Kim and Jeff Ternes knew nothing about plastic or roofing when they left Dallas in the early 1990s and headed for the country.
Today, the couple runs its own business manufacturing and selling vinyl and wood composite shingles out of their pecan farm in the plains of Wagoner, Okla.
Kim Ternes, president and general manager of Re-New Wood, claims the eco-shake shingles are like no other on the market. The shingles are made of recycled products and can be recycled once their 50-year expected life span is complete, she said in a recent telephone interview.
Made to resist wind, fire and hail, the shingles also are practically indestructible, Ternes said.
The idea of making a better roofing product was born through a friend. Kim and Jeff then took on the task of learning all about the plastics and roofing industries. Two years later, they had developed the product and applied for a patent.
Soon after the patent was received in 1995, Ternes and her husband began marketing the product to local wholesalers.
Getting the product off the ground was difficult in the beginning.
``A lot of contractors are a little bit wary of trying something totally new,'' she said.
Four years later, the injection molded shingles are sold in 30 states, Ternes said. However, most of their business is done in the states surrounding Oklahoma. Those states are the ones that face the most roof damage from wind and hail, she said.
Though the price is substantially higher than that of the more popular roofing products, Ternes said she believes it is worth it because of the durability of the eco-shake shingles and their 50-year warranty.
In states such as Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, some insurance companies offer as much as a 30 percent discount on homeowners policies if the house has an eco-shake roof, she said.
The only drawback, Ternes believes, is the shingles look like wood.
``If you want something that looks like clay, I can't help you,'' she said.
Ternes added she and Jeff have discussed branching out into making shingles that resemble other roofing materials such as metal, clay tile and slate, but not in the near future.
While company sales have doubled every year, the manufacturing remains local.
Ternes would like to keep it that way for a while.
The plant currently operates five, 500- to 750-ton Ingersoll-Rand injection molding machines.
Though there are dreams of expanding and becoming a national company, Ternes said she prefers to take her time to avoid the hassle and the headaches of a large corporation.