Ten Years Ago: First Garage Door Web Site Opens

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2006
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 65

Ten Years Ago

First Garage Door Web Site Opens

In the fall of 1996, Garaga Doors announced the launch of www.garaga.com on the World Wide Web. The site presented Garaga’s corporate profile, its product line, the Garaga Expert Network, maintenance tips on residential and commercial garage doors, and tips for selecting a garage door.

Update: Garaga probably holds the distinction of being the first North American garage door manufacturer to open a fully functional Web site. Jean-François Morin, Garaga sales & marketing manager, says that the Web was seen as “the best manner to introduce our products and build up confidence” for Garaga’s export business.

DASMA Hires a Technical Director

In August 1996, shortly after DASMA was formed, DASMA hired Joe Hetzel as a full-time technical director to help the industry present a united voice to regulatory groups for our products.

At the time, the industry faced inappropriate building and fire codes for garage doors, safety issues, and complex wind-load requirements in South Florida.

Hetzel came to DASMA as a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) with a degree in civil engineering. His background included more than 10 years of engineering experience in the building products industry, with involvement in product design, testing, and research.

Update: With DASMA for 10 years now, Hetzel’s extensive activities for the association have grown steadily. His activities now include technical work for DASMA’s newest division, the High Performance Door Division.

Sanwa Shutter Buys Overhead Door

In July 1996, Overhead Door announced that it was being sold to Sanwa Shutter Corporation of Japan for approximately $470 million. Sanwa Shutter, with headquarters in Tokyo, was said to be the leading door systems company in Japan.

Overhead Door had been privately held by Bessemer Holdings since January 1990. The Genie Company, purchased by Overhead Door in 1994, was included in Sanwa’s purchase.

Brian Bolton, then president and chief executive officer of Overhead, expressed confidence that the purchase was a positive move for the company: “Overhead Door will continue its excellent record of growth with Sanwa’s valuable support.”

Update: This 1996 announcement stunned the industry, since it was the first-ever foreign acquisition of a major American garage door manufacturer. In 2003, Sanwa continued expansion, purchasing the Novoferm Group, considered the second-largest manufacturer of garage doors and operators in Europe.