D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and its history.
Conley Dockery: CACO, Inc., located in Johnson City, TN, was established in 1988 as a fabricator for Bali® horizontal and vertical blinds. The company's manufacturing and general administration is strategically located in northeast Tennessee with its sales and marketing out of Orlando, FL.
CACO currently employs 60-plus production and customer service personnel. Our manufacturing and warehousing take up most of CACO's 28,000-square-foot facility.
My brother Donald and I founded CACO. Both of us had years of retail and contract blind experience, which allowed us to set out on our dream of manufacturing blinds. In 1988 Marvin Pleasant was appointed production manager and consequently became general manager. In 1991, we recruited Art Kessel to head up sales and marketing.
The initial thrust of our business was funneled through both retail and commercial distributors. In 1995, CACO added its first outside sales representatives to cover Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. Two years later we had representation in North Carolina, South Carolina and the northeastern states while Kessel, as vice president of sales, managed all other selling areas. In January of this year we began to realize our significance in the industry and declined to continue as a Graber® fabricator and began to control our own destiny.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Dockery: CACO's first product introduction on its own was in 1991 with two-inch aluminum horizontal blinds. The two-inch blind craze hadn't hit yet, but we managed to make some substantial inroads in the market with these blinds, which we sold under the Signature Series label.
One year later, we began to offer one-inch mini-blinds under our own product name. Signature Series blinds now seemed to influence certain commercial markets such as manufactured housing, new apartment construction and general contract distribution. Bali, and later Graber, dominated the greater portion of our retail sales. However, as the Signature Series' name recognition grew they slipped to a smaller percentage of our total blinds sales.
The wood mania was just starting to catch on when we began to manufacture Delta Woods in 1994. We discreetly entered into the wood market with this product offered in a limited color line and in a two-inch width only. Within two years we added one-inch slats, cloth tapes and a full compliment of colors.
In 1995, two-inch Fashions Plus PVC horizontals blinds were added to our line, and in 1996 we became one of the first manufacturers in the industry to offer a two-inch PVC and foam product under our Faux Wood label. We haven't looked back since.
D&WC:Where do you see yourself and your company five years from now? Are there additional areas within the industry that you would like to get involved in?
Dockery: Now, as CACO enters into the new millennium, our vision of controlled growth under our own power has become a reality. We have expanded more the eight times our original occupied space, added 80 percent more employees and five times the initial volume.
CACO, Inc. Window Fashions
3542 W. Market ST.
P.O. Box 5547
Johnson City, TN 37604
Fax: (423) 926-5836