D&WC: Tell us about your
Richard Holmes, Owner: Founded in 1872, the Gould Mercereau Co. over the years has provided a full line of quality drapery hardware to the window treatments industry. A few years ago, Worldwide Window Treatments, LLC, bought the assets of Gould Mercereau in order to expand its offering throughout the United States and abroad. This arrangement provided the opportunity to create, develop and market the highest quality, most diversified line of drapery hardware available in the industry.
My background is in engineering with an MBA. Jaime Escobar is an architect. Gene Carozza is also an engineer with a management MBA. We worked with then current and prospective clients to produce new products for the market. We began the transformation of Gould by traveling around the country to trade shows, conducting client meeting and speaking with architects and their customers in order to fully understand what was lacking in the industry and how to best satisfy that need.
Jaime Escobar, owner: Our goals and objectives focused on customer relations, product design, enhancing existing products and quality assurance. The results are an exceptional array of decorative drapery hardware with furniture-quality finishes and wood traverse poles that are masterfully engineered and built by Gould craftsmen.
In addition to our decorative wood drapery hardware, Gould retains a metal hardware line that includes workroom accessories, aluminum track (I-beam and Spectrack), 3/8-inch rodding and brass tubing.
In order to satisfy certain customers, Gould has set up a separate manufacturing operation exclusively for custom finishing. This portion of the business has grown significantly over the past three years. This department has developed a line of finishes exclusively for some of our major retail customers.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Gene Carozza, owner: Gould’s growth and product acceptance is attributed to hard work on the part of all of our employees. A team approach has transformed Gould into a customer-oriented business where all employees understand that customer satisfaction is everyone’s responsibility.
Customer service, customer input, focus on quality, maintaining current with industry trends and our newly implemented, Custom Design Service, are all part of the success of our company.
Just call our toll-free number during business hours and guess what, one of our courteous and knowledgeable team members will actually answer the phone and your questions.
We value customer input. Who better knows their needs than the consumer? For example, prior to releasing our 2005/06 finial line, we polled many decorators and designers across the county for their comments and suggestions. We utilized this information to revamp old finials and add new finials. We learned from this survey that traditional is still in vogue. Yes, acorn, pineapple and artichoke finials are still needed to round out a finial line. We also learned that designers and decorators like to have the same or similar finials sized for various diameter poles and also that glitzy, museum-type finials look nice in brochures and on display boards but not necessarily on customers’ walls.
Quality is an extremely high priority and is a direct result of our engineering and architectural backgrounds. New products are tested extensively and all elements of product finishing, packaging and installation are tested and approved prior to releasing for sale.
We also stay current with industry trends. We have developed, for a major company, finishes that coordinate with a particular furniture or fabric collection. Our finishes feature many wood stains that complement the furniture, fabric and trim in any home and sell very well. Gould is one of the few manufacturers to offer a wide variety of stain finishes in addition to our solid and faux finishes. Our custom finishing capability allows us to meet a particular demand from a discerning customer that needs a specific finish.
As a special service, Gould works with unique applications such as complex window configurations and window treatments providing design assistance and layouts to solve unusual requirements. These involve individual window treatments as well as large-scale projects. An example might be a layout for a double-bay window traverse or an exceptionally long traverse pole assembled with a Gould engineered exclusive joiner bracket, or traverse pole with multiple draw arrangements on the same pole.
This service is an important part of our business because we believe that our customers should never have to settle for off-the-shelf, common drapery hardware. This service allows designers and decorators to create the ultimate window treatments for their clients.
D&WC: What one product or line stands out above the rest?
Holmes: Functional wood traverse poles are Gould’s signature item. Gould introduced wood traverse poles to the window treatment industry more than 35 years ago. At that time all that Gould offered was a 1 3/8-inch diameter pole with rings and simple finials. All that has changed.
The Gould traverse pole design is unique in the industry and is a defining product in the Gould line. Gould traverse poles have several distinguishing features. The Gould traverse is a well-engineered full-round pole with an embedded color coordinated track and large diameter wood rings. Each traverse pole is hand crafted like fine furniture and is custom built to the customer’s specifications.
Virtually every conceivable window can be treated with Gould traverse poles including bay and bow windows. Proprietary pulleys and ring slides ensure long-term reliability and ease of operation. Traversing poles are tested extensively for reliability, functionality and ease of use.
Gould traverse poles are available in 20 furniture quality wood finishes that include beautiful wood stains and in custom finishes. Four pole diameters are offered in smooth, reeded and even rope twist and in single-, double-and bay window configurations with either rings or carriers. Most pleasing to the customer is that Gould traverse poles are also priced remarkably well, oftentimes lower than traverse poles with lesser features.
Decorative wood products have been the growth area since 1997 and Gould is well positioned to serve this market by offering basic to high-end products at affordable pricing. As mentioned previously, market feedback is an important element in product inspiration and design, but we also maintain constant communications with installers in order to ensure that our products are installer-friendly. The emphasis is to constantly evolve through continuous improvement efforts and provide the best value for the customer.
Gould maximizes the control of quality and low cost by maintaining the ability to manufacture most of our products in our New York factory. An extensive supplier base has been developed but we can produce all finishes and intricate finials in-house.
D&WC: Do you work through distributors or sell direct to the retailer?
Holmes: Gould sells its products primarily through distributors and select high-end retail stores. Products are displayed on the Gould Web site, www.wwtgould.com. Just visit our site to see an operating wood traverse pole.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Holmes: Gould’s customers know that they can achieve almost any treatment that they can envision with our wide choice of popular finishes and designs, readily available technical assistance, custom design services, well-engineered products and competitive pricing.
Gould Drapery Hardware
840 Barry St.
Bronx, NY 10474
fax: (718) 893-4788