Home Control and Automation Industry Alliance Formed
Allied Manufacturers of Motorized Products (AMMP) has launched a collaborative alliance of manufacturers that aims to generate awareness of creating smarter homes with home control and automation products as well as to connect automation dealers with motorization manufacturers.
The AMMP Alliance is a marketing and promotional resource designed to increase sales of motorization products, boost awareness of motorization products within the home automation and commercial marketplace, educate current and potential customers about available technologies, and to promote motorization to end-user customers and serve in building relationships between automation dealers and motorization manufacturer dealers. In addition, the alliance will work to create a synergy dedicated to making motorization products the industry standard.
Current home design trends and recent changes in the economy have resulted in more homeowners focusing on motorization control options for the home, such as electronic window coverings, awnings, automatic projection screens/televisions and motorized art used for media concealment, within the home automation category, AMMP stated. A recent study from market consulting firm Frost & Sullivan found that the industry earned revenues of $1.2 billion in 2005, and the research firm estimates this number will reach an annual average of $2.4 billion by 2012. Adding upscale, innovative features to the home allows homeowners to upgrade to meet their desires and can improve resale value, stated AMMP.
Formed in November 2007, AMMP brings together manufacturers of interior and exterior window coverings and shadings, projection screens and media concealment products as founding members, which include: BTX Window Automation, Inc.; Electronic Solutions, Inc. (ESI); Hunter Douglas, Inc.; Media Décor; The Right Track; Skyco Shading Systems, Inc.; Stewart Filmscreen; and Window Modes, Ltd.
AMMP also is seeking to add other companies as founding members that are willing to invest in building the home control and automation industry.
Plastibec Completes Move
to New FL Distribution Center
Plastibec, Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, has announced the completion of its move to a new distribution center in Pompano Beach, FL.
The move was completed in early July without disruption to customers, the company stated. The new facility and warehouse size are much better suited to the company’s business plan and will result in more efficient operations in Florida, it added.
The facility’s new address is 1371 SW 8th St., Unit #2, Pompano Beach, FL, 33069. The phone numbers remain unchanged.
Hunter Douglas Acquires Acme Window Coverings
Hunter Douglas Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, in June acquired the assets of Acme Window Coverings, Willowbrook, IL, a longstanding fabricator and distributor of Hunter Douglas custom products. The business was acquired from Josh Krengel and his family.
Acme’s sales organization will continue to support its existing dealer base under the direction of Joe Tantillo, its president. Krengel will serve as a consultant for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition.
Hunter Douglas will transfer Acme’s fabrication operations to Hunter Douglas Fabrication, Cumberland, MD, the company stated. The Cumberland facility, managed by Mark Shanker, was recently expanded by 120,000 square feet and is Hunter Douglas’ largest fabrication site, it added.
“We intend to maintain Acme’s well-earned reputation for superior quality and service while further strengthening Hunter Douglas’ leadership position in the markets served,” said Marv Hopkins, Hunter Douglas president and CEO.
Graber’s Motorized Solar Shades Featured in
Chicago Smart Home Museum Exhibit
Graber®, a Springs Window Fashions brand, Middleton, WI, is helping the “Smart Home: Green+Wired” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL, stay cool this summer with its eco-friendly LightWeaves™ Solar Shades.
Graber donated the motorized window coverings to the museum’s sustainable living home, labeled as the “greenest home in Chicago.” The GreenGuard- and Oeko-Tex-certified low-VOC emission fabric solar shades are featured on the first floor of the 2,500 square-foot home, which is open on the museum grounds through January 2009.
“Graber is proud to be part of this important educational project,” said Greg Farr, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Graber. “We are committed to being the green leader of our industry and are pleased to have our Solar Shades showcased alongside so many other impressive eco-friendly home products.”
Celebrating new directions in sustainable living and environmentally friendly technology, Smart Home offers guests an opportunity to discover the latest in reusable resources; smart energy consumption; sustainable gardens and green roofs; and clean, healthy-living environments in a contemporary setting.
Earlier this year Graber re-launched its LightWeaves line to offer an array of updated fabrics, design options and technologies. LightWeaves protect a home’s furnishings by blocking from three to 14 percent of damaging UV rays and can help minimize glare on TVs and home computers. Heating and cooling bills can be lowered because reduced heat transmittance results in comfortable indoor temperatures. LightWeaves are available in 55 color choices and a wide selection of jacquards, stripes and woven texture, according to the company.
Turnils Wood Collections
Receive GreenGuard Certification
Turnils, Suwanee, GA, announces that its Wood, Allwood, and Windsong horizontal blinds are now GreenGuard certified for Indoor Air Quality, and for Children & Schools.
The GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification Program is a third-party verification for low-emitting products. As such, it can be a valuable tool for architects, designers, specifiers and purchasing organizations that want to locate, specify and purchase low-emitting products for indoor environments. The program identifies specific products that have been tested and continue to be tested to ensure that their chemical and particle emissions meet acceptable indoor air quality pollutant guidelines and standards.
Details on the certified products can be found at the company’s Web site: www.turnils.com.
Comfotex Holds Sixth National BlindCrafters
Convention, Names Advanced Blind and
Shade BlindCrafter of the Year
More than 100 BlindCrafters joined representatives of Comfortex Corp., Maplewood, NY, at the Sixth Annual National BlindCrafter Convention held at the Jackson Lake Lodge, Jackson Hole, WY, June 4 to 6.
The three-day convention included networking, product launches and business strategy seminars. Advanced Blind and Shade, Soquel, CA, was presented the 2007 Comfortex BlindCrafter of the Year award. Celebrating 16 years in business, Advanced Blind and Shade first joined Comfortex in its Composers program and was one of the first companies to join the BlindCrafters program at its inception in 2002. In 2005 Advanced Blind and Shade added a remodeled showroom and new fabrication facility where it now fabricates Comfortex Cellular Shades, Woodwinds® Wood Alloy Blinds, Shangri-La® Sheer Horizontal Window Shadings and Envision™ Roller Shades.
At the 2008 national convention, Comfortex unveiled its newest product: Odysee™ Insulating Blinds. Informational workshops were held on the growing trend in green products and seminars were targeted on making effective use of green marketing tools, green business growth and profiting with motorization.
The BlindCrafters program provides retail fabricators with a brand name; ongoing business, marketing and technical support; and certified on-site training for building and selling custom blinds and shades.
3G Mermet Has Three
Additional Lines GreenGuard Certified
3G Mermet, Cowpens, SC, has been awarded GreenGuard Children & Schools certification for six additional products in its fabric line.
The new product certifications include Mermet’s Fiz, Paradis and Obion fabrics, along with several products from its eco-friendly line: Vela, Terra, and Blackout Xlite. These eco-friendly fabrics, made of 100 percent polyester, are completely free of PVC and are recyclable.
In January 2008, the GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI), Marietta, GA, awarded certification to Mermet’s M-Screen, E-Screen, T-Screen, Natte, and Satine. Each of these products received both the GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification® and the more stringent Children & Schools Certification™. All of the products certified will feature the GreenGuard logo.
“With these latest certifications, almost 90 percent of Mermet’s product line is GreenGuard certified,” said Debbi Lowder, Mermet’s product manager. “We pledge to continue the development of intelligent fabrics that provide the best in solar protection and meet these important emission standards.”
Somfy Launches Next Level of the Expert Program
Somfy Systems Inc., Cranbury, NJ, has launched the Somfy Home Tech Controls Expert Program, a new technical program designed for dealers of Somfy automated window covering products. Dealers who have completed the standard Interior Products Somfy Expert Program will be eligible to increase their knowledge with this new training course, the company stated.
The Home Tech Controls Expert program provides all of the product and installation advice needed to incorporate automated window coverings powered by Somfy® into any residential or commercial integration project, it added. Additionally, Somfy Experts can reap the rewards of the company’s marketing campaign and Web site by receiving leads from consumers interested in automated window coverings.
The Somfy Expert program aims to develop a community of certified motorization experts enabled to provide consumers a superior level of product knowledge and assist them in choosing the appropriate automated window covering solution.
Webb: Stay Aggressive During Slowdown
A business article by Rose Webb, Window Fashions, Inc., was featured in the June 2008 issue of Selling Power. The article, “Selling through a Downturn: How to Keep Making Sales When the Going Gets Really Tough,” shows how managers handle a slowdown in markets in which they have no control.
In the article, Webb stressed the importance of always focusing on customers’ needs, surpassing all their expectations and becoming partners in building a long-term relationship. Webb added that she remains very aggressive in sales today. “If people are not buying from me, I want to know why,” she wrote.
Webb, a veteran in the window coverings business, has dealt with slowdowns before. She wrote that she believes that the downturn weeds out weak companies that are not financially strong. She added that good competition has helped mold Window Fashions, Inc., Natrona Heights, PA, into a leading Graber fabricator.
Precision Draperies Education
Launches Phase Two of Web Site
The second phase of the Precision Draperies Education Web site now is online. The site features a mini-lesson section designed so users can find what they need to know and learn at their own pace, getting straight to the answers they need and on to producing soft covering projects quickly without a major learning commitment, according to a company statement. The new section includes nine mini-lessons with numerous other titles slated for release over the next few months, it added.
