Making a Grand Entrance
Las Vegas Plant Makes Openings a Priority
by Tara Taffera
“People ask us, ‘What is your standard size?’ We can do anything. The
word ‘no’ is non-existent here. I don’t want to say we can give you the
moon but we almost can,” says Avi Shoshan, president of Panda Windows
and Doors, based in Las Vegas.
Panda’s expansive door and window products include lift-and-slide doors
that can be made as high as 20-feet tall. They are on display in high-profile
luxury projects such as the City Center in Las Vegas. The products, suitable
for both residential and commercial applications, help account for the
300 percent yearly sales growth for the company since 2004. Today, the
company produces approximately 3,000 custom units per year and is focused
primarily on the luxury market.
Slow then Steady
But the impressive growth didn’t start right away—and it didn’t start
in Las Vegas—or even in the United States. Shoshan founded the company
in his native Israel in 1990, then moved it to the United States approximately
ten years later.
“I got a call from a friend [in the United States] who told me that no
one there was doing what we were doing in Israel,” says Shoshan.
His conversations with architects confirmed that his friend was correct.
So in July 2002 Panda Windows and Doors opened with Shoshan and his friend
“After leaving Israel, everything was new here,” says Shoshan, who moved
here with his wife and two children eight years ago. His wife is involved
in the business as well and handles the accounting.
After two years Shoshan says he realized he and his partner couldn’t work
together so Shoshan bought him out.
“I had a lot of ambition and a lot of energy,” he says. “We realized how
our differences in our drive and commitment to success was not efficient
and did not allow for growth.”
Since Shoshan took over sole leadership in 2003, the company has grown
300 percent from 2003-2007; today, it has 35 employees that handle day
to day operations. But that number can grow to 300-plus for particular
For the first year much of the company’s business was in the Vegas market
but in 2005 the company went nationwide and that’s when Shoshan says,
“everything became very big.”
“I like to have control [over processes].
It cuts the time, cuts the expenses and controls the quality.”
—Avi Shoshan, president
The West still accounts for Panda’s largest market in states including
California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. However, the company has made a
great investment in recent years expanding into the East Coast, and developing
products specific to that market.
“We have about 200 dealers and we are putting a lot of effort into building
our dealer base,” he says.
Serving Multiple Markets
When the company first started in the United States, its business was
100-percent focused on the residential market.
“We slowly started moving into the commercial market as I realized that
you can use our products in both settings,” says Shoshan.
Today, 65 percent of Panda’s business is in the residential market and
35 percent in commercial.
The company primarily focuses on North America but it hasn’t forgotten
about the city where it got its start.
“We get a lot of local business,” says Shoshan. “There is a market for
our large-opening products here [in Vegas].”
Cooper Buranen, director of marketing, says that this is the case in spite
of the fact that many projects here are on hold due to funding.
“We [Vegas market] have felt the downturn of the economy, no doubt. However,
Las Vegas continues to be a good local market for us as even when things
are bad here, it’s still a growing city,” he says. “There are projects
that lose financing and go under, but there are still many projects underway
that have secure financing and require nothing but the best products to
please the guests of our city. As with the housing industry here, we have
done many residential projects because, for people wanting an investment
property or that find a deal on a great luxury home, they then have money
to improve the property with a custom door to their infinity pool or patio.”
A European Influence
Panda’s products are based on European designs, as that is part of Shoshan’s
background. The company’s signature lift-and-slide products include wood,
thermally broken, as well as automated options and radius units.
Shoshan speaks a great deal regarding Panda’s differences from other manufacturers.
“Our core is aluminum,” he says. “We can do larger sizes and with more
stability. We offer the largest lift-and-slide, the biggest sizes and
a multi-point locking system standard in all our sliders, which is unique.”
The company’s products are made of reinforced profiles so it can produce
large panel sizes and hold thicker glazing.
“We can accommodate any type of glazing so we can design products for
impact applications,” says Shoshan.
In fact, it has many systems that were tested and certified to meet Miami-Dade
“That will help us sell in hurricane-prone regions,” says Shoshan. “We
are working to educate architects and builders regarding what the difference
is between their own products and the competition.”
He attributes one difference to a thicker extrusion.
The efforts seem to be working as Shoshan says Panda has received more
inquiries this year than in the past. Panda also listens to its customers.
“We look at what the market has and we try to come up with a better solution,”
says Shoshan. “We currently are developing a lift-and-slide product with
a two-inch stile—most are four inches. That came from input from an architect.”
Panda also manufactures French and pivot doors, the latter for which Panda
offers a unique option.
“With pivot doors you can put the hinge wherever you want,” says Shoshan.
“One of our customers said he had searched and couldn’t find a company
that made aluminum pivot doors.”
