cod
Chris Flanagan, Executive Officer
chrisf@capecodbuilders.com
 
Housing Assistance Corporation
Anne Van Vleck, Chief Development Officer
avanvleck@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400
Housing Assistance Corporation, 460 West Main St Hyannis, MA 02601

As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we do…we make a life by what we give”.

This is the time for members of our building industry to band together and show our commitment. Our community needs our help.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay involved!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) and the NLBMDA (National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association) have announced their mutual support for an initiative that asks all companies to halt work for at least 10 minutes this Thursday 4/16/20 for a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down to educate all employees and subcontractors on what they need to do to stay safe from COVID-19 and to comply with local and federal guidelines and protocols. This can really underscore the basic and important elements that we as an industry must practice as weather improves and as more people are allowed back to work.

Human nature requires repetition. Think of culture as our repeating the same message over and over. While one person hears it for the hundredth time, the person next to them might finally hear it for the first time. Now more than ever, we need a safety culture to keep people from getting casual and reverting to old habits that can present serious health risks.

Highlights to consider for your Safety Stand Down:

  • Maintain social distancing of no less than 6’ between people at all times.
  • Wear a mask and gloves.
  • Frequently clean and sanitize all tools, vehicles, equipment, Porta Potties and commonly touched surfaces.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Maintain sufficient cleaning supplies, disinfectants, and soap.
  • Reduce trips off site by replacing face-to-face meetings with video conferencing or calls.
  • Work remotely whenever possible.
  • Watch for any possible symptoms of COVID-19 and stay at home if you suspect you may be sick.
  • Make a safety checklist and ask your people to stick to it.

For more information from the NAHB on the COVID-19 Safety Stand Down, click here.

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay diligent, and stay ahead of COVID-19!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

By many accounts, we may be at or near the tipping point with the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly doesn’t mean it’s over, it just means that some of the worst may be over. Leaders around the country are at a “Stockdale” moment. Rear Admiral James Stockdale was shot down over North Vietnam on September 9, 1965 and imprisoned in North Vietnam at the so-called Hanoi Hilton for 7 ½ years before his release. Admiral Stockdale, as a high ranking officer, was continuously tortured during his imprisonment and was denied medical attention for the injuries resulting from his ejection from his damaged plane. He famously established a code of conduct for himself and his fellow prisoners, which laid out how to deal with torture, handle the enemy, secretly communicate between cells without the guards knowing, and withstand the pressures of imprisonment with no hint of possible rescue, while locked in solitary confinement in leg irons in a windowless, concrete, 3’x 9′ cell.

Admiral Stockdale was quoted in the business book Good to Great as saying “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which in retrospect, I would not trade.” When Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, asked the Admiral who didn’t make it out of prison, Stockdale’s answer was, “Oh that’s easy, the optimists. They were the ones who said “we’ll be out by Christmas” and then Christmas would come and go. Then they said, “We’ll be out by Easter,” and Easter would come and go, and then it would be Christmas again. They would die of a broken heart. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.”

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia the outdoor outfitter, said “There is no difference between a pessimist who says “Oh it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything”, and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway”. Either way…nothing happens.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a one answer problem and does not have a single end date. It is a moving challenge which requires us to adapt and change. Mistakes will be made and people will suffer, but we have to maintain faith in the end of the story. Like Admiral Stockdale, we need to maintain our belief at the same time that we confront the brutal facts. We don’t yet know the time table, or even all the means to the end, but we do know that this too shall pass. It is up to us to concentrate on what we can do, not what we can’t.

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay diligent, and stay positive.

Our hats off to our hard working receptionists in Hyannis, Deb and Martha, along with the sales staff in our branches, for the way in which they handle a great number of incoming calls. Also to our IT Manager, John Howell, who figured out how to hook up one third of our company with computers and phones to work offsite, virtually, overnight.

The extra effort that is going on in all of our companies, yours and ours, right now is humbling and welcome. People have risen to many challenges and we couldn’t be prouder of the caliber and quality of people here, with whom we are so fortunate to work. From Sales to Operations to Administration, we have a wonderful group. We feel the same way about our customers.

As we finish the fourth week of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we ask that you think of all those far less fortunate. Hopefully we find ourselves at or near the peak and recovery can begin soon. So many have lost so much through this. Please don’t forget the absolute importance of following the protocols for hygiene and distancing. Do these for yourself and for everyone else around you.

