Leo Elinson: I founded Mariak Industries in 1986 with the idea of providing a unique service to fabricators previously not available in the western United States. Today, more than 75 employees comprise Team Mariak and work together in our 35,000-square-foot facility in Torrance, CA, which stocks more than five million feet of PVC, more than one million yards of fabric, and more than 2,000 parts and components.
Recently, we have added to our inventory two-inch horizontal materials including two million linear feet of basswood, Permawood, Woodtech and PVC slats as well as a variety of low-profile, standard, and RollEase System components. In an attempt to service all of our fabricators' needs, we also provide them with fabrication support in all of the various products we sell.
We pride ourselves on our attentive service to our customers. We offer a wide variety of products and services ranging from our 14 different styles of custom-made headrails, ready-made headrails, and ready-made verticals, to sales of PVC by the piece, fully assembled two-inch horizontals, several levels of kit programs, and sales of all types of componentry.
Mariak has become a major competitor in the western United States. Every year we distribute more than 250,000 blinds. We strive to provide a variety of high-quality products and services including the distribution and contract fabrication of vertical and horizontal blinds, sales of parts and components, vertical and horizontal PVC and fabric collections, specialized selling programs, full-time customer service and sales support, and convenient delivery services with five of our own trucks.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Elinson: We initially began handling only PVC and fabric vertical blinds, but over the years we've greatly expanded our product line. We also carry low-profile two-inch horizontals, standard two-inch horizontals, the RollEase headrail system, two-inch basswood, two-inch Permawood, two-inch Woodtech, stationary arches and slanted-top horizontals. In addition, we handle three levels of kit programs in an attempt to keep our customers' operation costs to a minimum.
D&WC: Is there a product or line that stands out above the rest
Elinson: Currently, our largest growing product line is two-inch horizontal blinds. Since our introduction of these products two years ago, horizontals now comprise about 40 percent of our total sales, while vertical blinds still continue to provide the other 60 percent. The horizontal blind market is definitely our largest area of growth, and we are constantly striving to enlarge it by carrying new products and providing innovative services.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Elinson: We primarily focus on catering to the needs of fabricators and contractors throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
D&WC: How has technology changed your company or your segment of the industry since you first began?
Elinson: To increase productivity, we have incorporated a great deal of technology into our daily routine. We've dramatically improved our internal and external communication, production time, order processing, inventory maintenance and overall productivity, which has allowed for a higher quality of product to be produced. I've made investments in technology a very high priority and I plan to keep it that way.
Within the last two years, Mariak has gone through several technological changes. We implemented a new information-based site on the World Wide Web (www.mariak.com), which allows for on-line ordering and detailed product descriptions; an automated telephone system; new personal computers; and two new computer database systems. We use a UNIX-based database to aid in inventory control, order processing, finances, billing and purchasing. The second database we added was the ACT! program. It has dramatically improved employee communications with specific customers.
Not only have our offices undergone a technological makeover, but our warehouse has as well. Production workers now benefit from the use of efficiently designed assembly lines, inventory and sample labeling machines, specialized shelves for storage of finished products, an efficient packaging system, advanced power saws, an internal air compression and vacuum system for the cleaning of products, forklifts, and recently installed pulley systems that are used in both the fabrication and quality inspection of our new horizontal blind products.
In addition to our office and warehouse upgrades, our various products also are attentively kept up-to-date with the latest and most innovative machinery and design equipment. Our network of more than 60 specialized vendors ensures the highest quality product through the use of the most recent lamentation, embossing, aluminum extrusion and computerized design machinery.
Our products have become so specialized that all of our vendors run and produce our components based upon Mariak's own models and specifications. All of our efforts to keep up with current technological trends ensure our customers they will receive high quality products and services.
D&WC: What distinguishes your company from the competition?
Elinson: At Mariak, we put a strong focus on quality and service. We have a long history of delivering high-quality products to our customers. I've made it a top priority to stock quality components and materials made in the USA as well as concentrating on quality customer service.
To enhance our service to customers, I've incorporated a number of extra services including bi-monthly newsletters, free customer training sessions and seminars on production assembly, free door-to-door delivery with our own trucks ensuring that our products will be delivered on time and undamaged, and helpful customer service and sales associates.
In addition, I keep an open-door policy with my customers. I welcome their comments, criticisms and suggestions with open arms. Any new products or services that they might find of value, I research and explore. Frequently, I speak and visit with our customers just to get their opinions and thoughts on various subjects. Everything we do at Mariak Industries is directed toward the accommodation of our customers' needs. Quality service and performance. That's what we're all about!
D&WC: What factors lead you to introduce new products?
Elinson: One of the constant struggles of any business is to grow; it's often a constant challenge to satisfy the product and service needs of customers. Therefore, I regularly evaluate our company, asking myself if we're taking care of the people who keep us in business. It has become a passion of mine to ensure that we can provide all of the needs of our customers.
In an attempt to meet the growing demands of the window coverings industry, we've recently added standard two-inch horizontals, the RollEase headrail system, two-inch Woodtech slats, stationary arches and slanted-top horizontals to complement our line of low-profile two-inch horizontals, two-inch basswood and two-inch Permawood slats, vertical blinds and our PVC and fabric collections.
Mariak Industries Inc.
1609 Lockness Place
CA: (800) 439-5790
Fax: (800) 459-6999