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Gardner History: Celebrating 56 Years

Mr.Edd Gardner w/ First Piece of Mirror Down Gardner Line

 Gardner Glass Merchandise is celebrating our 56th yr in enterprise this week. We’re pleased with our heritage and arduous work that received us right here and grateful for our individuals that made this journey attainable. However what makes our story distinctive? It’s our willingness to vary, adapt and hunt down new alternatives.

Mr.Edd Gardner w/ First Piece of Mirror Down Gardner Line ~ July sixth, 1962

1930-1960: THE GROUNDWORK

Gardner Glass Merchandise, previously Gardner Mirror Company, was based on July fifth, 1962 by one of many business’s legendary figures, Mr. Edd Frank Gardner. Gardner had an extended historical past of success within the business previous to forming his personal mirror firm in 1962.

Probably the most notable impression of Mr. Gardner’s profession previous to 1962 was his tenure with Carolina Mirror Company, additionally based mostly in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Edd Gardner based Carolina Mirror Company in 1936. He remained President of Carolina Mirror till his departure in 1961.

Nobody else within the mirror business can match the accomplishments of Edd Gardner; then or now. He based and constructed the 2 premiere mirror corporations in the USA – each in the identical city – making North Wilkesboro, NC the mirror capital of the world for a lot of many years. The identify Gardner has since develop into synonymous with success, high quality, and integrity within the glass commerce everywhere in the world.

The brand new Gardner Mirror line – 1962

THE 1960s: THE BEGINNING

After opening his personal firm – Gardner Mirror Company – on July fifth, 1962, the subsequent step for Edd Gardner was to seek out new methods to develop. Edd Gardner and his son-in-law, Don Culler, who had introduced with him from Carolina Mirror, held visions for the longer term which have been very distinctive to the business on the time. The Gardner administration group of the early sixties was on the lookout for methods to vary and add new avenues of distribution.

The imaginative and prescient offered by Edd Gardner and Don Culler at Gardner Mirror helped to revolutionize the business. On the time, the mirror business was targeted primarily upon OEM (unique gear producer) purposes. Mirror was recognized as a standard wanting glass. One thing that served a perform, solely. Right now mirrors are seen as trendy and ornamental merchandise.

However within the 60s there have been developments in float glass know-how so that tumbler might be made bigger and flatter than ever earlier than. This allowed larger-sized mirrors to be made with extra ease so now a full wall of mirror might be used as an ornamental component. This concept of glass wall cladding could be attributed to the imaginative and prescient of Gardner and Culler.

It is very important notice that alongside this similar time, the float glass business was revolutionized. Beforehand, glass used for mirrors was poured and needed to be buffed to a polish and smoothed earlier than including the silver. Glass might solely be made so huge on the time, and it was very labor intensive. The float glass course of allowed a uniform thickness of glass to circulate as a steady ribbon, on a tin tub, with bigger sizes and a smoother floor than ever earlier than. Whereas this was key for the design and use of architectural glass in curtainwall purposes of buildings, it was additionally good timing for Gardner Mirror’s inside merchandise.

Christmas Dinner in the Gardner Mirror Plant 1975

Christmas Dinner within the Gardner Mirror Plant 1975

THE 1970’s & 80’s: EXPANSION & GROWTH

Within the early seventies, the management of Gardner Mirror noticed match to broaden its distribution enterprise so as to get their “mirror products to the wall” and market their new philosophy for mirror merchandise. Edd and Don have been going to seek out methods to help their clients. They felt that gross sales progress depended upon the dedication behind the merchandise to be bought. Subsequently, Gardner had a necessity for its personal in-house distribution facilities in key markets. On the time, this strategy was revolutionary and served to go with its robust unbiased buyer base. The distribution philosophy was added to Gardner Mirror Company as a way so as to add worth for his or her clients, not as a way of competitors with them.

Gardner opened its first distribution middle in June of 1973 in Phoenix, Arizona. One other facility was opened in Arlington, Texas in 1982. Through the years, Gardner was targeted on flexibility in distribution, with places in numerous markets through the years because the areas required: Salt Lake Metropolis, Denver, Orlando, and DC have been all houses to a Gardner location at one time or one other. These amenities have been strategically situated to help the expansion of GGP merchandise and the value-added imaginative and prescient that Edd Gardner held for the corporate from its starting.

Within the late eighties, Gardner opened a second silvering facility in Huntsville, Texas – buying the road from Texas Mirror. In the present day, this facility manufactures copper-free mirror in a 2-coat system that’s distinctive to the business, and nonetheless amongst a number of the best and greatest performing mirrors out there on the earth immediately.

1987 Article Featuring Don Culler on Foreign Competition in the Mirror Business

1987 Article That includes Don Culler on Overseas Competitors within the Mirror Enterprise

THE 1990’s: A TIME OF CHANGE

When Edd Gardner died at age 87 on November 30th, 1988; Don Culler made the transition to the nook workplace. An Air Pressure veteran with a enterprise school schooling, he now had two grown daughters with husbands of their very own. Whereas the daughters weren’t within the household enterprise, Culler started to groom his sons-in-law in the identical approach that Mr. Gardner ready him for the management of the corporate. It was a time of change and progress each inside the firm and inside the business because the furnishings business noticed the primary shifts of producing going abroad.

