Part II: Love and Garage Doors- Growing Families and Businesses Since 1921

We’re continuing the love fest with Part II of our Love and Garage Doors series. Meet four more of our amazing distributors in today’s blog. If you missed Love and Garage Doors Part I, read it here http://bit.ly/1WidJgZ!

The McGraws

Overhead Door Company of Eugene-Springfield

Paul & Katie BurrellPaul Chris Alan Burrell

In 1986, Gordon McGraw bought Overhead Door Company of Eugene-Springfield to build a flexible life for his young family. In 2007, when he was ready to retire and enjoy his hobbies, the next generation was ready to step in. His daughters and their husbands, Katie and Chris Schnider and Sara and Paul Burrell, were ready to take on the very successful distributorship that Gordon had built. Katie and Paul took over day-to-day operations, while Chris eventually began to manage the commercial sales department and Sara continued her work in the community as a registered nurse. The group went on to win the Eagle Award from 2012-2014.

We asked them a few of their favorite things about working as Overhead Door Distributors:

“Seeing the impact we’ve been able to achieve in the community, not just from providing and installing garage doors, but helping others in the community. Whether it is through donating to a charitable cause, or donating materials and services for auctions and raffles, we’re blessed and fortunate to be able to give back. It has been as rewarding as any other element of being involved with this business,” said Chris.

“It is always memorable when we get to spend continuing our garage door education at conferences and meetings as well as socializing with other distributors,” said Katie.

Chris said he enjoys the business side of things, “Getting to see the whole picture of running a business. Instead of just one aspect, we get to delve into and make decisions regarding every part of our livelihood,” he explained.

The group sees changes toward viewing the garage door as a statement piece as an upcoming trend for their business. Being in a microbrewery capital, many are now showing interest in Full Vision doors. In addition, the group has seen a trend toward proactive safety measures, particularly when it comes to fire doors.

The Ross’s

Overhead Door Company of South Central Texas

OHD South Central Texas bcs-frontOHD South Central Texas corpus-front

When Jeff Ross lost his job to an organizational restructure almost 15 years ago he had to make a choice:  start working for somebody else or become his own boss. Now, he owns and manages three distributorships along with the help and support of his family.

His wife Lauri, whom he knew growing up, started out in inside sales and evolved to purchasing and inventory control. Mike, Jeff and Lauri’s oldest son, joined the family business almost 12 years ago and has worked in inside sales, estimating and now works as an operations supervisor. Danny, Jeff and Lauri’s youngest son, worked as a door tech while attending college and eventually moved to outside sales, branch manager, and now works in the material handling division of the company. Lauri and Jeff’s daughter-in-law Erica also started working in the business while in college, and now manages the company’s e-commerce and websites.

Owning a distributorship allowed the family to hire on Jeff’s father part-time making sales calls. These led to some of the most cherished memories the family has. Mike and Danny had the opportunity to work along-side and learn from their grandfather, who was very mindful of schedules, arriving early to sales calls and always being prepared.

“A family business is not without its challenges. One of the challenges is to make sure you treat all of your employees as family.  As long as people understand the rules and you treat everyone fairly and with respect, it’s not an issue,” said Jeff.

The Parmelys

Overhead Door Company of Riverton/Lander

Parmely.Chuck 1Parmely

Chuck and Cynthia Parmely met in 1981, when Cynthia began work as a bookkeeper for Chuck’s dad who owned the distributorship before Chuck and Cynthia took over in 1998. The two were married just six months later on April 3, 1982 and will be spending their 34th wedding anniversary at Overhead Door’s 95th National Ribbon Distributor Meeting!

Chuck has been in the garage door business since he was 10 years old, spending the past 37 years with Overhead Door Company of Riverton/Lander, “I was born into this business and I love the job,” said Chuck.

Chuck and Cynthia’s daughter, Ashley, followed in her family’s footsteps. This year will mark her tenth year with Overhead Door! “Even though we aren’t all related, it’s like we are all family here. We joke around with each other and the atmosphere is always light, fun and carefree,” said Ashley.

Some of their favorite memories revolve around that family bond with the entire distributorship. Chuck remembers an unexpected gift, the metal art with the Overhead Door logo in the pictures above, that meant a lot to him and Cynthia. The art was given to the couple by the employees at a company Christmas party a few years ago. This bond has transformed the distributorship from a one man shop to a 16-person business that has thrived for the past 37 years.

The Christophersons

Overhead Door Company of Bountiful

Christopherson Show Room 2SChristopherson

James and Ilona Christopherson were high school sweethearts. They’ve been in the business for 29 years and their son, David, also works as an integral part of the distributorship. This family has worked hard, and due to this hard work they have grown their business in 12 of the last 13 years, a milestone they’re particularly proud of.

