Photo Caption: James Wistar, owner of the Everite Door Co., stands alongside one of the garage doors made by his company.
The Everite Door Company in Everett continues to strive to make high quality wooden garage doors n a market filled with less expensive alternatives.
But the company also is looking to expand with new vinyl products that can replicate the look of wood.
James Wistar, president of the company, said the majority of garage door buyers are turning to steel or vinyl doors due to their lower cost and durability.
But Wistar said there is still a demand for high-quality, handcrafted wooden doors.
“We occupy a niche in the higher-end market,” Wistar said. “People who want classy, beautiful doors buy from us.”
That buyers’ market includes the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Simon, Justin Timberlake, Paul Newman and Robert Craft, owner of the New England Patriots.
Craftsmen at Everite make each door at its facility at 122 Armory St. The company then sends its doors to dealers across the East Coast, which then sells and installs them for customers.
“We succeed by producing some of the best products in the industry,” Wistar said.
Everite start out in West Chester in 1939, serving as the manufacturing division of Howell Door. It moved to Everett in the 1960s and grew to be a leader in the garage door industry.
“Some guys have worked here since the 1970s,” Wistar said.
But in the 1990s, the market began to shift to steel products due to their lower cost and durability.
“Most of the market left wood and went to steel,” Wistar said.
The company continued to keep its focus on wood doors up until Wistar bought the company in 2006.
“Revenue had gone way down,” he said. “The company was in need of a turn-around. I wanted to bring a fresh approach to the business.”
Wistar, who lives in Philadelphia, said he had interest in buying the company because of his back-ground in architecture and engineering.
“I spent a lot of time away from that, and I wanted to get back to something I enjoy,” he said.
Wistar in 2011 increased his focus on the company and began commuting to Everett for a couple days each week.
“Sales had dropped and I could see there was a lot of work that had to be done,” he said.
Wistar said he began reaching out to customers and dealers to get a better understanding of the product market.
“I went around to figure out what we do well and what we don’t do well,” he said.
One of the biggest changes the company has made in recent years is the development of vinyl and composite doors.
“People like that it’s waterproof,” Wistar said. “It weathers well. It’s been a very popular product over the last two to three years.”
Wistar said the company is working to create a maintenance free door that has the look of a wood door.
“We’re working really hard to get that look in a composite or vinyl door,” he said. “But it’s really hard to get that look in a composite or vinyl door.”
The craftsmen at Everite custom build each door to order. Most garage door openings have standard dimensions, but Wistar said they can fit any style door to any garage.
A variety of wood stain and paint options are available to add to the customization options of each door.
The doors are made from a choice of different woods, including western hemlock, Douglas fir, extira, Meranti, Radiata Pine, Sapele, Spanish Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Accoya. Alternative choices include tricoya composite panel and versatex PVC.
Wistar said Everite’s foot-print is in 22 states.
“Most of our sales go east and north,” he said. “We sell a lot in Boston, Philadelphia and New York.”
Wistar said the recent changes have increased sales and the company’s budget leveled.
“Our goal is to push them up beyond that,” he said.
~~Story written by Will DeShong, The Bedford Gazette.