Stay safe, stay focused, stay healthy, and stay disciplined!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

We appreciate your patience with slightly longer ring throughs on our phone system. When you are calling in to our main number and we route you to a sales person working remotely, it can add a couple of rings to the process. We have been working on ways to streamline this and reduce that number of rings. Phone traffic is at a high level and we want to make it as easy and efficient as can be. When you are transferred to an extension and the party you are calling is already on their line, you will be put through to their voicemail and they will call you right back as soon as they are off the call.

Our hats off to our hard working receptionists in Hyannis, Deb and Martha, along with the sales staff in our branches, for the way in which they handle a great number of incoming calls. Also to our IT Manager, John Howell, who figured out how to hook up one third of our company with computers and phones to work offsite, virtually, overnight.

The extra effort that is going on in all of our companies, yours and ours, right now is humbling and welcome. People have risen to many challenges and we couldn’t be prouder of the caliber and quality of people here, with whom we are so fortunate to work. From Sales to Operations to Administration, we have a wonderful group. We feel the same way about our customers.

As we finish the fourth week of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we ask that you think of all those far less fortunate. Hopefully we find ourselves at or near the peak and recovery can begin soon. So many have lost so much through this. Please don’t forget the absolute importance of following the protocols for hygiene and distancing. Do these for yourself and for everyone else around you.

Stay safe, stay focused, stay healthy, and stay disciplined!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

This is a great time to think about how we are changing our businesses to meet the COVID-19 challenge. We hear a lot of good ideas from others and welcome any suggestions you want to share with us.

Here are some of the ways we have changed our business model to increase safety and decrease exposure.

  • We have made work schedules as flexible as we can to allow for lower worker density on-site and to allow for childcare and family care responsibilities. One third of our staff is now working remotely.
 
  • We are using video and audio conferencing to stay connected while social distancing and minimizing the handling of paper.
 
  • We have installed Plexiglass partitions at our front counter, our staff are wearing masks and gloves, we are practicing proper distancing, and we have added a full-time cleaner to maintain sanitation. 
 
  • We are limiting the number of people who may enter a pick-up area or sales counter area to maintain safe distancing.
 
  • We are asking customers to mail in payments rather than to drop off in person.
 
  • We are working with people on the job sites we visit to identify any lapses in proper protocol and create opportunities to improve job safety, hygiene and distancing.
 
  • We are asking our employees to take an active role when it comes to the implementation and enforcement of distancing, hygiene protocol, jobsite visits, or even customer visits to our facility. For instance, to do a site measure, we will ask for an appointment when the site will be vacant, and we will call ahead to make sure we are welcome and the site is safe. For a customer visit, we will observe strict protocols and manage the visit carefully.

 

Please share with us any ideas you have for increasing safety and decreasing exposure. A good example is builders using architects or engineers to file affidavits for jobsite inspections to reduce pressure on building inspectors. We look forward to any suggestions and will help broadcast them to help others. Write us at info@shepleywood.com

Stay safe, stay diligent, and stay healthy, please!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

The picture of this early 1950’s Ford F1 pick up on Main St. in Chatham made me smile – something I realized I might not have done enough of lately. In no way do we want to make light of coronavirus, but we also need to remember that this too shall pass. We as humans are entitled to stop for a moment and pause to take a quick break from the challenges we face, before we put our heads down and get back to the battle. Some clever person found a way to make us stop and think how different these times are from anything we have experienced…and hopefully that person gave you the reason to smile for a moment too.

Stay safe, stay diligent, and stay healthy, please!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

This week will be the fourth week in which the COVID-19 pandemic has really changed our lives. The effect of the information thrust at us daily and the fear of the unknown, has seemed to make time warp. Some days may have felt like weeks to many of us. This week of April 6th is one during which we will face some real challenges as many think we may be nearing the peak of the pandemic. We will all be looking for encouraging signs but the discouraging reports are not over. Queen Elizabeth made a speech over the weekend in which she said that she was reminded of her very first speech in 1940 during the bombing of Britain. She has spoken publicly only five times over the years outside of her regular holiday greetings. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson governs Britain from his hospital bed, these are serious times. The Queen’s message underscores the need for us to take this pandemic seriously.

