Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron INC.
If you’ve visited Niagara Falls or the nearby historic—and recently revitalized— Canalside waterfront district in Buffalo, N.Y., chances are you’ve touched the detailed workmanship of Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron, Inc. Aluminum Railing.
For more than 25 years, Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron has been custom fabricating architectural components for Aluminum, stainless steel and wrought iron Railing Systems in the Buffalo and Western New York market. Keith Deck founded the company in the early-1990s, and over the years has grown the family business into one known for its high-quality products, a team of skilled in-house craftsmen and installers, and ability to customize railing systems to suit the needs of both residential and commercial customers.
The company is a thriving example of how one man was able to reinvent himself and fill a need in the marketplace. “Simply stated, he was looking to provide welding services in the local area after the company he worked for was closed due to downsizing,” says Keith’s son Mike, general manager of Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron. “His welding experience was a natural move into the railing-fabrication business.”
The business grew as Deck’s reputation for the quality spread. In 1999, Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron outgrew the 2,000-square-foot barn from which it operated, and Deck moved operations to a larger 4,500-square-foot building in Getzville, N.Y. In 2000. Then in 2014, the company added 20,000 square feet to the building to accommodate manufacturing operations and a showroom.
Just a few years later, however, the Deck family was once again in a position where to remain profitable, they needed to look at their services and expand those offerings to thrive in a changing market. “We were experiencing a loss in the local market to vinyl railings, and we were looking for an offering to push back and reclaim our local dominance,” Mike explains.
Old Dutchman’s needed a product that could compete with vinyl, in both price and speed of production. The company found its answer in the UltraLox Aluminum Railing program.
BECOMING AN ULTRALOX DEALER
Like vinyl railings, UltraLox™ Powder-Coated Aluminum Railing is a lightweight, attractive and durable alternative to wood and iron. It is easy to maintain (no painting or staining needed) and will never rot, shrink, decompose or rust. It is engineered, tested and approved as per ICC-ES AC273 and is International Building Code-compliant. UltraLox also features a hidden mechanical fastening system that provides a seamless, clean look.
Becoming an UltraLox dealer appealed most to the Decks because, by owning and operating the UltraLox Interlocking Machine, staff could produce railings in-house and on demand, cutting lead times for their customers and providing a pre-assembled product that is fast and easy to install. Equally important, says Mike, is that UltraLox enabled the company to offer a competitively priced option for projects that do not call for their typical “custom” offerings.
“One of the most advantageous parts of the UltraLox system is standardization,” says Mike. “All the parts you need are on the shelf and ready to go. No special tools, tooling, learning curve, materials or highly skilled labor is needed.”
After spending some time learning the product, “we now know what it can do and how to best leverage its speed of production, so we can start encouraging our partners to promote the product wherever possible,” says Mike. “Not all projects will call for UltraLox, but knowing when to recommend the product is the key.”
Expanding Old Dutchman’s services to include UltraLox Aluminum Railing Systems has so far been a natural progression for the custom ornamental metalwork fabricator, but with a big impact. Since becoming a dealer in September 2017, the company has been able to simplify rail panel fabrication, quickly fill orders and provide a price-competitive alternative to vinyl. And with UltraLox, the company is continuing to improve operations by setting a new benchmark: two weeks from the time of order to installation for the aluminum railings. “This is more than a 60% increase in our typical lead time!” Mike says.
By effectively leveraging UltraLox to take back their share of the market, Old Dutchman’s Wrought Iron has earned the title of “UltraLox Dealer of the Month.”