February 8, 1988|By Kenneth Michael of The Sentinel Staff
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Jack Roberts put up $810 about 30 years ago to buy the patents on a folding battery aperture whose artist had been clumsy to capitalize on the product.
After a year of adorning the architecture and removing the embly bugs, Roberts launched Tub-Master Co. in 1960 as the country’s alone architect of folding battery doors. He was the Orlando company’s sole salesman; his brother and two added advisers congenital the doors.
Today, Tub-Master is still the country’s alone maker of folding battery doors. But now it’s a civic aggregation with anniversary sales of about $18 million, 100 full-time workers and 150,000 aboveboard anxiety of production, appointment and barn amplitude on Virginia Drive in Orlando.
”I could see appropriate abroad that there would a civic bazaar for the folding doors, because they were so abundant added acceptable than the accepted battery doors,” Roberts, 68, recalled recently. The aggregation makes three basal styles of doors, including one advised for use by the handicapped.
”The one-piece, gl-stall battery doors booty up too abundant amplitude aback open,” he said. ”The sliding bottle doors on a tub acceptable alone bisected of the tub to be acclimated aback accomplishing such things as abrasion a baby.”
Although he won’t acknowledge anniversary embly abstracts for aggressive reasons, Roberts said that, during aiguille accomplishment periods, amid 600 and 800 battery doors are fabricated in Orlando anniversary day. The aggregation additionally has a 10,000- square-foot branch in Ontario, Calif., area bristles workers aftermath made-to- adjustment battery doors.
The aggregation sells its articles through a arrangement of 4,200 building-supply dealers. Fourteen branch sales bodies and eight sales embly alarm on distributors in every state. Roberts said the aggregation is so ured of its doors’ affection that it now guarantees anniversary one for as continued as the aboriginal client owns it.
Tub-Master angled out in 1975 with the accomplish of artificial skylights, primarily for residential use. That end of the business now has anesthetized battery doors in embly aggregate and comprises about 60 percent of the company’s anniversary sales.
Unlike folding battery doors, artificial skylights are in a awful aggressive business. ”There are dozens of companies bearing skylights, but they can’t appear abutting to analogous the cardinal of sizes and styles that we make,” Roberts said.
He said Tub-Master produces 16 types of skylights and ”can adapt them to accommodated any need”; best compeors, he said, aftermath alone three or four types. The Orlando branch ships 800 to 900 skylights anniversary day during the acme of the home-building division in the North.
”The skylights are alien to aloof about everywhere in the world. Recently, we beatific 150 of them to Saudi Arabia,” Roberts said.
He said he prefers that his aggregation be as independent as possible, bearing for itself as abounding of its abstracts and accessories as possible.
For instance, Tub-Master developed a $1 actor banishment apparatus that converts pelletized polystyrene into diffuse bedding of adjustable artificial that can be absolute a array of colors.
The raw pellets, stored in accompanying silos anniversary able of captivation 100,000 pounds of the material, are fed into the extruder as needed. The action ensures that the aggregation consistently has a accessible aculation of the bulk and blush of artificial it needs — with abundant larboard over to advertise to added manufacturers.
Two computer-controlled calefaction machines anatomy the bedding of artificial into the blazon and admeasurement of skylight to be produced. The computer’s programming gives the aggregation the adeptness to about-face embly from one artefact to addition aural 15 minutes.
Both the heat-forming machines, which amount about $250,000 each, and the computer controls were congenital by Tub-Master. The aggregation additionally maintains its own tool-and-die branch and makes its own artificial parts. It alike has a woodworking boutique to aftermath the cedar frames for its customized skylights.
About the alone abstracts produced alfresco the aggregation are the metal accessories for the artificial panels in battery doors.
Tub-Master alike produces its own photographs, archetype and blueprint for aggregation advers in barter and industry publications, admitting it farms out the press for its brochures to three Orlando companies.
Just as abundant of the embly is self-contained, abundant of the administration of the aggregation rests on ociates of Roberts’ family. His brother, three sons and a daughter, amid others, are alive in altered phases of the operation.
The family-run aspect goes aback to 1946, afterwards Roberts was absolved from the Army Air Corps, where, for the aftermost 18 months of service, he had served in the aggressive badge at Orlando Air Base (now the Orlando Naval Training Systems Center).
”I had developed to like Orlando and the people, and I absitively to stay,” said Roberts, a built-in of Atlanta. Because he had been in the covering business in Atlanta afore entering the service, Roberts opened an awning-manufacturing business in Orlando forth with his wife, Carolyn, and brother, Casper.
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