We urge you to look at your jobsite and office COVID-19 protocols. We ask that you take distancing and hygiene to greater levels than ever. Schedule people on your sites so that you control the number of people there and that no one shows up unannounced. Post signage letting everyone know what you require to keep your job safe. It is up to all of us to help and remind each other to take the right steps. Here is a copy of the Governor’s order with the COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures for all Construction Sites. Please take the time to re-read, to make sure your workers are all aware and to post these guidelines on each job site. Our health and the health of our community depends on us.

As Spring gets underway and we see cities in China opening back up with people out in public and restaurants open, we can see hope in front of us. We need to follow the correct path to get there. Please leave nothing up to chance. We get what we inspect…not what we expect.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Self quarantining has certainly put added pressures on people and families. We hear plenty reports of cabin fever and many have watched as much TV as they can absorb for a while. As we head into the weekend, this is a perfect time to try other avenues. Pick up the book you haven’t been able to get to or pull that jigsaw puzzle off the shelf and turn it into a family challenge.

Click here for a list of virtual options that you may not normally think of from local and national organizations to keep you and your family engaged while practicing social distancing.

When we can’t change the circumstances, we can still change the way we react to them!

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Engaged!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 1, there was a lot of industry concern about Governor Baker’s position on residential construction being considered an Essential Service. The Governor re-iterated his position that residential construction is to remain an Essential Service and that material suppliers, like Shepley, are to be considered an Essential Service.

Click here for a good summary from the Home Builders and Remodelers of MA that includes links to the latest order, COVID-19 Order #21, and the latest List of Essential Services.

As a reminder, our responsibility is to manage our jobsites safely and in compliance with the Governor’s order. We need to police ourselves and drive home the importance of proper work and jobsite protocols to everyone in our industry. Our health and our future depends on us following the Governor’s guidelines. 

Stay Safe, Stay Focused, Stay Healthy, and Stay Diligent. 

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Many people are working remotely from home these days. This has been a big change and required adaptation not only from a technology standpoint, but also from a job and lifestyle standpoint. Some of the best advice and tips we have heard for working from home are:

  • Treat your work day at home as you would at work. Get up at your normal time, dress for work, and plan your schedule and stick to it.
  • Set up a quiet office space. Don’t try to work from the kitchen table. Get separation from kids, pets and family members.
  • Create structure and routine to help order your day.
  • Set your goals and maintain a to do list and a follow up list. Measure your progress towards those goals and keep your co-workers updated.
  • Use a conferencing app with video to stay in touch with your team.
  • Don’t get side tracked by the many distractions available on the Internet.
  • Make sure you get some exercise. You’ll feel better and stay healthier.
  • Treat your weekdays like school nights. Get the sleep you need and leave the late nights for the weekend.
  • There is nothing like working from home to make us all appreciate the social benefits of interaction with others in the workplace.


This too shall pass! We can’t wait to see you face to face. 

Stay Safe, Stay Focused, Stay Healthy, and Stay Diligent. 

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

We still see a very wide range of behavior with regard to the COVID-19 threat. Some people are still not taking social distancing and hygiene as seriously as we all need to. Old habits in today’s situation are very bad habits. We cannot urge you enough to take the Governor’s COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures and not only read through them carefully but highlight them and post them on your jobsites. It is our job to manage our businesses and jobsites to these standards. It is our responsibility to keep our workers and the general public safe. We must enforce:

  • Zero Tolerance for employees reporting to work sick. Confirm with staff that they are healthy and symptom and exposure free.
  • Use proper Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Absolute 6’ minimum of Social Distancing and no physical contact with others.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting of all sites and equipment, as well as frequent hand washing.
  • Schedule workers and subs so as to keep people segregated on jobsites.
  • Use phone or video conferencing for all contact instead of face to face meetings.
  • Have proper wash stations or disinfectant stations and ensure that supplies are sufficient.

Stay Safe, Stay Focused, Stay Healthy, and Stay Diligent. 

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Human nature being human nature, if you take three people in the same place and ask them about the Coronavirus, you are likely to get three different answers. One may under play the dangers, one may take a middle ground, and the third may be in panic. The bottom line is that our responses to COVID-19 will not be the same as everyone else’s. The one thing we know in an emergency, is to plan for the worst, not just hope for the best. Be realistic that this is a very scary situation because of the number of unknowns.

As in any challenging situation, we must concentrate on the things we can control, and not spend our time agonizing about what we can’t. 

