Opening Doors to Opportunity
Erlanger Hardware Consultants plans rapid growth in commercial door and hardware industry
Erlanger Hardware Consultants (EHC) believes it has a winning formula for attracting and serving customers. The commercial door and hardware supplier prides itself on being an innovative designer, supplier, installer and servicer of everything that revolves around commercial door openings.
Mark Teremi, who founded EHC in 2005 in Erlanger, Kentucky, and serves as President, grew up in the locksmith business, having worked for his father, Mark Teremi Sr., Owner of Bonded Lock Services (BLS). One day, while working closely with a locksmith customer, Mark asked the client what would make things easier for him.
“His response was, ‘Be able to supply this material so I don’t have to call you to service someone else’s products,’ ” Mark remembers. So, he set about to vertically integrate the commercial locksmith company by becoming his own supplier and helping make his customers’ lives easier.
“We care about the general contractors as well as the owners,” he says. “They’re each important to our growth and success. Our drive has been to fully serve our customers and yet, still operate efficiently.”
EHC’s initial workforce numbered just five people for its first seven years, and the group worked out of a 2,000-square-foot warehouse in Florence, Kentucky. EHC and BLS became partnering companies to more fully meet customers’ needs. The agreement was that EHC supplied doors, frames and hardware during new construction for commercial projects. BLS’ role was to continue serving the customers’ locksmith needs once project work was completed.
Growing Pains Mean a Big Move
“We experienced major growth in the first five years as we became a key player in the industry,” Mark says. “By 2008, the inventory, number of projects and overall number of employees had increased so much that we needed to relocate to a larger, 10,000-square-foot facility in Sharonville, Ohio.”
The next year brought additional change when EHC formed a new division to provide glass, glazing and storefronts to its growing list of customers.
“It came about because of another customer’s suggestion that we find a way to decrease the disconnect between the door/hardware supplier, the glass/glazing subcontractor and the general contractor. We also began a full installation division to serve some of our clients’ needs for turnkey service on their projects,” he says.
In 2009, EHC was honored to be selected as the Phase I supplier for the Current at the Banks project in the downtown River Front District of Cincinnati. EHC supplied and installed more than 4,000 doors in the 450-unit, luxury condominium facility. The complex was the first of many multifamily projects for Mark’s team.
“It was one of our first real large projects,” recalls Vince DiMuro, EHC’s Director of Sales. “We developed a great relationship with the owner, and we’re still supporting the facility today with replacements, keying and security services.”
In 2010, further growth in project management and warehouse personnel, as well as increased inventory, called for a new, 33,000-square-foot facility in Norwood, Ohio, the company’s current location.
EHC then opened a sales office in Erlanger, which doubled the company’s sales force by 2013. By 2016, that team was moved to EHC’s Norwood headquarters. This consolidation made it more convenient for customers to obtain services since Erlanger was relatively remote.
“What’s more, we opened a specification division that same year, which was designed to provide better service to our architect and end-user customers,” Mark says.
Pre-installed Door Hardware Speeds Construction
Dayton Children’s Hospital called in 2014 to request EHC’s assistance in designing the doors and specifying hardware for its new 2,000-door, eight-story tower addition to its existing medical facility. The tower opened in 2017.
“This was one of the first times we began supplying pre-installed door hardware that simplified and speeded up construction on-site,” Vince adds.
“We can be of great assistance to customers by pre-installing hardware at our facility before delivering doors to the job site. This way we can ensure the hardware is installed correctly, and it ultimately reduces the amount of on-site assembly,” he adds.
Vince says EHC succeeds at developing partnerships with its customers by keeping them informed, educating them about new product developments and leveraging technology on their behalf.
Healthy Hardware Gives Touchless Solutions
For example, EHC has promoted “healthy hardware” with its customers and prospects over the last several years. Vince says, “The term refers to touchless solutions in a touch-centered world. We believe touchless products are a good way to provide a safer environment by slowing the spread of harmful bacteria, and we think touchless products should be standard in medical facilities and commercial/retail environments.”
Touchless products can include hands-free door openers and safer metals, such as antimicrobial copper that continuously kills bacteria on commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles.
Mark also points to EHC’s work on the Harold and Eugenia Thomas Comprehensive Care Center in Montgomery, Ohio, as another good example of the company’s capabilities. The three-story outpatient center opened in January 2020 with 40 rooms dedicated to cancer care and 47 rooms centered on heart care.
“Hospitals often need custom doors, frames and hardware. A lot of their openings are different or unique based on security and special equipment. This need allows us to display our team’s expertise, build great relationships with the clients and use pre-installation of the hardware for their openings,” Mark says.
With a similar approach, EHC took on The Seasons@Alexandria, in Alexandria, Kentucky, in 2015, which is an inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, personal and memory care, skilled nursing and full-care option facility. For this project, EHC provided design specifications and supplied door frames, hardware and storefronts.
“We simplified internal operations by working closely with the architects, providing door-related materials and installing all of the components,” Vince says. “I’m pleased that we have an ongoing relationship with this owner.”
In 2019, EHC’s glass and glazing division was rebranded as United Glass and Automatics (UGA). EHC, UGA and BLS have the ability to collaborate with each other on customer projects or work independently of each other.
EHC, which primarily provides day-to-day services for companies in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, had 2019 revenues in excess of $10 million. The company readily takes on work in many other states, such as those located east of the Mississippi River.
In addition to medical and multifamily/hospitality, EHC serves educational, office/retail and governmental entities.
Mark’s five-year plan calls to expand to five office locations, service additional states and generate more than $50 million in annual revenue.
Vince says EHC’s work culture is a “very selfless atmosphere. People are dedicated, take ownership of their work and exhibit real teamwork.”
Mark goes on to explain that EHC looks beyond its own industry for future employees. He likes the diversity of ideas and work practices that this approach brings.
“We continue to change the stereotype of the industry by looking for talented/driven candidates in and out of the industry,” he explains. “Our approach has always been that we’re looking for the right people to fit our culture; they can always learn our industry. We also believe in investing in their training and development as another key part of our culture.”