“I wouldn’t be here today without my families’ help,” said James.

When asked about some of their favorite personal memories from working as an Overhead Door Distributor, they pointed to the people they have met at the company as well as other distributorships, who have become their friends and people they look up to.

We want to thank these special distributors for taking the time to share their stories with us. We’re proud to have the opportunity to work with all of our wonderful distributors.

Did you enjoy reading our Love and Garage Door series? Comment below and tell us!

For more information on Overhead Door, or to find an Overhead Door distributor, visit www.OverheadDoor.com, like Overhead Door on Facebook, follow Overhead Door on Twitter or find us on Google Plus.

Part I: Love and Garage Doors- Growing Families and Businesses Since 1921

It’s the season of love and we love our distributors! This month, we’re sharing some of the stories of our Overhead Door Distributors who run their business as a couple or family. As many of these distributors know, working with family has its challenges but underneath it all is a bond that can’t be broken. We’re proud to be a part of family-owned businesses that make up an important part of our Overhead Door Community.

The Walkers

Overhead Door Company of Brunswick

Walkers

Gene and Susan Walker have owned the Overhead Door Company of Brunswick for 22 years. Gene was hired and trained at the age of 19 at the Overhead Door Company of Savannah and started back in the garage door business when he returned to his hometown of Brunswick, giving him 35 years of experience in the industry.

One day, Gene attended a PTA meeting at a Brunswick school for his son, where Susan was introduced as a member of the Glynn County Board of Education.  Gene struck up a conversation after the meeting and before they knew it, they were the only two left in the building. During this conversation, Gene learned that Susan had a background in bookkeeping, and asked if she would like to help him out at the company. She agreed and the two were married two years later.

When asked what it’s like to work with family as a distributor, Susan said, “It can be challenging, but for the most part we enjoy working together.  We try not to step into each other’s areas and we always discuss and make large decisions together. The most important thing is to respect each other’s boundaries and keep a sense of humor.”

Working together and keeping a sense of humor appears to be working for the Walkers. The distributorship was recently featured in International Door & Operator Magazine as a top performing door dealer for their strategic planning, diversification and continued steps toward business efficiency and improvement.

While they continue to strive for improvements, their core focus remains the same. “We always offer a quality door, because you are doing the customer a disservice by selling them anything else. We practice good, fundamental customer service, and we always do what we say we’ll do,” said Gene.

The Attersons

Overhead Door Company of Everett

The Attersons have been in the garage door business a long time. Steve’s father started the business 50 years ago, bringing Steve on at the age of 16. His future wife Heidi stumbled upon this family business when she needed her car’s stereo installed, not knowing she would later become an essential part of the office.

“One of her friends was a friend of the family and recommended that I could help her install it. I installed that stereo and we have been together ever since,” said Steve. The family tradition continued when their son, Stephen, graduated college and came to work at the distributorship as well.

Steve considers his career as an Overhead Door distributor destiny. Even as a young boy, he would respond to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with, “I’m going to be an Overhead Door man!”

Working as a family is very special to the Attersons, and something they are most proud of. “Times have been good and times have been bad, but to make it through everything with your family still by your side brings you closer together.”

The Attersons see the changes with smart phone remote operation as one of the biggest trends hitting the garage door industry right now.

The Johnsons

Overhead Door Company of Bellingham

Johnsons '14

Michelle Johnson grew up with Overhead Door. For her entire life her dad, Delbert, had worked with the company. Jack had the opportunity to get in the business after he and Michelle were married, managing the distributorship for five years before eventually owning it for the last 18.

They decided to own the distributorship together, “Because we saw its potential, that it supported many families steadily year round and we’d heard that the Ribbon was so much like a family that we desired to be a part of that legacy,” said Jack.

Since they are always there to support, encourage and believe in each other, the couple credits their family bond to much of their success over the years, including receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and hitting the Million Dollar Club.

“Working at Overhead Door has allowed us the opportunity to build relationships in the community and to invest back into the community through events and charities. It is an honor and privilege to represent the company at these events,” said Michelle.

The couple sees more modern looking residential garage doors and more sophisticated technology for operators as two of the biggest changing trends in their business.

Be sure to read Love and Garage Doors – Part II in the coming weeks, where we’ll feature three more Overhead Door families!

Do you run your distributorship with your partner, spouse or family? What is the best and most challenging part? Comment below and tell us!

