One-on-One With Chateau Products Inc.

Comments
Posted in Articles
Print

Chateau Products Inc. is a family-owned business dedicated exclusively to the self-storage industry. ISS conversed with the company’s vice president of operations, Tony Borysenko, who shared insight to Chateau’s business philosophy, the company’s international drive, and the quality products and services it is committed to provide.

Tell us a bit about Chateau’s roots. Where did the business begin?

Chateau was founded in 1991 by Bill, Pauline and Peter Martin. It’s a family business with a vision of great products, great pricing and the very best in customer service—and it all started in the garage of the Martin home in Southwest Florida. The idea for Chateau came shortly after the sale of the family’s successful specialty-hardware business, which they owned and operated for more than 20 years. Looking for new opportunities, they purchased a self-storage facility as an investment. They quickly identified the growth potential of the industry and a niche that complimented their business background: security hardware.

Chateau began by selling just a handful of padlocks and replacement door latches exclusively to self-storage. Almost 15 years later, the company still focuses exclusively on this industry, having become a one-stop shop for virtually anything you need to maintain and operate a storage facility. Chateau is headquartered in Bradenton, Fla., and continues to be solely owned by Bill and Pauline.

What regions does the company serve?

Chateau is a global company, serving self-storage facilities all over the world. Our corporate office and Eastern distribution center is in Bradenton, with Western distribution covered by our Sparks, Nev., facility, and Canada served by our facility in Orangeville, Ontario. We have evolved from using controlled tooling interests for the production of our security hardware to operating our own manufacturing facility in the free-trade zone of Southern China. Our factory produces 90 percent of all the locks we offer and 100 percent of our latches and latch components. We employ 35 people here in the states and more than 400 in our factory in Asia.

What are Chateau’s primary products?

Since 1991, Chateau has offered the self-storage industry high-quality padlocks, latches and latch systems, with value pricing and the highest regard for customer service. We design and manufacture our security hardware to meet the ever-growing demands of the industry.

There are few applications in which you have more padlocks concentrated in a single location than self-storage, and a storage facility is a tough place for a padlock. It’s constantly exposed to the elements, must perform after months of sitting idle, is at constant risk of being attacked, and must be keyed differently than the hundreds or thousands of other locks on doors just down the row. At Chateau, we place a high priority on key changes that maintain the integrity of uniquely keyed locks—you don’t want the key to your neighbor’s lock to open yours.

National lock brands sold by major retailers and some industry distributors can be great, but they’re not necessarily right for storage applications. There are cost savings that can be achieved with less focus on key changes, and the “name brands” often take advantage of those efficiencies. That’s fine when two locks are sold off the same retail hook in a “Home SuperStore,” since what are the chances those locks will be used only feet away from each other? It’s more likely one will be used to secure someone’s outdoor freezer, and the other will end up on the other side of town, keeping a spare tire secured under a pickup truck. But when two locks are sold at a storage facility, you can count on them being used near each other, and you want them to be different.

In addition to security hardware, Chateau offers a full and complete line of retail, moving and packing supplies, retail displays, maintenance items, tools and specialty items—all exclusive to the self-storage industry. We are fortunate in that our diverse line gives us the opportunity to work with storage owners and managers on a variety of challenges, allowing us to constantly learn and improve on how we operate and what we offer. Beyond our products, we provide solutions: We work with new operators on choosing security and retail layouts for sites in development or under construction; we can help stop break-ins at a existing site, or show you how to convert your current office into a retail-profit center.

What is your company philosophy?

This is simple: quality, value and the highest regard for customer service. You have to offer products that perform, are priced right, and reach your customers in a manner that exceeds their expectations. You also have to specialize. If you do one thing, do it well; and in our case, it’s self-storage. Our goal has been—and continues to be—making Chateau the brand for the industry.

What trends are you seeing in the storage industry?

Self-storage is becoming more sophisticated and mainstream. Facilities must appeal to the consumer in more ways than ever before, and it’s rare to find a newly constructed site that offers just storage and nothing else. Operators are adding products and services of all types to add more appeal to their businesses. Storage locations are no longer off the beaten trail—they’re next door to major retailers and high-traffic locales, competing for consumer attention.

As the market becomes more sophisticated, so should industry vendors. Chateau embraces these changing times and strives to raise the bar on all its products and services. We are constantly improving our locks and latch systems, offering more features and finishes to suit every application. We continue to improve on the packaging and presentation of all our products to make them more retail-friendly.

It’s important that items are functional, attractive and priced right. When competing with the “big boys,” it’s important for a storage business to be competitive with the items it sells. Several years ago, a major convenience-store chain was losing market share due to high prices on staple items like bread, milk and eggs. It charged too much and generated a negative perception of its business. On the other hand, when you offer good value to a consumer, it’s never forgotten. Small things connect in a big way.

What makes you most proud of Chateau?

Our commitment to customer service. We do business the old-fashioned way. The customer is always right. In today’s business world, many companies talk about customer service, but don’t always give it. I also like the fact that though we’re a big company, we’re small in ways

What is your company philosophy? This is simple: quality, value and the highest regard for customer service. You have to offer products that perform, are priced right, and reach your customers in a manner that exceeds their expectations. You also have to specialize. If you do one thing, do it well; and in our case, it’s self-storage. Our goal has been—and continues to be—making Chateau the brand for the industry. What trends are you seeing in the storage industry?

Self-storage is becoming more sophisticated and mainstream. Facilities must appeal to the consumer in more ways than ever before, and it’s rare to find a newly constructed site that offers just storage and nothing else. Operators are adding products and services of all types to add more appeal to their businesses. Storage locations are no longer off the beaten trail—they’re next door to major retailers and high-traffic locales, competing for consumer attention.

As the market becomes more sophisticated, so should industry vendors. Chateau embraces these changing times and strives to raise the bar on all its products and services. We are constantly improving our locks and latch systems, offering more features and finishes to suit every application. We continue to improve on the packaging and presentation of all our products to make them more retail-friendly.

It’s important that items are functional, attractive and priced right. When competing with the “big boys,” it’s important for a storage business to be competitive with the items it sells. Several years ago, a major convenience-store chain was losing market share due to high prices on staple items like bread, milk and eggs. It charged too much and generated a negative perception of its business. On the other hand, when you offer good value to a consumer, it’s never forgotten. Small things connect in a big way. What makes you most proud of Chateau?

Our commitment to customer service. We do business the old-fashioned way. The customer is always right. In today’s business world, many companies talk about customer service, but don’t always give it. I also like the fact that though we’re a big company, we’re small in ways that count. We can make decisions quickly without the bureaucracy that can affect customer service.

Comments
comments powered by Disqus