We as an industry have been spared from shut down as an “Essential Service” to the Commonwealth under the Governor’s Order of March 23rd, titled “Assuring Continued Operation of Essential Services in the Commonwealth.” We must remember that our ability as suppliers and building contractors to continue to operate under that order is up to us. That order is not a permanent guarantee and it does not give us absolute right to be in business. It does give us the opportunity to operate and serve our clients but also hinges on our living up to our responsibilities in the area of safety and containment of the virus. The Governor has spelled out strict guidelines. Please click here to review the guidelines.

It is our responsibility as Essential Service providers to live up to every one of the Governor’s Guidelines. If some of us do and some of us don’t, we will risk the continued spread of the virus and that can lead to more severe quarantines and even full shut down. Please refer to the Governor’s COVID-19 guidelines and make sure your business complies with all of them. Review carefully with your crews and ensure the guidelines get followed consistently. Make sure you have the right personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and wash stations in place and available to all workers. Post these guidelines on all your jobsites and make sure you hold people to them. Success in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus is up to every one of us.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay focused and stay strong!

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

The past two weeks have been the two longest weeks anyone can remember. These two weeks have felt more like two months for most of us. Our biggest challenge right now is to stay strict with social distancing and health & safety protocols. Those are the measures that will slow down and help eradicate this pandemic.

As we all try to find the balance between making a living and staying safe, we need to be very vigilant and very careful. A lot of the workforce in this country is not able to go to work and make a living. We are incredibly fortunate to live where we live and work in the industry we work in. Let’s not take one bit of this for granted. We all need to be fully focused on social distancing, hygiene, and safety. We need to help one another and remind each other when anyone starts to get casual in their approach to staying safe.

We have told our staff that if they do not feel safe doing what they have been asked to do, they should stop and consult with us. We will find a right way to accomplish what we are being asked to do….not just the quick or easy way, the safe way. Health and safety are critical to all of us.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay focused and stay strong. This too shall pass and with the strength of our partnership we will get through this.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Yesterday, Wednesday March 25th, Governor Baker issued a clarification of his March 23rd order specifically stating that towns and cities do not have the right to put a moratorium or stop order on construction. His position is that new construction is critical to keeping the cost of housing within reach, and that construction is an important part of our economy that we cannot afford to lose. Several towns, as well as the city of Boston, have disregarded the Governor’s order even though that order specifically supersedes the authority of the local cities and towns on these matters.

Our industry offers the potential to allow business to continue with lower risk relative to almost any other industry. Office staff can work from home, and jobsites can be quite easily managed with proper social separation and health and safety protocol. The key is how we, as members of the industry, manage ourselves, our staff, and our jobsites. I believe we have a real opportunity to set the proper standards for safety and to show the public our leadership by how we stick to those standards.

Homeowners are scared for their lives right now. Think of how you’d feel living next to a job that didn’t look organized or safe and had a parking lot full of pick-up trucks and workers milling around not maintaining proper distancing. That image is what is causing people to call for shut downs. Now picture a jobsite with proper signage at the entrance, spelling out the guidelines for having 10 or fewer employees on-site at any one time, listing the safety protocol required, the steps being taken to ensure a healthy job site, and the name of the general contractor listed with a phone number for any questions or concerns. That can go a long way towards showing that we, as an industry, care about doing the right thing and in building public trust.

Please contact the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod or your local home builders association to see how we can pull together on these issues. Governor Baker has supported our industry and our ability to stay operating. Let’s prove to him what a good move that is.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay focused, and stay strong.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

The construction industry has been listed as an essential business and Shepley will continue to operate as follows:

Hyannis
We will be open, operational, and making deliveries.
508-862-6200

Wellfleet
We will be open, operational, and making deliveries.
508-349-2280

Nantucket
We will be available by phone with sales people working remotely from home. No deliveries will be made. A Nantucket Building moratorium and a stay at home order are in effect until Monday 4/6/20.
508-325-0400

Although we are listed on the Commonwealth’s Essential Services list (page 3) and contractors are listed (page 8), a local ban or moratorium as introduced in Boston and on Nantucket can supersede the Essential Services designation and stop our ability to operate, as it has in these two markets already. Our ability to operate our businesses depends on us flattening the coronavirus curve. Doing this will require changes in behavior and safety protocol. For everyone’s good, please treat this seriously. There is strength through partnership.

We will continue to update you as the situation develops.

Thank you,
Tony Shepley

Our Hyannis and Wellfleet branches are open and operational. We will continue to set up orders for both customer pick-ups and deliveries. Please reach out and connect with your sales team for all pick-ups. All sales staff, both onsite and working remotely, have access to computers and phones. 