Don Turner Culler handed on February 10th, 1991 on the age of 65, leaving his sons-in-law, Mark Pegram and Peter Hurd, to hold on the household enterprise. Hurd managed operations in Texas, dwelling in Dallas together with his spouse Donna; and Pegram remaining in North Carolina together with his spouse Patty to run the company headquarters.

In 1995, Gardner Mirror Company modified its identify to Gardner Glass Merchandise, Inc. to raised mirror the big variety of merchandise they now might present to their clients. As furnishings manufacturing drifted additional abroad, the corporate pushed much more into fabrication with tempering, bathe doorways, and a rising mass service provider division that offered framed and builder mirrors to a different native home-grown enterprise: Lowe’s Hardware (now Lowe’s Corporations).

Within the late 1990’s it was determined by the Gardner household to promote the corporate to the appropriate purchaser. In 1999, three former Carolina Mirror staff emerged to purchase the corporate; F. Tommy Huskey as President & CEO, Randy Brooks as COO, and Melissa Lackey as CFO; all three from Wilkes County, and all three skilled from Carolina Mirror. Huskey beforehand labored at Carolina mirror for 16 years prior, and as President from 1991 to 1995, earlier than coming to Gardner in 1996.

Mark Pegram (at Left) on the 1993 Christmas Get together congratulating Walter Tidline – with CFO Ernest Cotton within the background at proper – at Wilkes Elks Lodge. 

THE 2000’s: NEW VISION AND END OF AN ERA

New manufacturers emerged as progressive new product strains right now. Tommy Huskey was the creator of the Dreamwalls imaginative and prescient for Gardner Glass Merchandise, which grew to grow to be an umbrella model of the corporate’s value-added merchandise.

“Dreamwalls” was on the very core Gardner. Huskey urged his staff to get up day-after-day looking for new merchandise and new makes use of for our merchandise on each floor of the dwelling and dealing setting. This imaginative and prescient led to the creation of Dreamwalls Colour Glass backpainted glass – the primary US-made again painted glass for inside use and nonetheless the very best high quality backpainted glass out there within the nation. At our very first displaying at NeoCon in 2009, our Dreamwalls Shade Glass gained the “Best of NeoCon” Gold award within the Surfacing Supplies Class.

In 2002, the Carolina Mirror – Gardner Mirror relationship got here full circle. Gardner was capable of purchase the Carolina Mirror model via a company acquisition. With the inflow of framed mirrors from abroad, the corporate had struggled and its core enterprise was depleted. In the meanwhile, the Carolina Mirror model is being protected and held with out use by Gardner Glass Merchandise, however it should all the time be revered by the Gardner firm.

Tommy Huskey with long time employee Della Mae Shumate

Tommy Huskey with longtime worker Della Mae Shumate

THE 2010’s: LEAN DIVERSIFICATION

Sadly, Tommy Huskey died on November 27th, 2011, on the younger age of 57. By that point, Randy Brooks had already been named President, and with Melissa Lackey remaining as CFO and CIO, the transition went easily regardless of grief over the loss. Enterprise continued throughout what turned out to be one of many worst recessions to U.S. financial system and development industries. Throughout this time many rivals went out of enterprise or have been purchased by personal fairness teams. Consolidation was altering the face of the mirror and ornamental fabrication business.

Gardner Glass Merchandise was fortunate sufficient to have the ability to trim places to outlive the recession. It maintained a robust relationship to Lowe’s Corporations as their principal mirrors provider and grew Gardner’s importing and logistical experience. The diversification into quite a lot of extremely fabricated ornamental glass merchandise helped bolster the decreased demand of mirrors in the course of the lagging development drought.

Lean Manufacturing (TPS), of which Randy Brooks had been a scholar and advocate of almost a decade prior, was very important in maintaining prices low and efficiencies excessive. Partnerships with key suppliers have been strengthened, and each order was rigorously evaluated to maintain the corporate robust.

Randy Brooks - recreating the first mirror picture in 1992

Present President Randy Brooks, recreating the primary mirror image in 1992. Ronnie Blevins and Roger Miller are featured within the background.

 

TODAY AND BEYOND: DETERMINED DESIGN

In the present day, Gardner Glass Merchandise is proud to take care of a thriving distribution location in Indianapolis, Indiana; which serves the Midwest area. Gardner additionally treats our two manufacturing places in North Carolina and Texas as distribution facilities for the corporate as nicely, servicing Southern, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic states from these places.

Gardner now has added fabrication of waterjet capabilities, flat edgers, double edgers, computerized slicing machines, a tempering oven, and extra.

Gardner additionally maintains our worker possession ESOP, and the management that owns the corporate is the identical management that runs the corporate day by day,…making a ardour and work ethic that’s second to none.

Gardner prides itself on being a pacesetter in glass coating applied sciences, not simply with high-quality mirror and world-class silvering capabilities, but in addition with modern merchandise like Dreamwalls Colour Glass®, Dreamwalls Vintage Mirror, ProSuede Glass for Markerboards, and lots of extra.

Gardner Glass Merchandise will proceed to enhance the makes use of of ornamental glass not solely in your house and business interiors, however to make the entire world a extra lovely place to be.

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