For more information on Overhead Door, or to find an Overhead Door distributor, visit www.OverheadDoor.com, like Overhead Door on Facebook, follow Overhead Door on Twitter or find us on Google Plus.

2016: Overhead Door Turns 95!

Now that you’ve celebrated ringing in the New Year, join Overhead Door as we celebrate our 95th Anniversary! We’re excited to kick-off 2016 and share with you the history, and founding of our company. This year, we will be sharing some of our historic contributions to the industry over these 95 years on our blog. Today’s post will focus on our founder, C. G. Johnson and two of his many contributions to the garage door industry.

In the early 1900’s Henry Ford unveiled the Model T. This automobile was affordable, reliable, and had country roads and small towns in mind. The cost of the Model T made it affordable for the majority of the population. This boom in the automobile industry led several other car makers to start producing affordable cars, which made for even more car owners. With so many Americans now on the road they needed a place to store their newly purchased vehicles!

Carriage houses, originally meant to house horses and the carriages they led, had a new addition: the automobile. Eventually, carriage houses were phased out as more and more people purchased vehicles, and were replaced with garages. Early garages had side-opening panel doors which worked, but not in the most convenient manner. Seeing that these doors required double the amount of space to open, C. G. Johnson had an idea. In 1921 Johnson patented a sectional overhead door, and with that idea, a corporation was born.

To showcase this new invention, Johnson traveled to fairs and expositions with a prototype door attached to his Model T. With the help of new marketing tactics such as customer coupons and community bulletin boards, Johnson quickly established a network of distributors. Five years later, Johnson brought another invaluable piece of technology to the industry to help those who could not manually lift their doors: the electric garage door opener. These two inventions laid the foundation for Overhead Door Corporation, which has continued to be a leader in the industry.

Do you have an Overhead Door garage door? Comment below and share what inventions have made your life easier!

For more information on Overhead Door, or to find an Overhead Door distributor, visit www.OverheadDoor.com, like Overhead Door on Facebook, follow Overhead Door on Twitter or find us on Google Plus.

Overhead Door Adds Two Panel Designs to the Carriage House Collection

Last month, we introduced two new panel designs in our popular Carriage House Collection. The two designs, models 305 and 306, will give homeowners more unique choices for their garage doors.

Model 306 is a modified design that features wide middle panels and narrow panels toward the sides for a more progressive look. Model 305 features a flush panel with rails and stiles outlining each door section, creating a unique style that will compliment a wide range of homes.

O-RD-CarriageHouse-305O-RD-Carriage-306 (Models 305 and 306 in the Carriage House Collection)

Distinctive carriage house designs and superior insulated steel construction combine to create a harmonious balance of elegance and strength in our Carriage House Collection, and our two new models are no exception.

For more information on Overhead Door, or to find an Overhead Door distributor, visit www.OverheadDoor.com, like Overhead Door on Facebook, follow Overhead Door on Twitter or find us on Google Plus.

What do you think of the new designs? Comment below and tell us!

OVERHEAD DOOR RECOGNIZED AS TOP BRAND IN THREE CATEGORIES IN BRAND USE STUDY

Once again, Overhead Door has earned the distinction of being the industry’s No. 1 garage door brand, as determined by Builder Magazine’s  2015 Builder Brand Use Study.

Now in its 20th year, Builder Magazine’s Builder Brand Use study is a survey of the nation’s largest homebuilders. It asks participants to rank garage door brands in four categories: brand familiarity, brand use during the last two years, brand used most and quality. This year, Overhead Door took the top spot in three of the four categories – brand familiarity, brand used most and quality rating.

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The results of the 2015 Brand Use Study were announced in Builder Magazine’s April Buyer’s Guide issue. The publication is distributed to more than 10,800 builders across the nation. The study measures 83 different product categories ranging from appliances to windows.

For all of us at Overhead Door, we are honored knowing that Builder Magazine readers prefer our garage doors, are familiar with our brand and realize the quality of our products. This only reinforces our commitment to producing excellent and reliable garage door solutions, not only for consumers but also for homebuilders. We are looking forward to providing best-in-class products for many years to come.

Overhead Door Thermacore® Collection 5745, Model 903 in Golden Oak

Overhead Door Thermacore® Collection 5745, Model 903 in Golden Oak

Looking for a new garage door? Overhead Door took the top spot in three of the four categories – brand familiarity, brand used most and quality rating.

For more information on Overhead Door, or to find an Overhead Door distributor, visit www.OverheadDoor.com, like Overhead Door on Facebook, follow Overhead Door on Twitter or find us on Google Plus. Have a Question? Leave a comment below and we will answer!

