This month the Arrowhead Park Association is featuring the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass and steel exterior door systems, headquartered right here in the Park. Therma-Tru is a preferred brand of entry doors among building professionals. Attention to detail in styling is the first thing you notice. Then the performance and durability built into their products open the door to reliability and comfort.
Producing products available throughout North America, Therma-Tru has its Innovation Center nearby in Monclova, Ohio, a distribution center in Howe, Indiana, and their Center of Excellence in
Edgerton, Ohio. Two manufacturing facilities are found in Butler, Indiana, and Matamoros, Mexico.
In 1962 David Welles, a retired Owens Corning executive, purchased a bankrupt building supply company in Toledo, Ohio. In 1983, the company launched its Fiber-Classic style, the first fiberglass door on the market, creating a product never seen before: An entryway door that looked as beautiful as wood but with exceptional performance. “People just couldn’t believe it,” says Deke Welles, the founder’s son and President of Therma-Tru from 1989 – 2001. “The product that looked so good was made of fiberglass.”
In 1985, Therma-Tru opened a 60,000 square-foot plant in Butler, Indiana. The Classic-Craft fiberglass door was introduced within ten years, followed a few years later by the Smooth-Star collection. In 2000 Therma-Tru patented the complete door system.
In 2003, Therma-Tru became part of the Fortune Brands Home & Security family. In September 2009, Therma-Tru and Fypon — the brand name leader in the urethane millwork — merged to bring their complementary products to market. They launched the DoorWays App in 2015 to help homeowners visualize new doors in their own homes.
In early 2018 Therma-Tru opened its Innovation Center, a 30,000-square-foot facility that houses its Research and Development and Product Management teams, in Monclova, Ohio. In 2018 Fortune Brands also acquired Fiberon, a composite decking company. This Fiberon team is supported locally at the Arrowhead Park office. “It fits right in with our composite doors where we continue to find a longer-lasting solution to wood. Fiberon’s biggest plant is in New London, North Carolina, just outside Charlotte,” concluded Mr. Challgren , president of Therma-Tru Corp. Currently, Therma-Tru has over 2,600 employees, with 400 in Arrowhead Park.
PPE Crisis Contribution
When the pandemic hit and PPE supplies were dangerously low, Therma-Tru adapted their production facilities to create face shields and masks. In Monclova and Edgerton, they designated 3D printing machinery facilities to supply hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Ohio. The Mexico plant made masks for Matamoros hospitals and medical groups fighting COVID-19.
The premium product line is Classic Craft: top-of-the-line, architecturally accurate, and all the beauty of wood without wood’s problems. This flagship line is the essence of better fit, form, and function. The most popular line is the Smooth Star line. National builder customers and retail customers alike prefer the high quality and reasonable price point.
What makes Therma-Tru different is they aren’t just doors. “We sell the entire Therma-Tru system: hinges, jams, and sills engineered as one system. We provide a level of comfort to our customers with better warrantees and more predictable results. We control all the specs and manufacturer requirements, so we have our fingers on all of our components,” shared Fenton Challgren. Specialty dealers with national accounts provide the core of the business, followed by retail.
“Our business is home-building products, so we exist to make you feel at home. We are innovating products and systems engineered to last for a lifetime,” Mr. Challgren continued.
Homes trends include traditional and modern homes plus a new hybrid called “classic casual homes.” The company generates designs for each to expand its customer base. “This year, we are introducing a walnut grain door to the market… sleek, linear lines that have the finish of a traditional wood-looking door. We need to have products for the different styles and trends of all houses,” per Mr. Challgren.
“We’re really proud of our employee-driven involvement in the community. Locally, Habitat for Humanity is very important to us. We’ve been supporting them for over 20 years. We are also active in supporting the United Way and Toledo Metroparks. Recently we became involved with the nationwide Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, providing entryways. Employees choose local organizations to support at our other locations as well. We’re very proud of our team and their efforts. Great things are happening,” shared Mr. Challgren.
Therma-Tru has been in Arrowhead Park since 1994. The employees appreciate the easy access to the freeway and the Maumee and Holland area. In addition to its centrally located advantage, it’s clean, safe, and has a host of amenities nearby.
A Bright Future
“We plan to continue to drive growth and support the building industry. Over the previous pandemic year, with so many people working from home, the passion for home repair and upgrades boomed. We predict that increasing homeownership and interest in home improvements will continue for several more years. Therma-Tru is eager to be part of that trend,” stated Mr. Challgren.
“The highlight of working at Therma-Tru is our culture… from Welles family-owned up through Fortune Brands purchase, we are so fortunate with our people and talent! From engineering to marketing, we have an amazing organization,” concluded Mr. Challgren.