Volume 45, Issue 8 - October  2006

Dear SHELTER

SHELTER is on to Something ...

Dear SHELTER:
Great issue (August 2006). Nice job on the door skins article (page 12). 

Also, I can’t recall any other magazine ever putting so much stair information in one issue. Thanks for all you did for us. 

Dave Silvia
Horner Millwork
Somerset, Mass.

Hurricanes Hit Small Dealers

Dear SHELTER:
I own a small door and window company located in Hammond, La., 35 miles north of New Orleans. We have 15 employees with annual sales of 2.5 million.

Before Hurricane Katrina we were buying molded skin door units from two distributors. One of them was a Masonite distributor and the other was a JELD-WEN distributor. 

After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Masonite distributor’s building was severely damaged. So we shifted the business to the JELD-WEN distributor. Then, in February we were notified of a possible shortage of door skins. JELD-WEN told us a fire in an Australian plant caused this shortage. 

The Masonite distributor came on line in January with a reduced staff due to the labor shortage. In April, we were experiencing shortages from our distributors in the form of back orders and extended lead time from ten days to four weeks. We then switched our business to two smaller independent door shops. We were paying an increased cost of about 15 percent, but we were getting a steady flow of door orders. Smaller independent shops were put on allocations in June. They could no longer guarantee us delivery of molded door skin units. In fact, one of these independent door shops is on the verge of going out of business because they can no longer get door slabs. They have the cash and orders to place but the major molded door skins producers will not sell to them. They need to keep supplying their company-owned distributors. 

In this area, including New Orleans, there are more than 250,000 homes that need major repairs or complete rebuilds. At an average of 20 molded door units for each house, this means approximately five million molded door skin units needed in the next few years. This does not include new construction in the surrounding areas. Not including the big boxes, there are 18 independent door and window companies within a 100-mile radius of New Orleans. If we could get molded skin doors and a reliable labor force (labor is a subject for later), we could supply the current demand. 

Right now we tell potential customers that we are experiencing a four-week lead time. We put them on a list and get them their doors when we can.

Dan Jarratt 
Jarratts Door & Window
Hammond, La.

I Enjoy “The Window Guy”

Dear SHELTER:
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading the monthly column, “The Window Guy.” I enjoy the substance as well as the satirical flavor Mark Reasbeck adds.

Keep them coming. Maybe we can get him syndicated nationally. Of course, the “Big Guys” will never learn from this. That’s probably best since it’s this kind of hubris that keeps little guys like us in business.

Michael Vipiani
Meridian Partners Inc.
Austin, Texas 

SHELTER
© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.