Overhead Door Wins Women’s Choice Award for Fourth Consecutive Year

When it comes to finding a trusted garage door brand, women across the United States are turning to Overhead Door.

For the fourth consecutive year, Overhead Door Corporation has earned the Women’s Choice Award by WomenCertified® for America’s Best for Home in the garage door category. This award designation is based on a national survey of women who were asked to select the brands they would most likely recommend to others.

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“Receiving this award is an honor, and for Overhead Door to consistently be recommended as the top brand among women for four years in a row really speaks to our commitment to deliver superior products and reliable, quality service,” said Dennis Stone, president and CEO of Overhead Door Corporation. “I would like to personally thank each of our Overhead Door distributors for being trusted partners and providing expert solutions to our customers year after year.”

“Women are responsible for most home improvement choices, and because they are risk adverse they value the recommendations of other women. We are proud to recognize Overhead Door with the Women’s Choice Award for a fourth consecutive year which is a testament to the superior quality of their products and service,” said Delia Passi, founder of the Women’s Choice Award and author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women.

The Women’s Choice Award has set the standard for assisting consumers in making informed purchases by identifying brands that are most recommended and trusted by women. Those that deliver a customer experience worthy of recommendation are selected to win a Women’s Choice Award.

To learn more about Overhead Door, its residential products and to find a local Overhead Door distributor, visit www.overheaddoor.com.   Have questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer them.

Choosing a New Garage Door? Follow These Five Steps

By Kevin Jones, Director, Brand Management, Overhead Door Corporation

For many people, the idea of replacing a garage door is daunting. It’s a (physically) big purchase that can make a big impact on the look and character of the home.

But if you’re thinking about selling your home or just trying to add some curb appeal, replacing your old door is a great way to go. It will help your house stand out in the neighborhood and, research has shown, deliver a significant return on investment when it comes time to sell (up to 75 percent on average, according to REMODELING magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value report).

But how should you go about it? What should you look for? What is available? There are more choices than you think, especially when factoring in materials (steel, vinyl, wood), styles (modern, traditional, carriage house), energy efficiency (insulated or non-insulated), options (windows, decorative hardware) and colors. To make sense of it all and find the garage door system that best fits your home’s architecture, follow these five steps.

Step One: Understand your options

While you’ll eventually want to visit an Overhead Door distributor showroom, taking the time to research your options online is the best place to start. OverheadDoor.com and even social interest sites like Pinterest are good places to get ideas.

However, to really understand the decisions you’ll need to make, watch these short videos Overhead Door put together on selecting a new garage door. Combined, the six videos go through the basics that will be brought up when you get to the showroom, including brand selection, the impact a garage door can have on curb appeal, the style options and material choices available, insulation benefits and even price considerations.

Step Two: Determine your door material

One of the most important factors to consider is door material. All doors are not created equal, and each material used in construction has its own pros and cons. For example, while a steel garage door will last a long time, it can also be dented, something to keep in mind if your kids play ball in the driveway. Wood doors are beautiful, incredibly strong and can be custom designed to perfectly complement your home’s architectural style, but they require routine maintenance and can be more expensive than other garage doors on the market. And, if you live in an area subject to strong winds, you’ll want to consider doors with high windload ratings.

Step Three: To insulate or not insulate

If your garage is adjacent to any kind of living space, such as a bedroom or living room, it’s a good idea to choose an insulated garage door; it may help to keep those rooms more comfortable, especially if you live in a climate with extreme winter or summer temperatures. Not only that, insulated doors tend to have quieter operation, a significant plus if a bedroom is located next to or above the garage. Do you have a detached garage? If so, a non-insulated door will probably do just fine as long as you’re not in a region with extreme winter temperatures or there is nothing stored in your garage that could be damaged by freezing such as paint and caulk.

Step Four: Try on some doors

The fun starts after you’ve determined the basics of what you want in a new garage door. When visiting the Overhead Door website, you’ll find styles ranging from utilitarian to ornate, carriage-house to modern.

Door View Screen Shot

For many people, imagining how a new door will look on their home can be difficult. We’ve heard this from many of our customers, so we created an online visualization tool to make the process easier. Our DoorView® Design Center allows you to upload a photo of your house then place many kinds of doors onto your home until you find the one you like. For each door, you can choose among window, color, panel and decorative hardware styles. If you just want to browse on the fly, the online tool also contains a variety of sample homes in many different architectural styles.

Step Five: Time to buy

Now that you’ve done your research, you can walk into your local Overhead Door showroom as an informed customer. Even better, you’ll be able to choose a door that truly matches your home and helps it stand out.