FOUNDERS: TIKVA OOSTERHUIS (“TIKI”)
RALPH OOSTERHUIS (“RALPH”)
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Decor Grates Incorporated manufactures imports and distributes Decorative floor and wall registers for the residential market. The company's products come from a variety of materials such as solid brass, solid hard woods like oak and maple, plated steel finished with brass, chrome, antique brass and brushed pewter, powder-coated steel and plastic in a variety of styles and sizes.
In 1988, after a few years of producing their signature “Decor Scroll” register in brass, Decor Grates recognized that decorative floor registers had come of age. Consumers were looking for innovative enhancements for their homes and decorative floor registers were a unique finishing touch, for the insightful home decorator. Decor Grates knew that the key to success would be to remain as versatile as possible, developing new sizes and styles in a range of materials.
This would help to satisfy the decorating needs of the broad North American consumer base, and facilitate Decor Grates initiative to become the dominant “one-stop” supplier of Decorative floor registers. Wisely, Decor Grates made the strategic decision to allocate large sums of company funding towards the development of tooling necessary to create as diverse a product line as possible, separating Decor Grates from its competitors.
Metal stamping dies and plastic injection moulds were built and the company invested in the development of colorful “eye-catching”, informative, tri-lingual (English, French and Spanish) packaging for the North American market. In 1998, Decor Grates initiated a woodworking division to develop a line of wood registers in anticipation of the market trend towards wood flooring, and in 1999 recognized that plastic registers were becoming more popular. Because of the versatility and relative low-cost of plastic, Decor Grates foresaw a profitable opportunity in the plastic register market.
As a result, Decor Grates purchased Best Dressed Homes, a fledgling Canadian company that produced a line of plastic registers. Also at this time, Decor Grates began the development of a line of Decorative wall registers in response to ongoing requests for this product; a concept that no other manufacturer had explored at that time.
From the onset, Decor Grates has focused on providing a high quality register line in a range of styles and pricing to meet the Decorating requirements and budgets of all consumers. Knowing that consumer satisfaction would lead to success for Decor Grates, the company adopted a philosophy geared towards anticipating the needs of its customers. With that in mind, Decor Grates focused on getting to know its consumer base, accumulating information from many sources.
Over the past five years’ Decor Grates has developed an extensive data database on the geographical distribution of register sizes preferred in regions across North America and the decorating habits of the homeowner. This consumer-driven philosophy has been an integral part of Decor Grates' development, and a cornerstone in its ability to stand apart from the competition. The results speak for themselves. Decor Grates has grown from the signature Decor Scroll design at inception, to a product line with countless styles, sizes and finishes to please consumers from coast to coast.
Decor Grates has gained recognition as a market leader and many of the major retailers in North America distribute its products.
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The Company's first floor registers were initially cast out of brass, which was a very labor-intensive process. To alleviate this problem, stamping dies were created to produce brass tops, which substantially reduced the labor costs associated with cast registers.
In 1998, when wood registers were gaining in popularity and Decor Grates entered the category, the standard design that most manufacturers were using was very labor intensive. Decor Grates needed a competitive edge in pricing and design, and was able to achieve both by purchasing a CNC router. Use of the router system reduced the labor required in the production process and provided the ability to manufacture slotted and scroll designs.
In the fall of 2001, Decor Grates began replacing the traditional steel damper box with a plastic version. The plastic damper boxes offer three major advantages that directly influence productivity and profitability. First, the purchase cost of plastic boxes is lower per unit than for steel. Second, plastic damper boxes require no assembly allowing employees to spend more time on final assembly and meeting ever-increasing demand. Third, much needed working capital was freed up by reducing work in progress, raw materials and damper boxes components.
Decor Grates now has the widest range of decorative design styles for floor registers including the original “Decor Scroll”, Victorian Scroll, Abstract, Art Deco, Oriental, Slotted, Louvered and Lattice designs. Decor Grates continues to develop new materials, designs and finishes and we will have many exciting launches in 2007.
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The meteoric growth of decorative floor registers has far exceeded Ralph and Tiki's original vision and expectations. Decor Grates is now the dominant supplier of decorative floor registers in North America. For Decor Grates to continue its extraordinary growth and take advantage of the full market potential, it must look for other avenues of distribution. On an ongoing basis, Decor Grates reviews new market opportunities.
As a result of market analysis, the company has determined that there are opportunities in the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) industry, Specialty and Decorative hardware retailers, new home construction and the floor covering markets i.e. wood, carpet and tile dealers. Decor Grates is developing a presence in all these areas as part of its planned expansion, with new designs and products targeted at these segments.
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