In observance of the “Stay at Home” regulation on Nantucket Island, operations staff at our Nantucket branch will be onsite in a reduced capacity until 5:00pm on Monday 3/23 for pick-ups. All Nantucket sales personnel are working remotely and accessible by phone to help with quotes, takeoffs, questions, and orders for when the Stay at Home order is lifted on Monday, April 6th.

Governor Baker has been quoted as saying that he considers material supply and residential construction and repair an “essential industry” and does not want to shut us down. We know that this hinges on two factors, the spread rate of the COVID-19 virus and our industry’s ability to work safely to maintain CDC protocols to slow down the virus. We need to take every possible step to keep our workers and our customers healthy.

Click here for a set of guidelines from the CDC. Please consider sending this along to others and posting copies on your jobsites or in your work place. When in doubt, please self-quarantine. Remember that someone carrying the virus is contagious days before they actually exhibit symptoms. Don’t put others at risk. Think of those around us. Strength through Partnership

Sincerely,
Tony Shepley

Thank you to our staff for doing a tremendous job this week of filling all orders and getting all credit pickups done. Our Hyannis Operations crew has worked every day this week including today (Sunday) to stay ahead of demand. We are up to date.

Thank you to our customers for being patient with the changes we have brought about to ensure the safety of all, customers and employees alike. Your health and safety is our most important priority. Going into the new week tomorrow, we will be continuing with proper social distancing including keeping visitors out of our buildings, proper hygiene, and greatly enhanced disinfecting and cleaning. Most of our sales and administration staff are set up to work from home to reduce our people density in our facilities.

On Friday 3/20, Nantucket Island had its first confirmed case of the Coronavirus. They will put a “stay at home” order into effect on Monday 3/23 at 5 PM to flatten the curve of the virus. Being on an island, 30 miles out to sea, puts a special pressure on residents and they need to take extra measures.

We all need to do our part in preventing the spread of the virus. It is important to remember that someone may be contagious days before they exhibit symptoms. For the sake of your family and others, it is better to be cautious, to self quarantine, and to follow all CDC guidelines.

Please stay safe and stay healthy. We will continue to keep you updated daily. We are in this together. There is strength through partnership.

Sincerely,
Tony Shepley


We have all had a lot to digest this week. We certainly are all dealing with different protocols and a lot of new information. Uncertainty is now the biggest concern for most people. Trust the facts, not the wild rumors…and of those there are many.

We have heard good stories of our customers reaching out to various building departments and offering up solutions that protect the safety of building inspectors by using alternative means to keep inspections going and allowing projects to move ahead. 

Some building commissioners are allowing photographs to be used as documentation for parts of the inspection process, such as nailing inspections. Others are allowing affidavits, in the manner of controlled construction, from engineers or design professionals to take the place of standard inspections. 

Other Building Departments have agreed to do inspections if the site is vacated prior to the inspection and the inspector can perform the walk-through alone with the builder available to answer questions over the phone. We urge you to reach out to your building commissioner to offer whatever you can to help them. They are in this just as deep as the rest of us. This is a perfect time to find ways to work together.

We will keep you posted daily as to what we are seeing in the field. We urge you to call us with anything we can do to help, questions we can answer, or concerns we can address. Our main numbers in each branch can get you right through to any of our sales staff or managers, whether on-site or off-site.

Hyannis: 508-862-6200  
Nantucket: 508-325-0400
Wellfleet: 508-349-2280

In all three branches, Hyannis, Nantucket, and Wellfleet, we are proud of the way that so many of our people have stepped up. The worst of times can bring out the best in people.

Sincerely,
Tony Shepley

There is a lot of emotion, confusion, misinformation, and panic circulating today, St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2020. Any time that a Google search brings up “toilet paper” ahead of “Tom Brady”, we can be sure things are off balance. It is up to all of us to pull things back to normalcy. As sure as St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, we will contain and defeat COVID-19. The best path to that end is to keep our wits about us. 

Here is an update on what we are doing today.

