NORMAN SHUTTERS DOUBLES SHUTTER MANUFACTURING
Norman Shutters™, Santa Fe Springs, CA, has doubled its shutter manufacturing capacity. The state-of-the-art facility combines advanced manufacturing, inventory and quality control systems with time-honored hand craftsmanship.
“We increased our manufacturing capacity in order to accommodate growing demand for our shutter products,” said Paul Shih, vice president of sales and marketing. “Combined with our proprietary online ordering system, Norman Shutters’ substantial manufacturing capacity ensures that we maintain consistent delivery times,” he added.
The company’s team of more than 2,200 professionals create custom hardwood and composite wood shutters offered in three distinct lines.
SUPERIOR ROMAN SHADES EXPANDS FACILITY
California-based Superior Roman Shades™ is planning an expansion of its fabrication facility in Southern California. The expansion, which will be used exclusively to create custom Roman shades and woven woods, will increase the company’s production capacity by more than 100 percent. The expansion is scheduled for completion in fall 2005.
“This facility will enable us to take our production efficiencies and customer service to a new level, and make it easier to maintain our turnaround goals of seven business days for most shades while maintaining our hand craftsmanship quality,” said spokesman Hal Roman.
Since introducing its custom Roman shade program in April 2003, Superior has acquired several hundred dealers and commercial accounts whose volume has necessitated two physical expansions in two years (see D&WC, January 2004, page 16).
EXCITING WINDOWS! EXCEEDS GOAL
At year-end 2004, Exciting Windows! shop-at-home service brand had contracted with 26 window coverings businesses across the United States—40 percent over its goal. The concept, created by Steve Bursten, president, CustEmers.com, and Steve Wishnow, executive vice president, provides clients with training and services to improve shop-at-home business, attract better customers and close more sales.
In the program, each retailer receives complete training to apply the Exciting Windows! concept and a selling system that results in higher sales and profit margins. “We then add business planning and budgeting assistance; advertising, public relations and media guidance; complete advertising materials, advanced technology for Web sites, e-mail newsletters, customer database, management tracking systems and much more,” said Wishnow.
A national brand image for individual companies sets them apart from competitors resulting in customer value perceptions that allow improved profit margins, according to Bursten. “In addition, it is the technology of Internet databases, online training and e-mail communications that allow us to provide a full range of service and support at an affordable cost for a business owner,” he added.
Exciting Windows! brand service is offered only through experienced window coverings professionals who operate under their own business names. Current business owners range from $50,000 in annual sales to more than $5 million.
HUNTER DOUGLAS BUSINESS BUILDING EXPO SCHEDULE BEGINS
Window covering dealers and designers had the opportunity to improve their knowledge of window coverings, design outlook, technological know-how and business and sales skills with The Hunter Douglas Business Building ExpoSM held in early February at the San José Convention Center, San José, CA. The Expo was hosted by Hunter Douglas Window Fashions in conjunction with its fabricator partner, Hunter Douglas Northern California.
The day-and-a-half program began with a half day of specialized classes on specialty shaped windows, best practices and ways to capitalize on window covering trends. The next full day began with a keynote address by Kelly McCormick, an expert in business and human dynamics, entitled “Quit Selling!” McCormick shared with attendees what really motivates people to buy. Then, participants chose one of four learning paths of classes for themselves or designed their own schedule. The classes included entry and advanced products, and marketing, selling and business-building technology tools. Television personality and designer Kitty Bartholomew offered a session on “Designing with Light and Color.”
“Our research has shown that Hunter Douglas dealers who participate in this kind of training see their sales increase an average of 20 percent,” said Ron Spies, Hunter Douglas vice president of the Customer Education and Development Group. Spies added that the company expects approximately 4,000 dealers and designers to participate in the Expo in markets across the country in 2005.
SUPERIOR ROMAN SHADES ADDS DUAL SHADE LINE
California-based Superior Roman Shades™ has announced a line of dual shades featuring one of its 22 fabric Roman shade styles as the front shade and a sheer Roman or a solar roller shade mounted as the rear shade.
A liberal assortment of colors will be available in the solar shades, according to a company statement. Dual shade combinations will be available on low-profile headrails.
DREAMDRAPER TO INCLUDE PATE-MEADOWS DESIGNS
Evan Marsh Designs and Pate-Meadows Designs have announced that the 2005 release of the DreamDraper® computer-based design system for window treatments will include the Show Home Line of designs from Pate-Meadows. More information is available at www.evanmarshdesigns.com.
