Ten Years Ago: Home Centers: A Hot Issue

© 2005 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2005
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 56

Ten Years Ago

Home Centers: A Hot Issue

Ten years ago, home centers were a hot topic. The July 1995 issue of Door & Operator Industry (DOI) published a letter from Richard Brenner, Amarr president, about the growing issue of the “Big Box Home Centers.” Brenner wrote that most customers formerly looked to the Yellow Pages for a garage door. “Now,” he wrote, “almost 50 percent … would go to a home center or building supply store.”

Knowing the growing concern among dealers, Brenner proposed that dealers develop a “national advertising campaign that emphasizes the fact that using garage door installation companies directly … is the best and most cost effective way.” The editor of DOI agreed.

Update: In 1995, the home center issue was a hot topic in the garage door industry. Now, with the meteoric growth of home centers, the issue seems to have cooled. In 1994, home-center leader Home Depot had about 320 stores with annual sales of about $12 billion. Today, Home Depot has nearly 2,000 stores and annual sales exceeding $80 billion. The total home-center business is estimated at $210+ billion annually.

Acrylic Windows Introduced

In the fall of 1995, Clopay became the first manufacturer to introduce leaded-look windows made of impact- and shatter-resistant acrylic. At the time, most steel door panel designs were the same, and plastic inserts were common. The leaded-look option began a new trend for manufacturers to offer new and distinctive window designs.

Update: Clopay says acrylic windows have continued to grow in popularity, and their line of decorative windows has expanded. Clopay’s Pat Lohse explains that more homeowners want to make the garage door an integral part of overall home design. “The styling and detail in these windows is consistent with the design trend in entry doors and windows, resulting in an integrated appearance from the curb,” she explains.

Burns Pushes for Greater Garage Door Awareness

In the fall 1995 issue of Garage Door Business magazine, Howard Burns, president of Windsor Door and president of the National Association of Garage Door Manufacturers (NAGDM), asked, “Why do homeowners accept as normal occurrences the need for periodic maintenance on roofs, heating systems, and driveways—but think the garage door should last forever with little or no maintenance?”

“The challenge,” he wrote, “is to make homeowners aware of new products, improved features, new styling, safety improvements, and the impact a new garage door will make on the appearance of their homes.”



Update: Today, the industry continues grapple with Burns’ 1995 challenge to increase homeowner awareness of our products. Howard Burns was the last president of NAGDM before it merged with DORCMA to form DASMA in 1996. Burns is now retired and living in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, Judy.