  • We are in full operation in Hyannis, Nantucket and Wellfleet. 
  • Our Showcase is open by appointment only. Please call ahead to schedule a visit.
  • We are well equipped with inventory.
  • Our suppliers are shipping to us.
  • We are making deliveries as usual, but being careful with person to person contact on jobsites to limit risk of contagion to our customers and our employees.
  • We have close to a third of our total staff working remotely with full computer and phone access to cut down on people in our office and to limit risk.
  • We are asking any customers coming in to our branches to follow safety protocol to limit exposure risk. 
  • If you visit a branch, please go directly to the front sales counters to learn more.
  • We are getting a large amount of calls for material deliveries and will be filling all those orders. With a high order volume can come some delays, so please prioritize what you need. 
  • We will be working overtime, with extended shifts and through the weekend to take care of your needs. 

Everyone should be on high alert with regard to safe hygiene and taking preventive measures.

  • Stay well hydrated to wash any virus into your digestive system, where the virus cannot live. Gargle with warm salt water when you can.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Maintain at least 6’ of separation from others.
  • Be alert for any coronavirus symptoms and call your doctor if you think you are experiencing these symptoms including dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, and difficulty breathing.
  • Keep away from others if you don’t feel well.

We will communicate daily with updates via email and our website.

Thank you for your patience and your help to control panic rather than feed it. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the virus or whom have had family members stricken. The important way we can help is to stay calm and collected.

Sincerely,
Tony Shepley

To our valued customers,

At Shepley, nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers, employees, and community. During this challenging time, we are prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees and customers and want to assure you that we are taking it very seriously. We are keeping a close eye on reports concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) and implementing guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, as well as state and local authorities.

We will be open with regular business hours at our Hyannis, Wellfleet, and Nantucket locations. Our offices and yards will remain open for pick-up orders. We will work diligently to make sure there is little to no disruption in our delivery services. Our Shepley Showcase building will be open by appointment only. 

As always, our sales team is available to assist you via phone or email; at this time these are the best modes of communication regarding new or current orders. We are prepared to revise our procedures as the situation evolves and will notify you with any changes. Please be sure to check our website for the latest updates.

While a safe and clean work environment are always a top priority for us, we have taken the additional steps to protect our employees and customers:

  • All scheduled customer events through April 30, 2020 have been postponed.
  • Our employees will follow safe-distance protocol and avoid contact on jobsites during deliveries.
  • We have increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing all common areas, counters, door handles, etc.
  • Our employees are using CDC-recommended hand washing practices.
  • We are monitoring all staff and requiring anyone showing signs of a fever or cough to stay home.

Lastly, although there is much uncertainty around the situation, we are grateful that we work with an incredible team of employees, suppliers, and customers. I am very proud of our team’s tireless efforts to support our customers and each other, every day.

Thank you for being a loyal customer and your continued trust as we strive to provide the best service for you during this time. 

Sincerely,
Tony Shepley

Help Prevent COVID-19 with Social Distancing

Below is a set of guidelines from the CDC with tips on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Please consider sending this along to others and posting copies on your jobsites or in your workplace. Click here to download flyer.

Inspired by Shepley Wood Products & Barnstable Brewing’s Civic Rent Lager, a portion of the proceeds from House Wine boxes and cans for all of November will go to the very same cause: helping our fellow Cape Codders financially affected by the COVID crisis by donating..Read More

We are excited to share that Shepley Wood Products received a Gold Community Spirit PRISM Award from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston (BRAGB) for our Class of 2020 Flyover Celebration. The PRISM Awards recognize the finest projects and outstanding achievements of professionals in the home building..Read More

By Joe Murphy

For over 115 years Andersen Windows and Doors has used product innovation, quality materials, and service after the sale, through dealers like Shepley, to become the window and patio door brand most used and trusted by builders. Specifically, Andersen has been..Read More

Cold Stress

24th November 2020

By John Howell

It is that time of year again, weather can often be unpredictable and extreme. Freezing temperatures can create serious health problems, collectively called cold stress.

Shepformation... The Shepley Newletter

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Central Location:

Hyannis Office

216 Thornton Drive, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 508-862-6200
Toll-free: 800-227-7969
Facsimile: 508-862-6012
Directions

Shepley Showcase

75 Ben Franklin Way, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 508-862-6228
Toll-free: 877-909-7227
Facsimile: 508-862-6047
Directions

Nantucket Office

6 Lovers Lane, Nantucket, MA 02554
Phone: 508-325-0400
Facsimile: 508-325-0359
Directions

Wellfleet Office

2238 Route 6, Wellfleet, MA 02667
Phone: 508-349-2280
Facsimile: 508-349-3078
Directions