A new overhead door firm tracks for long-term development and growth
Photo (from left): Sarah Lucas, Nohl Reiser and Lee Reiser of True North Overhead Doors Inc.
IT’S NOT SOMETHING that grabs much attention, but whether you are a homebuilder, homeowner, industrial space landlord or one of several types of commercial businesses, at some point or another, for one reason or another, you’re going to need an overhead door specialist.
And when that time arrives, you’ll find there is no lack of options in the market. From big-box retailers for DIYers to garage and overhead door sales and service firms to tackle repairs and new installations, there are several places to turn to when things aren’t rolling along quite as well as they should be.
One of the newest options available to Londoners is a small startup company, True North Overhead Doors Inc., launched by a troika who had decided the time was right to make the move from employees to entrepreneurs.
“There’s quite a bit of competition, but with the volume of business going on in Southwestern Ontario, every overhead door company in the area is at capacity for installs, which gave us confidence to do this,” says Nohl Reiser, who operates True North alongside his brother, Lee, and friend, Sarah Lucas.
“I think we all aspire to be in control of our own destiny,” Reiser continues. “Our brand represents our proud Canadian identity and our commitment to be an ethical and honest company. There are three maple leafs [in the logo], one to represent each of us.”
“There’s quite a bit of competition, but with the volume of business going on in Southwestern Ontario, every overhead door company in the area is at capacity for installs, which gave us confidence to do this” —Nohl Reiser
The trio laid plans for their new business early last year and opened in June, renting a 2,500-square-foot space in Ilderton that houses the office, showroom and storage space.
“Our total investment to start up was about $50,000,” says Reiser. “We all used our savings, and we are fortunate to have a very supportive relationship with our parents who provided a startup loan.
“We decided to work with what we had and built everything from scratch—from doing our own renovations, including framing and flooring, to building the racks on our trucks. We are lucky to have friends in the trades, and Lee is a fantastic metal fabricator and welder.”
Each partner holds equal shares in True North, and each has a defined role in the company: Reiser is sales manager; Sarah Lucas is the office manager; and Lee Reiser is the operations manager and installer.
“I also cover our tech needs and maintain our online presence, and I can do some installation work,” adds Reiser.
At the six-month mark, sales had grown to the point that they needed to hire their first employee, a door technician, to keep up with demand.
True North works with several area homebuilders, and there is also a focus on individual homeowners and private commercial businesses.
“Seasonally we see a shift—spring through fall is new construction and installation, and winter is service and repairs,” explains Reiser. In addition to traditional sectional steel overhead doors, the company also supplies and installs rolling steel doors, high-speed rubber doors, fire doors, garage door openers and window products.
“Lee has worked as a commercial and residential installer for the past 12 years, and he has a really good reputation, so people who know his work are tracking us down,” says Reiser. “Sarah has worked in the industry for over 12 years and ensures all parts of the business are working smoothly and that our customers are properly looked after. We’re going to grow slowly but steadily, in a way that we can maintain our reputation and relationships. Kym Wolfe