Twenty-eight years ago, when Coastal Industries was founded, shower doors were merely functional bathroom equipment: They kept the floor from getting wet. Today, they serve a two-fold purpose. They still prevent water leaks from the shower, but now they also look good doing it.
Leading the industry in the manufacture of functional, decorative shower doors is Coastal Industries, Inc., founded by William M. Cobb, who left a competing firm also in Jacksonville 28 years ago to form his own company. Cobb originally marketed his shower doors to the mobile home and RV industries. Today the doors are distributed through glass dealers, plumbing wholesalers and OEM accounts throughout the world.
“The biggest change in the shower door industry,” says David Herbert, vice president of sales/marketing, “is that 25 years ago, there was more of an aluminum frame. Today there’s more glass and less aluminum for decorative reasons, and it opens up the bathroom. Today, shower doors are more of a decorative item.”
In a 250,000-square-foot plant, 175 employees keep the flow of shower doors steady, while remembering that quality is the chief factor in achieving continued growth. “Until last year, we were growing at 15 percent over a 10-year period,” Herbert says. “We’ve also experienced increased volume in our international business.”
Coastal maintains distinction in its products by having a continuous quality control process from start to finish. “One department controls quality in another,” says Herbert. “Aluminum extrusions are inspected by the puller; doors go to the table where protective tape is placed over them immediately so they’re not scratched and from there, glass and aluminum meet at the glazing tables where further inspection takes place. In the packaging department, all doors are also visually inspected.”
The emphasis on quality and inventiveness has won Coastal two prestigious awards. The first was the International Exporter of the Year award in 1999 from the City of Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. The second, a first runner-up prize for “Product Innovator” from Kitchen and Bath Business Magazine late in 1999, was for designing the “infinite angle”: two pieces of aluminum extru-
sion that enable the assemblage of doors even if the angles are different.
Coastal introduced the Challenger Series of doors a few years ago. The purpose of this program was to modularize neo angles and custom units, thus minimi-zing installation time. “The first thing we thought of was, why not make the door easier to install?” Herbert explains. “The Challenger Neo Angle can be installed in 15 minutes.” Other innovations include the continuous hinge, two extrusions that form a hinge that is far superior to the piano hinge of yesteryear.
Doors for Any Bathroom
“We offer the broadest line of shower doors in the country — 3,800 sizes and shapes,” says Herbert. Included in the product offering are seven lines of two-door slides, seven lines of sliding doors and two lines of folding doors, he explains. The versatile line of doors also ranges from those styled for the tight squeeze of boats and yachts to others made especially for an elegant, roomy master bath. All doors come with a choice of tempered glass: Aquatex, which enables either an obscured or clear view of the outside. Some of the more notable lines offered by Coastal include:
• Paragon: This is the latest innovation, specially engineered to require fewer parts. It emphasizes glass exposure without sacrificing stability and durability. It allows the customer to create an enclosure of virtually any shape or size; interlocking corner posts allow a unit to be configured at virtually any angle.
• The Millennium series: This features the new ultra-glide system, a modular design for quick installation. Two doors slide back behind fixed panels. It’s the ideal solution for baths short on floor space, and comes in a modular design that cuts installation time.
• The Elite: This is a folding tub/shower enclosure that eliminates a separate shower area and features dual-durometer, rigid PVC panels with an integrated flexible hinge. A full length magnetic latching system and spring loaded floating roller system ensure smooth, non-binding quiet operation. The MagnaFold offers attractive folding panels made of opaque polyethylene, giving the access of a curtain and the leakproof features of a door.
• Barrier-free shower doors: All of these are in compliance with ADA guidelines. Sizes are available to fit any tub or shower opening. The doors allow totally unobstructed access to the tub and shower, but keep the floor dry.
Coastal Industries’ success comes with its attention to detail and its painstaking devotion to quality from start to finish. The company’s motto, “Quality for every lifestyle,” is a testament to Coastal’s commitment to fulfilling every need in an efficient and effective manner. With competitive prices and a sales team that responds to customers’ needs, Coastal remains poised to hold its top spot in the industry.
“You need to have quality and the product needs to be customer-friendly,” explains Herbert, “or you’re sales won’t grow.”