Green Tree Composites expects its annual sales to grow fourfold through 2003, and will emphasize expanding its custom business.
``We've only tapped into three applications in a big way: Fencing, decking and railing are the ones that have been exploited,'' said Sam Bacon, general manager, in an Oct. 31 interview at the Remodeler's Show in Indianapolis.
The 2-year-old St. Joseph, Mich.-based extruder of composite profiles is owned by Biewer Lumber Co. in St. Clair, Mich. Officials would not disclose total annual sales, but said their goal is to increase the custom category to 15 percent of sales, from 5 percent currently.
Green Tree markets its composite decking and railing under the Monarch brand name.
The firm is up to six lines in its 148,000-square-foot facility, with the recent addition of two American Kuhne extruders. It has 27 employees and has begun doing its own tool and die work.
``The manufacturer we were using was in Atlanta,'' Bacon said of undertaking the work. ``It was killing us.''
Still, hailing from the world of wood is sort of a mixed blessing when veering into plastic production. Green Tree now can offer a total decking package with structural members that are 100 percent wood and a composite deck surface. Yet, plastics requires a different mind-set, he said.
``You think like a lumber person, and that's not the way this stuff goes to market,'' Bacon said.
``You're selling something people aren't familiar with. It's a lot of pull-through selling. You have to educate everybody from the end user on up through the lumberyard.''
The company keeps the wood-fiber content of its profiles at around 50 percent. Its product is made from 100 percent recycled wood and plastic.
Green Tree began as a distributor but moved into extrusion because ``we saw the future of building materials trending toward lower maintenance,'' Bacon said.