The company also introduced an aluminum-wood window.
“We’re starting to sell more windows,” says Shoshan. “These can be used
for commercial and residential applications.”
Whether it’s for its door or window products, a huge focus at Panda is
on new product development. And, while the company offers products for
impact regions it offers products that can help achieve energy goals as
well. Shoshan reports that Panda supplied some systems for the Las Vegas
City Center, the largest LEED-certified project in the world.
For its thermal breaks, Panda uses polymide, while most companies use
gel. “This allows for a better U-factor,” he says, and adds that there
is great interest in its thermal-break systems and this is an area where
the company will introduce more products in the future.
Shoshan explains that the material plays a crucial role in the product
but also very important is the way Panda produces its thermal breaks.
“As we all know aluminum is a thermally conductive material but when split
with a less conductive material this greatly improves the thermal values
by decreasing thermal conductivity,” explains Buranen. “Most companies
use a low-cost option to do this by removing strips of the extrusion and
filling those areas with a resin that provides very little strength. This
means that they must keep the aluminum every few feet to keep the extrusion
from falling apart, this is called ‘Fill and De-Bridge.’ We actually use
two separate extrusions and then crimp them together using the polyamide
iso-bar as the joining material. This material provides strength so that
we can use two extrusions thus allowing for no aluminum connection while
providing the structural strength to support the large panels.”
When it comes to energy efficiency, again it comes down to developing
a custom system that meets the needs of the customer.
Shoshan says he works with a variety of glass manufacturers.
“The customer may say I want x glass,” he says. “I may work with five
to six different suppliers.”
A Custom Plant Creating Custom Products
Shoshan purchased Panda’s 50,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in 2007.
When you walk in you notice a lot of light—from both nature and the energy-efficient
lighting system installed recently. The company took advantage of an innovative
system from Nevada Power to light the plant more efficiently.
“We use crates—it costs more the way
we ship but zero come back. In the last three years,
nothing has come back damaged.”
—Avi Shoshan, president
“We pay much less than we used to for our electricity,” says Shoshan.
“We also offer a lot of natural lighting through installation of skylights
throughout the plant. We save a lot of energy by not having to use regular
light. I was determined to have skylights. We have 300-plus days of sunshine
And it’s hard to not notice the pride Shoshan takes in his manufacturing
“Everyone knows I’m crazy about cleaning,” he says. “You can almost eat
off the floor at the end of the day.”
But even more pride is given to the way Panda’s systems are manufactured;
Shoshan points out that this isn’t your typical manufacturing plant.
“We do very customized work here,” he says. “We produce about 200-300
systems a month. We are craftsmen.”
The company strives to control as much of the process as possible, which
is why it also does powder-coating in-house.
“I like to have control,” says Shoshan. ”It cuts the time, cuts the expenses
and controls the quality.”
Once the extrusion leaves the spray booth it moves to the oven, which
Shoshan describes as “one of the biggest.”
After powder-coating, the product moves back to the table for hardware
which is supplied by a select number of companies, including G-U Hardware.
The company also offers multi-point locks standard on its products, which
is another offering that Shoshan says sets his company apart from others.
While Panda has been part of some high-profile projects, Shoshan describes
the company as “a mom-and-pop shop.”
Even the machines used are custom-made and most are imported. The CNC
machine was built custom to Shoshan’s request by a German company, while
the punching system was made in Israel.
Another machine was supplied by Italy’s Famatec and it can pick up glass
and travel anywhere in the plant.
“The system was made to be stationary, but we modified it to be able to
move it around the facility. It can lift 600 pounds of glass with no risk
to anyone,” says Shoshan. “These are the simple things we do that show
we think out of the box.”
The bending machine in the plant was built by Shoshan himself, who has
a lot of background in this area. The machine, used for panoramic sliders
and other products, was made in Israel then brought to the United States.
“I have a lot of sentiment for the machine I built. We’re not using it
anymore but it is still here,” he says.
Once the products are manufactured every system is checked by quality
control. “We test all the sliders before they leave,” says Shoshan.
When it is time for shipping, Panda doesn’t go with the cheapest method.
“We use crates—it costs more the way we ship but zero come back. In the
last three years, nothing has come back damaged,” he says.
Once the systems arrive on the job site they are installed by installers
who have been trained and then certified by Panda. The company offers
training in-house or at the company site.
Although the company has experienced significant growth it’s not immune
to challenges facing those in the entire construction industry. “We have
a letter of intent for a huge project in California,” says Shoshan. “But
Lehman Brothers was the investor so now the project is on hold.”
But that’s not stopping the company from continuing to produce additional
innovative products. After all, the word no is non-existent at Panda.
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