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Project of the Month Winner – The Door Company of Yuba City

Our dealer spotlight for this month is shining brightly on The Door Company of Yuba City from Yuba City, California. They won our Project of the Month contest with a gorgeous and functional project for the Roseville Fire Station in Roseville, CA. The project included six of our full-view clear anodized aluminum 800 Series commercial garage doors with high cycle hardware. The project was built by Carter-Kelly, Inc. and designed by MFDB Architects, Inc. (based out of Placerville, CA and Sacramento, CA, respectively). The 14’3” x 14’3” doors utilize three rows of 1/8” tempered glass which provide constant visibility to the firefighters for easy identification of any obstructions that they may need to deal with in case of an emergency. Two rows of anodized aluminum panels on the top and bottom of each door offer a sleek finish with plenty of aesthetic appeal.

If you’ve never seen a garage door installation before, you may be asking yourself, “How hard could it be?” For this particular project, it was much more challenging than one might think due to limitations with header height. According to The Door Company of Yuba City’s Sales Manager, Jim Lawrence, their team of seven is no stranger to difficult and complicated projects. Take a look below at our conversation with Jim to hear the story behind the project as well as learn a little more about how The Door Company of Yuba City operates.

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How long has The Door Company of Yuba City been in business?

Jim: It was started 17 years ago, but I’ve been here for 15.

What areas do you service?

Jim: Everything south of Chico down to around Fresno, the Bay area and into Lake Tahoe.

What percentage of your projects are residential vs. commercial?

Jim: About 80% commercial, 20% residential, as residential is just now starting to make its comeback.

Which Northwest Door product do you tend to sell the most of?

Jim: As far as commercial goes, it seems like most everything these days are aluminum and glass doors. We’re doing a LOT of 800 Series doors.

How did this project come about?

Jim: We did a hard bid just like anybody else does, when the project came out, the contractors contacted us and asked us to bid on the project. We gave them our best number and this particular contractor that we did the project with, we’ve done a number of fire stations with them so they worked with us very well and we’re glad to get back in working with them again.

Any interesting pieces of information you could share with us about the project?

Jim: We had to basically go in and we had a standard set of drawings like we always do, and then when the time comes I go out to the project, I evaluate it and then determine what we need to do to get the doors in. We thought the door was 14’ tall, but when I got out there and checked it I found out that it actually needed to be about 14’3 because of the way they had some things set up. There was no way they could bring the header down to 14’ for a 14’ door. The contractor kind of brought that to my attention, so I went out to evaluate it and realized, yeah, that’s definitely what we need to do. So we went back to Northwest Door and said hey, we need to have these re-bid at 14’3, can we do that? And of course they could, so they went ahead and put that together. In the midst of that I started evaluating how the doors would need to be installed and we ran into a glitch where the architect had stuck a set of windows right above the opening of the garage door.

So the original plan conception showed the doors as being standard lift and coming straight back. Because the window started at eight inches above the header, it was impossible to get that door in there without the springs: #1 – Going right across the window opening, and #2 – Having any supports to attach to. So I went back to Northwest Door and Eric Nelson (NWD Commercial Estimator) and I started working on it. I originally thought about going with high-lift and getting it all the way past the windows, but Eric came up with the idea of mounting the springs independently at the very top by the ceiling, and then putting low headroom track in so that we could actually use a trolley operator still to be able to lift the doors up and get everything to work. And that still took some work – if you look at the window frame assembly and you look at the picture inside, you’ll see that the bracket the operator attaches to is actually just right on the bottom edge of the window frame. So, everything happened to work out once we did that, although it still needed some tweaking to work.

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Do you have any other interesting installation stories from your time in the door business that you wouldn’t mind sharing? Any really unique jobs you’ve done recently?

There’s so many stories I don’t know where to start. We did another project a while back with Northwest Door where we had to do a motor-mounted operator on a high-lifted aluminum full view door that was extremely heavy and it took dual shafts to be able to make it work. Eric ended up having to design it so it was basically mounted in between a portal frame. It’s very difficult to do even a manually operated door when working with portal frames, much less a door that needs to have a motor on it. So because we didn’t have side room, we ended up mounting this motor up over the top of the shaft assembly, or I should say, Northwest Door engineered it with a second shaft assembly that sat above the springs, so that it would sit in between this portal frame and not require any more side room than the typical door (head? had?)

What do you think is one of the best aspects of working in the garage door industry?

Jim: I think the thing that’s amazing about working in the door industry is, I’ve been doing it for well over 30 years, and every day I come in and I’m still learning new stuff. There’s no such thing as mundane, day-to-day work. It’s exciting to go into projects like this and be able to work with people and figure some things out.

What do you pride yourself on the most as a company?

Jim: From our standpoint, we pride ourselves on customer service and making sure that our customer gets the best possible job done that they can. We want to make sure that as far as customer service goes, that’s number one. When people call they get returned phone calls, when people have problems they’re not dropped on a desk and forgotten about, they’re handled and taken care of so that the next time you want to deal with that customer, they know exactly what you’re about, and you’re going to get that repeat business. You know, I was taught a strategy years and years ago called the 1, 10, 100 rule, and I go off of that all the time. When you have a problem that comes up, if you start dealing with it when it first shows up it may take you about a minute to try and evaluate it and move forward with a plan. If you ignore it, the next time it comes back to you it may take you about ten minutes. If you ignore it again, it’s 100 minutes. Like I said, I was taught that years and years ago and I believe in it whole-heartedly. You deal with things when they come. Your customer deserves to be communicated to, regardless of whether or not they’re asking for ridiculous stuff or you know they have a problem with their door that you need to try and handle – you need to deal with it. People deserve communication. It’s amazing to me how many companies today just do not communicate.

Pictured above: Jim Lawrence, Sales Manager at The Door Company of Yuba City

What inspires you to be successful as a company and what drives you personally?

Jim: Doing a job the same way I would any for any family member I have. I take every customer very seriously and try to do the absolute best job I can for the specific application. I’m not about selling doors to make money, I’m about selling doors to build relationships for long-term sales for the entire life of that person. I don’t want to just sell somebody a door and make some money off of it, I want to build a relationship and be able to sell them doors for the rest of their life.

Anything else you would like to mention?

Jim: Like I said, I think the most important thing is for people to understand how much we appreciate the relationship we have with Northwest Door and the fact that they’re willing to work with us on projects as opposed to being like other manufacturers that just say, “Nope, that’s the way we build our door. If you can use it, fine; if you can’t, doesn’t matter to us.” The people I work with – Scott Wilson (Commercial Sales & Design Team Manager) and Eric – I mean, it’s awesome to be able to work with people that are willing to work with you and don’t just give you the generic “sorry we don’t do that” answer.

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Northwest Door is thrilled to partner with a company as hardworking and true to their customers as The Door Company of Yuba City. If you would like more information on our commercial aluminum 800 Series, click here. If you live in the area and would like to start a project with The Door Company of Yuba City or one of their other branches, contact them today! Otherwise, check out our Dealer Locator to find a trusted Northwest Door partner near you.