Erik Kent concedes that when in 2007 he boughtArchadeck of Charlotte, a franchise that’s part of the well-known national chain, his timing was “awful.”

Half the company’s business involved installing decks for the burgeoning home-building industry. A year later deck orders from builders were half of what they had been.

Kent incorporated new products and services such as outdoor fireplaces into the Archadeck offering and reached out to new market segments as well as past customers.

“We thought we were in the deck business,” he says, “but we were really in the outdoor living business.” By last year, Archadeck of Charlotte’s sales had fully recovered. Outdoor living was 30% of its volume. The company is the largest hardscape installer in the Carolinas. “We can take that backyard and bring it to life,” Kent says.

New FocusAdding new products made this Archadeck an “outdoor living” company.