This phase of the site also offers users the opportunity to purchase an introductory one-year site membership, which will allow unlimited viewing of many of the mini-lessons and other useful information that is not available for purchase. The membership also includes online access to the Precision Draperies Education collection of more than 1,000 style code images including bedding, add-ons and soft accessories that can be copied and used on work orders and client presentations, the company stated.
“This is just the beginning of what will be a new way for learning and communicating methods and standards in our industry,” said Kirk Axelson, president. “We have new instructors, and new lesson ideas coming to us daily. This is a very exciting time.”
Artmark Readies Updated Web Site
Artmark Fabrics Co., Frazer, PA, has redesigned and updated its Web site, www.artmarkfabrics.com. In addition to previous features, which include an online order form, discontinued sample book list and a printable and downloadable price list, the new site will have a search feature for fabrics along with a photo, Web specials featuring pricing on selected fabrics and links from the site to its customers’ Web sites.
The company’s customers can be located by clicking on the “Contact Us” link, then clicking on a state in a map of the United States.
Avalon Shutters Introduces
Retroactive Transferable Warranty
Avalon Shutters, Ontario, CA, announced in June a new transferable limited lifetime warranty. Effective immediately, the new warranty can be retroactively applied to all Avalon wood shutters built and installed since the company’s inception 22 years ago.
“The decision to upgrade our warranty reflects our whole-hearted commitment to the overall quality of our wood shutters,” said Bob Marcynyszyn, co-owner of Avalon Shutters.
Shutter owners can register at www.avalonshutters.com to activate the retroactive warranty. To determine if a wood shutter was manufactured by Avalon Shutters, homeowners should check the top of their shutters for Avalon’s registration code number.
Established in 1986, Avalon Shutters Inc. builds custom wood shutters to fit just about any window application including unusual or custom shapes. It uses sustainably grown and harvested basswood that is milled on site.
Warren Steven Updates
Drapery Price, Reference Guide
Warren Steven Window Fashions, Minneapolis, MN, has released the first update to “The Softer Side,” a price and reference guide for custom soft treatments from its award-winning workroom.
“The Softer Side” is a compilation of custom styles most requested by dealers and designers. Each treatment requires the customer’s own material (C.O.M.). The guide features illustrations that provide clear representations of the products offered and easy-to-use price grids that include retail prices.
Warren Steven Window Fashions’ drapery workroom also quotes specific designs that are not featured in the catalog; each treatment can be a designer’s own original creation—made especially for the designer and his or her clients.
House of Window Coverings
Upgraded to Hunter Douglas Gallery Dealer
House of Window Coverings (HWC), Las Vegas, NV, has become the newest Hunter Douglas Gallery dealer.
Owned by Christopher Breiter, HWC, a full-service company specializing in window treatments, has served the window fashion needs of customers since January 2007 as a Showcase Priority Deader™ prior to being upgraded to the Gallery status with the support of District Sales Manager Debbi Gold.
Now in his second year of business, Breiter recently expanded to a 2,000 square-foot showroom. With a sales team of eight, a full-time manager and four installation crews, Breiter stated he expects to reach $2 million in sales by mid-2008.
Springs Window Fashions
Announces Comprehensive Green Initiative
Springs Window Fashions has launched a campaign to position the company as the green leader in the window coverings industry.
“Our company truly is green by nature and we’re proud to step up and become an industry leader in environmentally sound window coverings via three key components: our people, our processes and our products,” said Scott Fawcett, Springs Window Fashions CEO.
• People: all employees are dedicated to maintaining a green culture and a healthy working environment. Field sales associates drive four-cylinder vehicles that allow for peak fuel efficiency and include in-vehicle software that optimizes call routes to save gas.
• Processes: a third-party audit of its facilities found 43 million pounds of industrial waste recycled and diverted from landfills over the past decade; 90 million gallons of water saved each year due to a closed-loop water cooling system; more than 4,500 tons of sawdust recycled annually; a 71 percent reduction in airborne emissions.
• Product: cellular shades constructed of fabrics that include 25 percent recycled content, certified from DuPont; wood blinds and shutters are manufactured of domestic basswood that is available in considerable supply; Natural Shades are manufactured of renewable materials like bamboo, jute and grasses; Solar Shades offer GreenGuard and Oeko-Tex-certified low VOC-emission fabrics.
Springs Window Fashions is producing multiple collateral pieces—including brochures, product fact sheets and point-of-purchase materials—to spread the word about its eco-conscious practices to fabricators, dealers and consumers. The company’s Web site also is undergoing a makeover to add features that will educate visitors about its environmentally responsible stand.