CREATIVE QUILTING OFFERS CUSTOM DUVET INSERTS
Creative Quilting, Houston, TX, now offers custom-size duvet inserts
in its product line. With deeper mattresses and higher beds being
offered by bedding companies, the former standard sizes for duvet
inserts are no longer large enough for the treatments needed.
The company’s new inserts are offered custom-made to any width and length up to 118 inches wide by 108 inches long. They are filled with polyester batting at nine ounces per square yard, with 13 ounces per square yard available as an option. They are made with 50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester-blend material in white, finished with a bound edge and ties or loops at all four corners.
DRAPER RECEIVES ADEX AWARD FOR PVC-FREE SHADES
Draper, Inc. Spiceland, IN, has received a Platinum ADEX Award for its line of window shades with PVC-free fabrics. The ADEX Awards (Awards for Design Excellence) are selected by a panel of independent judges and are sponsored by Design Journal. Platinum is the top award level.
Draper PVC-free mesh and blackout FlexShades feature Hexcel’s PVC-free 1260, 1309, 1277 and Screen Nature fabrics. In addition to the Hexcel offerings, Draper’s PVC-free line also includes Roc-Rol, an opaque window shade fabric by Rockland Industries, and Flocke and Obion Fabrics from 3G Mermet.
In addition to other environmental benefits, PVC-free fabrics tend to be much thinner and lighter than PVC solar protection mesh fabrics, so the shades can be constructed using smaller tubes and hardware systems, leading to less waste, lower operating weights and smaller bundle diameters, according to a company statement.
WINDO-SHADE ADDS PLEATED AND ROLLER SHADE
Windo-Shade Distributors, Inc., Houston, TX, has announced it will now offer Le Plissé pleated shade fabrics and Rollux roller shade fabrics, both from Vertilux, as an addition to its Estate Collection of blinds and shades.
The inclusion of the pleated and roller shade fabrics will expand its popular private label line, which currently includes Estate Woods natural and synthetic wood blinds; Estate Woven Woods in natural jutes, reeds and grasses; Estate Shutters, custom wood shutters with a guaranteed fit program; Estate Cellular Shades in single- and double-cell honeycomb; Estate COM Shades, laminated roller or pleated shades; and Estate Mini-Blinds with aluminum slats.
Windo-Shade Distributors is a fabricator and distributor of custom
window covering products. In addition to the Estate Collection,
Windo-Shade offers a complete selection of window covering products
from Levolor, Kirsch, Nanik, Turnils and MechoShade.
ASTRUP OPENS ONLINE SHOWROOM
The Astrup Co., Cleveland, OH, has opened its Online Showroom for viewing and sampling its fabrics in the High Point Collection. Designers and fabricators now can view the fabrics, share digital samples with associates and make decisions faster with this online resource.
Located on the company’s Web site home page (www.astrup.com), the High Point Collection Online Swatch Showroom allows users to browse an up-to-date fabric and finish library by category; search for specific items by category, type, color or style; review small thumbnail images displayed from search results, and click for a larger detailed image and specification information; adjust color, brightness, contrast and light source to view the fabric in the most lifelike precision possible; print or save detailed sample images and specifications in PDF format; add several fabrics and finishes to a project file that can be e-mailed to associates or clients for further discussion, opinions and approvals; place online sample orders via e-mail to any e-mail address; and request fabric samples be shipped to their own address or to a client.
“Our new High Point Collection Online Swatch Showroom takes all the work out of flipping through fabric swatch pads and stacks of samples to find and order initial swatch samples of the right pattern, color and fabric specification for your projects,” said Carolyn D’Amato, advertising manager.
GET PUBLISHED: CALL FOR PHOTOS
D&WC columnist and author of Dream Floors, Kathleen Stoehr, is beginning work on a hardcover, full-color book on beautiful window treatment options to be published in fall 2005 by Randall International. This book will be one of a three-part series on improving various areas of the home and office.
Stoehr is looking for professionally shot window treatment room-setting and close-up photographs to feature in the book, planned as a go-to source for everyone from homeowners looking for answers and ideas to designers looking to inspire their clients and offer examples.
Each photograph supplied will offer references to the style number of the window covering, name, type and also contact information. A photo caption will identify the workroom/designer, as well as other crucial information. Photo credits also are given. A Source Guide in the back of the book bolsters this information as well.
Stoehr puts forth the idea that some of the best products are available only through the trade and will try to demystify and remove the reservations homeowners may have about hiring a professional to help with their interiors, rather than buying ready-made treatments.
This call for photos will be open through March 31. E-mail questions to kstoehr@chemistry creative.com.