In the U.S. or Canada, that might have been a relatively easy task. Not so much in post-Dorian Abaco.
If Mickey couldn’t find an item at Green Turtle Cay’s Roberts Hardware, I’d call Marsh Harbour. More often than not, between Maxwell’s Lumber Yard, Abaco Hardware and Premier Importers, I could find everything I needed – and at surprisingly competitive prices, relative to the U.S.
My cousin in Marsh Harbour was a terrific help in getting items to the freight dock if/when stores weren’t able to deliver. (If you don’t have a cousin in Marsh Harbour and you need stuff transported from suppliers to the Legacy dock, I highly recommend Mountain Movers at 242-824-3351.)
If I couldn’t find what I needed in Abaco, the next option was Nassau. My family members there were wonderful at guiding me in the right direction to find what I was looking for.
City Lumber and Kelly’s Lumber were terrific to work with. And they deliver supplies direct to the Legacy – the freight boat that comes weekly from Nassau to Marsh Harbour and then on to Green Turtle Cay.
If all else failed, I’d try to locate materials in the U.S.
Though the selection is undeniably wider Stateside, we saved this option as a last resort. It adds weeks or months to the timeline, and shipping from the States is considerably more expensive than from Nassau.
And though there’s currently no duty charged to bring building materials into Abaco, you still need a customs broker to process the shipment, and those fees can really add up.
Sometimes, the shipping itself became an issue. At one point, an entire Home Depot shipment from Florida went missing. Turned out it had been delivered to the wrong shipping company.
And the shipper – though they didn’t know me from Adam — just loaded our items on their boat and sent them to Marsh Harbour, where they sat on the dock for more than a week until I tracked them down.
Our first order from Nassau included ten rolls of insulation. When they arrived, seven rolls had been soaked in transit and were unusable. Fortunately, the Legacy folks accepted responsibility and offered to replace them.
Having cleaned out the supply of the store where I’d bought the original 10 rolls, I had to order the replacements from a company I hadn’t dealt with before.
Unfortunately, that company addressed the shipment to the wrong name, so when it arrived at Green Turtle Cay, nobody knew who it was for. By the time we figured out that the shipment was meant for me, it had been soaked in a rain storm.
For anyone keeping score, that made fourteen rolls of ruined insulation…
And no, the company in Nassau would not replace them. Even though their employee mislabeled the shipment. Apparently, it was my word against his. And, I guess they figure it’s easier to find customers than employees.
Some days, sourcing supplies felt like a full-time job. It wasn’t always easy. But it was often like assembling a puzzle — which I enjoy. And I learned a lot.
I now know what ring shank screws, coil nails and anchor bolts are. I understand the difference between architectural and three-tab shingles. I’m a walking encyclopedia of the names of every shade of navy-ish blue that Benjamin Moore sells (we chose Admiral Blue) and I can list virtually every colour of luxury vinyl plank flooring Home Depot sells. And I learned the hard way to always — ALWAYS! — ask vendors to wrap in plastic anything that might be damaged by moisture in transit.
Of course, throughout this crash course in construction and patience, Mickey, Michael and Nathan remain awesome to work with. They’ve been patient with my many questions and requests, and they’ve devised some creative solutions for some of Fish Hooks Cottage’s many challenges and imperfections.